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DuSable Museum and The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival presents Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’

The DuSable Museum of African American History is partnering with the 4th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present a remarkable production of “The Bluest Eye,” based on Toni Morrison’s 1970 groundbreaking coming-of-age novel, Friday through Sunday, January 28-30, 2022.

In this version of “The Bluest Eye,” an unforgettable synthesis of puppets, puppeteers and actors brings one of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison’s most influential works into a contemporary context. This unique adaptation, making its Chicago debut, is co-created and directed by Margaret Laurena Kemp and Janni Younge, based on the adaptation by acclaimed playwright Lydia Diamond.

“The Bluest Eye” tells the indelible story of Pecola Breedlove, a young Black girl caught in tragic circumstances. Her best friend narrates Pecola’s search for the source of responsibility and for an understanding of her own part in the story. The play examines how identity is shaped, while celebrated South African artist Younge’s puppetry highlights the formation and fragility of self, literally building the self as it is held and supported (or not) by a community at large.

“The DuSable Museum is proud to partner with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present this Toni Morrison classic through the unique art of puppetry,” said Perri Irmer, President and CEO of the DuSable. “Morrison wrote ‘The Bluest Eye,’ her first novel, in 1970, to remind people of how especially damaging racism is to a child’s self-esteem, with the main character, Pecola, wishing for blue eyes to escape oppression and feelings of ‘ugliness’ that racism engenders. This is an important and timely event, given today’s socio-political climate and dialogue around race.”

“The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is thrilled to welcome The DuSable Museum as a first-time presenting partner this year,” said festival co-founder and artistic director Blair Thomas. “With its mix of live actors interacting with and manipulating life-size puppets, this staging of ‘The Bluest Eye’ promises to astonish and delight, while telling an important story about coming of age that remains timeless.”

This presentation of “The Bluest Eye” by the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and The DuSable Museum of African American History is made possible in part thanks to generous support from the Paul M. Angell Foundation, Cheryl Lynn Bruce and Kerry James Marshall, and Kristy and Brandon Moran.

The DuSable Museum of African American History is located at 740 E. 56th Place in Hyde Park. Show times are Friday and Saturday, January 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, January 30, at 3 p.m. The Sunday matinee will be followed by a post-show talk back with the artists.

Tickets are $30, $20 for students and they are on sale now at “The Bluest Eye” runs two hours. It is recommended for ages 16 and up.

Note: COVID-19 safety precautions will be in effect per city and state mandates, including proof of vaccination (with i.d.), and mandatory mask-wearing throughout the performance. For the DuSable Museum’s full COVID safety policy, along with tips for directions and parking, visit

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