Maggie: A Girl of the Streets | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


In a program note, Side Project adapter Adam Webster describes Stephen Crane's 1893 novel about hardscrabble immigrant life in New York's Bowery as a love story. He even has Crane wander about reading love letters. True, one of the book's main plot lines is a budding romance between impossibly naive Maggie--who "blossoms in a muddle puddle"--and doltish Pete, but their doomed relationship is more sociological exhibit than love story. Like Upton Sinclair, Crane depicts characters as victims of violent social forces that crush the weak and turn the strong into brutes. Webster largely ignores these forces in favor of domestic melodrama, and director Jimmy McDermott softens the main characters' nearly sociopathic hostility into brooding introspection. The result is affecting at times, especially given Danielle O'Farrell's compelling, fragile performance as Maggie. But without the Bowery's lethal threat, her saga lacks urgency. Through 11/21: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Side Studio, 1520 W. Jarvis, 773-973-2150. $12-$15.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment