The Goodman Theater kicks off three-week Chicago Parks Tour with a play on the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s been six months without a theater in Chicago. Today, a famous group of actors returns on stage in front of an audience.

The Goodman Theater returns with a series of free outdoor performances of Fannie Lou Hamer, talk about it!, a play about the life and work of the women’s rights and suffrage activist, who co-founded the Freedom Democratic Party.

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The 40-minute abridged version of play by playwright Cheryl L. West will tour Chicago neighborhoods for three weeks, with nine performances in September and October, starting Thursday night at Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St ., in Englewood.

“How ‘awake are we to the vote’, nearly 60 years after the voting rights law demolished those discriminatory barriers that prevented people of color from exercising their civil liberties? There is courage in the face of fire, hope for tomorrow, and we all have a stake in our country, ”West said of the play, his fourth collaboration with Goodman Theater since 1993.

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Performances are free and viewing areas will be seated on a first come, first served basis. Guests will need to bring their own lawn chairs and will be required to wear masks and respect social distancing.

Other performances include:

  • Friday, September 18 at 6 p.m. at Robert Abbott Park, 49 E. 95e, in West Chesterfield;
  • Saturday September 19 at 3 p.m. at the DuSable Museum of African American History at 740 E. 56e in Washington Park;
  • Thursday, September 24 at 6 pm in Willye B. White Park, 1610 W. Howard St. in Rogers Park;
  • Friday, September 25 at 6 p.m. at Indian Boundary Park, 2500 W. Lunt Ave. at West Ridge;
  • Saturday, September 26 at 3 p.m. at Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Av .;
  • Thursday, October 1 at 6 p.m. at Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W. Lake St. in Austin;
  • Friday October 2 at 6 pm at Homan Square Park, 3559 W. Arthington St., in Homan Square;
  • And Saturday, October 3 at 3 p.m. at Samuel Ellis Park, 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Bronzeville.

The show is adapted from Fanny, West’s play, co-commissioned with the Goodman and the Seattle Repertory Theater for the 2019 New steps Festival. The complete production of Fannie will be part of Goodman’s upcoming 2021 season.

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“Knowing that Fannie’s voice had to be heard during this critical time, we took inspiration from the work of El Teatro Campesino and this quote from Luis Valdez, who himself was inspired by the determination of Fannie Lou Hamer:” If the people cannot come to the theater, then the theater must go to the people. That’s what it is, ”director Henry Godinez said.


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