Over the years, many local audiences have watched the work of one Ronald Keaton. In fact, for over 30 years we have seen him at Marriott Lincolnshire, Drury Lane, Apple Tree, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Porchlight Music Theatre, The Mercury Theatre and many others. For many, he has been a strong ensemble member, a familiar face, but not as recognizable as many of our other actors. Well, now, thanks to a new project at The Greenhouse Theater Center on Lincoln Avenue, where a new work was discovered and nurtured, Chicago audiences will get to watch Ronald Keaton do “his thing”!
This is the first production by a new theater company named SoloChicago. The concept is Equity performers doing “one person” shows, musical and non-musical, allowing for creation of specialty pieces that can take an ensemble member to new heights. Thus is the case with this particular piece. One that Mr. Keaton adapted as well as performs. It is a wonderful look at history and of a man that many of our youngsters are only slightly aware of. This one hour and forty-five minutes (including a 15 minute intermission between the acts) takes us on his journey with Sir Winston Churchill, who many have called the greatest man of the 20th century.
In this homage to this great man, we learn of his difficult childhood, his high ambitions, his involvement in World War II, his great relationship with FDR and while this is called a drama, probably because of the historical portions, I found it to be very humorous. In fact, there were far more laughs than I would have imagined, but each one was due to the clever delivery of the actual words that Churchill had spoken. Smoothly directed by Kurt Johns (a long time Chicago and Broadway actor) on a set designed by Jason Epperson who also did the lighting design with projections by Paul Deziel, we are taken on a journey that allows us into the heart and soul of an often quoted statesman.
Keaton has taken Churchill’s own writings and the teleplay “Winston Churchill” written by Dr. James C. Humes to a new level and has opened the pages of history so that we can peek in and see the man behind the legendary stories. While Churchill was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things, this particular vehicle is for Keaton a golden opportunity to show Chicago what he has. Congratulations Ron- on a job well done and the opportunity to see you at your finest!
For those of you who love a bit of comedy with your history, you can catch this brilliant biography through September 14th at The Greenhouse Theater Center located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue with performances as follows:
Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25-$35 ( a bargain for theater of this quality) and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 773-404-7336 or online at email@example.com
To see what else is happening at this facility, visit www.greenhousetheater.org where you can also learn more about this new company, SoloChicago.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Churchill”