Concerto Chicago*
Apr 26May 25, 2003
By Lonnie Carter


Nic Dimond


Lonnie Carter


Nambi E. Kelley
E. Milton Wheeler
Lisa Tejero
John Steven Crowley


The cast gambol around a rooftop against an almost constant 80-minute musical backdrop, supplied by DJ Misha Fiksel. Rapping and jiving, they capture the spirit of the city through the ghost of Ida B. Wells (Nambi E. Kelley)–furious that her name has been given to an inhuman housing project–and through south-side preacher-politician Lemuel Gulliver (magnificently embodied by E. Milton Wheeler). Curiously, considering the title, Kelley also plays 18th-century slave poetess Phyllis Wheatley and rape victim Europa, while Lisa Tejero depicts assorted Chinese figures the playwright met in 1998 (just after the United States had bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade). There’s also a plea for American humility as we again embark on building an empire.