Joe Turner's Come and Gone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joe Turner's Come and Gone 

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August Wilson's play, set in 1911, represents the second decade in his decade-by-decade cycle of works about 20th-century African-American life. Produced by the Goodman in 1991, it's back in a vibrant production by Congo Square Theatre Company, directed by Derrick Sanders and presented as part of the Goodman's "August Wilson Celebration" (which also includes the local premiere of Wilson's final play, Radio Golf). Joe Turner was a real person who ran a racket in which black men were taken under various pretexts and put to work in prison camps, and the play concerns Herald Loomis, a man searching for his lost wife after he's released from forced labor. Played with intense commitment by Javon Johnson, Loomis finds his soul and strength in a Pittsburgh boardinghouse, home to a collection of black seekers and seers during the early days of northern migration. A brilliant cast brings out the intoxicating hope, mystery, myth, terror, and ribald humor in Wilson's tremendous script. a Through 2/25: Thu 10:30 AM and 8 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, 312-443-3800, $15-$37.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.

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