Crossing California | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Crossing California 

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Adam Langer's 2004 debut novel, set in West Rogers Park, seems like a logical choice for East Rogers Park's Lifeline Theatre, but the production falters. Alan Donahue's earnest, witty adaptation connects the dots of Langer's sprawling work: rather than choose the narrative threads, Donahue seems to have taken a little bit of each. The late-1970s setting is evoked mostly through news snippets about the Iran hostage crisis--an event that has no apparent bearing on the characters' lives--while Langer's central metaphor of California Avenue as a class divide never comes into focus. John Hildreth's staging charges along in the first act, but in two and a half hours we don't learn much more about the characters than we knew at the start. --Kerry Reid a Through 6/24: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 5:30 PM, Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood, 773-761-4477, $14-$26.

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