Thursday October 19th 2017

“Stick Fly”

StickFly_PosterHighly Recommended **** For those of you who have not yet visited the new Windy City Playhouse, on west Irving Park, perhaps now would be a perfect time to do so. They have just opened up their second production, Lydia R. Diamond’s terse drama, with some very comic moments, “Stick Fly”. Directed by Chuck Smith, this is the story of a well to do African-American family and its secrets. Before I get into the story, let me say something about this new venue. This is what might be called a “Black Box” theater in that it can be reconstructed for every play they bring to life. It is a large space, with high ceilings and very comfortable seating (almost too comfortable, if that is possible). They are able to build the stage in any area of the “box” and then place the seating accordingly. Thus, each director and scenic director can create something special for their show. Jacqueline Penrod has created a beach home that most everyone in the audience would love to have as their getaway home.

The story is about the Levay family. This is their home! The head of the household is Dr. Levay (played to perfection by Phillip Edward Van Lear), a neurosurgeon. As the curtain opens, we get to watch the family maid, Cheryl (a delightful Paige Collins) open the house and prepare for the family’s arrival. The first to arrive is the youngest son Kent (Tyrone Phillips), an author and his fiancée Taylor ( a strong performance by Celeste M. Cooper). The family has not met her, or are they even aware of her. Older brother, Flip (deftly handled by Michael Pogue) a plastic surgeon is next to arrive and he advises the others that he will be joined by his new girlfriend, Kimber, an Italian, which is his way of saying she is white.stick1

As we meet the characters and learn more about who they are, what they do and where they might be going, we also learn that the Matriarch, Mrs. Levay is not coming, yet. Meanwhile, Cheryl is spending a great deal of time on the phone with her mother and as we listen to her side of the phone conversations, we do learn a great deal about some of the past secrets of these people.

In fact, during the 2 hours and forty minutes (there is one intermission) we get deep into the lives and pasts of these characters. We get into the race issues as well as the personality issues and the secrets that have been hidden for years. These are people who appear to only care about themselves with the exception of Cheryl and Kimber, and as the story unveils along with the secrets, Taylor becomes more sincere. The secrets and mysteries come out at the perfect tempo in order to keep us on the edge of our seats, wanting to know more about this family.

The technical part of the production is seamless allowing the story to take the lead with the audience. Jared Gooding’s lights, Ray Nardelli’s sound, Cassy Schillo’s properties and Kristy Leigh Hall’s costumes work well with the Penrod’s set, but it is the stellar cast under the slick, caring direction of Smith that brings this latest version of Ms. Diamond’s  “Stick Fly” to its shining brilliance.

“Stick Fly ” will continue at The Windy City Playhouse located at 3014 West Irving Park thru July 5th with performances as follows:stick4

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays      7:30 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  8 p.m.

Sundays, rotating 3 or 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $20-$45 and are available by calling 312-374-3196 or online at www.WindyCityPlayhouse.com/stick-fly/. There is a bar and beverages can be brought into the theater (in fact there are tables just for that purpose) and you can even pre-order for intermission.

Valet parking is available and there are spots both metered and not in the general vicinity. NOTE: on Cubs games day or nights, traffic on Irving Park can be a little busy so give yourself a little more time.

7087 - Phillip Edward Van Lear and Celeste M Cooper in STICK FLY. Photo by Michael BrosilowTo see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Stick-Fly”

 

Leave a Comment

ITEX.com

More from category

“Amarillo” a part of the Destino program
“Amarillo” a part of the Destino program

  We are blessed! That is what I would have to call the program that Chicago is involved in as part of the [Read More]

“Bewildered” review by Carol Moore
“Bewildered” review by Carol Moore

 Highly Recommended **** I loved Hell in a Handbag’s “Bewildered: A Bewitching New Musical”, a campy, [Read More]

“Billy Elliot, the Musical”
“Billy Elliot, the Musical”

Tonight was a very special one. Porchlight Music Theatre, beginning its 23rd season in Chicago , opened its production [Read More]

“Hard Times”
“Hard Times”

Highly Recommended **** As Lookingglass Theatre embraces its 30 seasons of bringing quality theater to Chicago, they [Read More]

“”The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” reviewed by Carol Moore
“”The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” reviewed by Carol Moore

Recommended **** Other Theatre’s “The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” is a modern cautionary tale, a sharply [Read More]