It Don't Just . . . Shake Off | Open Door Repertory Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

It Don't Just . . . Shake Off Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through July 23 2017

Chicago was hot in the 1920s. That’s one of the takeaways from this sometimes sizzling, sometimes just messy musical biography of Chicago bluesmen Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. Another takeaway is that the line between the sacred and the profane can be razor-thin: one minute Georgia Tom and Tampa Red record a hit song, “It’s Tight Like That,” so raunchy it hardly qualifies as double entendre, the next Tom, writing under his real name, Thomas Dorsey, pens one of seminal gospel tunes, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” (Dorsey is often called the father of Chicago gospel.) It’s hard not to wish playwright and director McKinley Johnson had written a clearer story, but there's nothing wrong with his song choices or his powerful three-person cast. Fania Bourn, in particular, proves herself to be quite the chameleon, able to impersonate famous blue musicians like Ma Rainey and still reach the heavens with her strong gospel voice. —Jack Helbig

Price: $25


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