Pluto: The Opera | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Pluto: The Opera


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


No, it's not successful. And it's not well done. But it's not to be dismissed, either. Too often Idris Goodwin's hip-hop history of "Pluto"--aka Chicago--comes across like a pageant at a progressive middle school. Director Tony Sancho's game but incoherent cast performs ten vignettes from the life of the city, starting with the arrival of menacing Frenchmen in the 1700s and culminating with a present-day mayoral debate. Along the way we see Pluto as a depot on the underground railway, a magnet for immigrants, etc. The politics are Pilsen-mural subtle, but Goodwin plays them out in interesting ways--keeping the French offstage, for instance, so we experience their menace exclusively through the behavior of the Indians. Similarly, his libretto resists the music, turning Pluto: The Opera into an epic rap recitative. The piece may fail, but it marks Goodwin as an inventive talent in progress.

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  →