Looking Over the President's Shoulder | Greenhouse Theater Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Looking Over the President's Shoulder Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 7 2016

Alonzo Fields has been awfully busy for someone who died in 1994. A black would-be opera star who ended up spending 21 years as a White House butler, serving and studying four presidents, Fields was the inspiration for lead character Cecil Gaines in Lee Daniels's The Butler. Before that, playwright James Still gave him this solo show, in which he's depicted under his own name, telling stories as he waits for the bus that will take him home and into retirement. As embodied by Manny Buckley under Timothy Douglas's impeccable direction for American Blues Theater, Fields seems the classic Dignified Negro of so many period works. You'd expect his pent-up rage to break through at some point. Instead, we get something subtler: a pensive longing, epitomized by Fields's memory of playing music in his head as he stood at attention, waiting on Herbert Hoover. This Fields isn't a political construct. He's a man who made the choices he made under the circumstances he found. We have a fine visit with him. But then, he'd permit nothing less. —Tony Adler

Price: $29-$39

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