Chicago Playwright Hits Home with Immediate Family

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 02:15 Written by  Iya Bakare

Playwright and Chicago native Paul Oakley Stovall (of About Face Theatre in Chicago) wanted to speak truth about the black community of the South Side of his hometown, and he succeeded with his recent play, Immediate Family.

Directed by Phylicia Rashad and produced by Ruth Hendel, the show was interwoven with Midwestern influence, including the cast Shane'sia Davis (Evy), J. Nicole Brooks (Nina), Patrick Sarb (Kristian), Phillip James Brannon (Jesse), Kamal Angelo Bolden (Tony) and Cynda Williams (Ronnie), who hail from Chicago. Set in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Stovall brilliantly depicted the lives of a black, middle-class family who debate spirituality, homosexuality and racism. The production shows how these universal topics affect all cultures as Stovall integrated characters everyone can identify with. It’ll make you shout from laughter at the humorous lines and cry for compassion during the emotional moments of the play. Immediate Family tugs at your heart as you empathize with the characters’ stories and forces you to think outside the figurative box. The adaptation blends unconditional love with traditional ties that can tear a family apart, or can keep it together.

“This [Immediate Family] was a work of art on the page, and if it wasn’t so on the page, it wouldn’t be on the stage,” comments Phylicia Rashad. “It has been sheer joy because it required collaboration, everyone needed to be open and focused and that happened here.”
If you haven’t seen Immediately Family, do yourself a favor and take your family with you to go see it…immediately!

To purchase tickets for Immediate Family at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, visit or call 312.443.3800. The production will run at Goodman Theatre until Aug. 5.

For more information, visit and follow the play on Twitter at @ImmediateFam


Photo Credit: Michael Bosilow

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

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Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare