When the chicks were invited by the Windy City Playhouse to see their current play, “King Liz” I thought that it would make a fun date night and invited my husband along. We were unfamiliar with this newly-founded playhouse and were excited for our evening in the city!
The theater seats 80-100, depending on the play. We were pleasantly surprised by the charming lobby with bar, comfortable seating, and friendly staff. The contemporary decorating includes faux animal skin rugs, leather couches and a fireplace. You can bring alcohol into the performance. The chairs are roomy and comfortable leather lounges (not recliners) that swivel, and there are tables between the seats to place your drinks. There’s plenty of room, which is really nice.
What I liked most about the theater was its design. The audience faces each other with the stage in the middle, allowing two sets accessible by the actors merely by crossing the stage. This was used to great effect during the performance, and kept the action going at a quick and fun pace. This setup also allows you to sit very close to the performers, and with the stage lighting and great acoustics, made this theater experience really visceral.
“King Liz” is a story about Liz Rico (Lanise Shelley), a brassy, highly successful African American basketball agent, who’s worked her way up to partner in the Candy Agency. She’s a Yale grad from the projects, and was originally Mr. Candy’s (Frank Nall) assistant when he started the agency in his garage. The story centers around her relationship with Freddie Luna (Eric Gerard), the hot new client she must recruit and help get drafted, to make the big splash needed for the board to name her as Candy’s successor. Liz is self-centered, doing whatever it takes to make it to the top. She’s sacrificed love, children, and friendships for her career. Freddy comes from a troubled inner city background. He lived in foster homes and has an assault charge that dogs him. His tough exterior hides a need for guidance and love. We see how Liz’s career goals conflict with Freddie’s unpreparedness for the world of professional sports, and how ultimately she finds her humanity. It’s a fast paced play that keeps you engaged and entertained.
The lead actress, Lanise Shelley, who has an impressive resume including extensive Shakespearean training, plays the intense and powerful role of Liz Rico very well. In fact, all of the actors were excellent. They were well cast.
I liked the play. The actors were engaging and their timing was great. I laughed out loud several times. It was even fun to recognize actor Phillip Edward Van Lear, who played Coach Jones, from Prison Break!
Try this theatre out! King Liz runs through July 16th. If you share this post on Facebook, you will automatically be entered to win a pair of tickets to see King Liz or their upcoming production of Becky Shaw!
Also, after some performances you can stay and have a “night cap” with one of the actors.
If you would like to go out for dinner beforehand, I’d highly recommend “Bread and Wine” down the street. It’s a Michelin-rated restaurant. My husband and I were thrilled with the food, atmosphere, and friendliness of the staff. The owners even let us leave our car in the parking lot while we went to the play!
You will really enjoy an evening combining Bread and Wine and the Windy City Playhouse. Coming in from the suburbs, Irving Park is not as far as going all the way downtown. Both restaurant and theater are walking distance from each other, and both are just east of I90. That makes it very easy to drive. It’s a lot less hassle than going downtown for an evening and, frankly, it was a lot more fun.
Your Savvy Chick,