When Angels Wept Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 7 2013

Playwright Charles Grippo's fictionalized account of the 1958 fire at Chicago's Our Lady of the Angels school tries to be everything at once—documentary, crime procedural, morality tale, tearjerker—but doesn't do a convincing job being anything. Act one follows the hyper-Catholic Donahue kids through a typical school day; meanwhile, a fire inspector's warnings fall on the deaf ears of the school's monsignor. But a series of quotidian events is not a story, and portentous hindsight isn't drama. In the second act, which takes place after the fire, the Donahues struggle to preserve faith and family while pursuing justice for the dead, but none of the story lines is developed enough. Director Gerald H. Bailey's sluggish staging is no help. —Justin Hayford

Price: $20-$25

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