Spend the night in good company with Pearl!


Felicia P. Fields and band. (Photo courtesy of Writers Theatre)
Felicia P. Fields and band. (Photo courtesy of Writers Theatre)

4 Stars

Closing out their 2021-2022 season at the Writers Theatre in Glencoe is Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues: A Night with Felicia P. Fields now through July 24, 2022.

Singing the blues is what Tony Award nominee Felicia P. Fields does best and boy, does she belt. With the help of her mighty talented 5-piece band, she takes the audience on a road trip through the blues.

Created by Fields and Ron OJ Parson who collaborated on WT’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, they celebrate the pioneers of the past including Big Mama Thornton, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf and other blues greats.

They tell stories, engage with the audience and throw everything up for grabs as people listen in amazement.

Look out if you’re sitting at a table as no subject is taboo. But it’s all in good fun and laughs.

On a more serious side, Fields shares her journey about transferring to a high school on the north side of Chicago and the racism she encountered there.

Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues is a joyful concert celebration featuring Fields with music director Chic Street on guitar, Ricardo Jimenez on horn and harp, Frank Menzies at the keyboard, Harold Morrison on drums and Julie Poncé on base.

This show, an original and nothing like you’ve ever seen before, takes the blues to new heights.

(Writers Theatre is helmed by Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy).

DETAILS: “Pearls Rolling in the Blues” is at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, through July 24,2022. Runtime: 90 minutes, no intermission. For tickets and more information visit Writers Theatre.

(Writers Theatre requires all seated patrons to wear a mask during performances. If you attend without a mask, Writers Theatre will provide one for you. Visit writerstheatre.org/covid-safety for details).

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

Mira Temkin


Porchlight does Broadway with a rock and roll beat


3 Stars

Felicia P. Fields with the Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre in Chicago to be presented to her at Chicago sings Rock & Roll Broadway from Porchlight Music Theatre, ((Photo courtesy of Porchlight )
Felicia P. Fields with the Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre in Chicago to be presented to her at Chicago sings Rock & Roll Broadway from Porchlight Music Theatre. ((Photo courtesy of Porchlight )

Watching Porchlight Theatre’s “Chicago Sings Rock and Roll Broadway” on Youtube last night, made me realize how much I missed going to Chicago area venues for good musicals and plays.

Well-staged with superb instrumental back-up, the cast takes on the mammoth task of covering musicals through the decades from “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Hair” in the 1960s and “The Wiz” and “Promises Promises” in the 1970s  to more recent shows such as “Kinky Boots,” “Waitress,” “Beautiful”  and “Head over Heels.”

Past benefit concerts were, among others, covers from Disney, Stephen Sondheim, The Beatles and Motown.

Choosing a song or a couple of stanzas from each show, their theme this year is Rock and Roll but not all music chosen fall in that genre. So, if deciding to tune in to support local artists, Porchlight and, just as important, the theatre’s education arm to area youth, don’t worry if your ear prefers other musical genres.

The benefit is fun to watch and hear because the music ranges from standards to lesser- known songs. You are bound to find a favorite performance. Among mine was Sawyer Smith’s magnificent take on “Wig in a Box” from “Hedwig & the Angry Inch, (1998).

A virtual event that can be viewed through April 18, 2021, Chicago Sings is a fundraiser similar to the broadcasts that have aired since COVID shuttered arts and entertainment venues a year ago, except this event brings the cast and musicians together.

It also includes the presentation of the 2021 Guy Adkins award for “excellence in the advancement of music theatre” to Felicia P. Fields and greetings from several Broadway stars including E. Faye Butler and Sean Allan Krill.

Porchlight Theatre’s “Chicago Sings Rock and Roll Broadway is on YouTube through April 18, 2021. Tickets are $25. Running time is about 90 minutes. For  tickets see Porchlight and for information visit  Porchlight Music Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs