Black Caesar | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Black Caesar 

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An African-American version of Citizen Kane? Great idea. Even historically valid, since Chicago Defender founder Robert S. Abbott--a clear model for this play's tragic black newspaper mogul, Ciaphus Julius Caesar--displayed the same combination of high-mindedness and low cunning as William Randolph Hearst, the model for Orson Welles's Charles Foster Kane. But playwright David Barr III fritters away his great and valid idea, principally by drawing our focus away from Caesar to the alcoholic reporter assigned to write Caesar's journalistic epitaph, thus gumming up the narrative. Director Alex Levy completes the debacle by failing--just for instance--to make sense of the script's hopscotching chronology. Jack Magaw's scenic design is the show's one smoothly functioning element. --Tony Adler a Through 4/1: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Pegasus Players, O'Rourke Performing Arts Center, Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, 773-878-9761, $17-$25.

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