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Chicago area theatergoers are in for a treat, as city celebrates renowned playwright Pearl Cleage

Goodman Theatre has announced a month-long, Chicago-wide celebration honoring Pearl Cleage, Atlanta’s first poet laureate, with a career spanning 40 years and over 30 plays, novels, poems, and essays. The festival, which runs through October 15, will include events produced in partnership with six local theatre companies.

Pearl Cleage

The Pearl Cleage Festival will include productions “Blues for an Alabama Sky” at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, directed by Mikael Burke, and “The Nacirema Society” at the Goodman, directed by Lili-Anne Brown. The festival will also include a number of staged readings, lectures, and workshops with Ma’at Production Association for Afrikan Centered Theater, Black Ensemble Theater, Congo Square Theatre Company, Definition Theatre, and more cultural centers around the city. More information about the festival’s offerings can be found at

“Blues for an Alabama Sky” runs through October 15 at the Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit, located at 1229 W. Belmont.

It’s Summer 1930 in Harlem, and jazz singer Angel has just been fired from The Cotton Club. As she hopes for her next big break, her flat mate friends pursue their own dreams amid daily realities: costume designer Guy imagines sewing dresses in Paris, while Delia brings family planning centers to the community.

But sparks fly when Angel encounters Alabama transplant Leland, tossing all of their aspirations into jeopardy. The Harlem Renaissance is the backdrop of Cleage’s poignant drama, and though “the Great Depression has crashed the party, the creative spirit is not easily quelled,” (Los Angeles Times).

Previews are this weekend, with regular performance runs on Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., with additional matinees Saturday, September 23, at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, September 28, at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday, October 7, at 2:30 p.m.

Post-Show Talkbacks are held following all Sunday performances. The Audio Description/Touch Tour performance is set for Saturday, September 23, at 2:30 p.m., and the Open Caption performance is on Saturday, October 7, at 2:30 p.m.

Discounted two-show subscriptions are currently available at Single tickets are $10 – $52, and groups of 10 or more may call the Theater Wit Box Office at 773.975.8150 to receive group discounts and make reservations.

“Writing plays is the joy of my life—and being able to invite the people of Chicago to share that joy with a citywide celebration of my work is almost more than a hardworking playwright can stand. Almost. The magic of live theater brings us together in community like nothing else can. I am grateful to Goodman Theatre and to the amazing artists and institutions who have welcomed me over the years, and who now make me know that I will always have a home here,” said Cleage.

In Conversation with Pearl Cleage: playwright, poet and author in a Zoom Discussion.

This event is presented by Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and the American Writers Museum on September 26 at 6 p.m.

In partnership with the American Writers Museum, Remy Bumppo hosts a conversation with Pearl Cleage over Zoom. Artistic Director Marti Lyons sits down with Cleage for a chat about her career and impact.

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