Dessa Rose | Victory Gardens Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Dessa Rose The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 5 2014

There is something plodding and flat-footed about Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s 2005 musical version of Shirley Anne Williams’s 1986 novel about the odd relationship that develops between a group of runaway slaves and an abandoned southern belle who protects them on her plantation. The story, though not predictable, too often fails to draw the audience in, and as is usual in an Ahrens and Flaherty musical, the score is full of forgettable tunes that mimic older musical idioms. (This time it's blues, gospel, and ragtime). The best parts of director Lili-Anne Brown’s revival are the many small moments she and her wonderful cast add to this production—the quick asides, the meaningful glances, the subtle shifts in the way lines are delivered and sung—that speak volumes about the characters and the hateful world they live in. —Jack Helbig

Price: $40

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