Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Coast of Chicago

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Stuart Dybek's wistful, poignant stories of life in mid-20th-century Pilsen locate the miraculous in the everyday and the mysterious in the mundane. Laura Eason's adaptation, receiving its world premiere from Walkabout Theater Company in association with Lookingglass, captures that tone with quiet assurance. Mostly drawing on Dybek's "Chopin in Winter" and "Hot Ice," the show is fashioned as a coming-of-age memory play for the narrator (and presumed Dybek stand-in). The script contains a smidgen more narration than is necessary, but the dozen actors and director Gary Zabinski have a firm grasp of Dybek's world in both its profane and profound aspects. Overall this 90-minute piece triumphs as both a travelogue through a now vanished world and a valentine to what's left of the city's ethnic working classes. Through 2/19: Thu 6:30 PM, Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665, $15-$40, industry show Fri 1/20.

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