Home

Two girlfriends grow up in Mississippi, one wants to be a hairdresser to the stars and the other a singing star in her own right. An opportunity to run their own beauty shop binds the two friends together for life, and helps a South Side Chicago neighborhood maintain a sense of community and safety, even a little glamour, that is until Starbucks and other corporations start moving into the neighborhood. Beautifully directed, A Wonder in My Soul is the heartfelt journey of two best friends who have shared a beauty salon for over three decades.

 

Aberdeen "Birdie" Calumet (Greta Oglesby) and Bell Grand Lake (Jacqueline Williams) play the two close friends and both do an amazing job with long speeches that could be coming out of the mouths of preachers. The audience even lets out a few, “go girls”, and “praise Gods” as if we are sitting in a church. In a way, their beauty shop, which once served some celebrity visitors, has stood for forty years as a type of church to the women of the neighborhood. A place where they can talk and be themselves where their best customer, a rich woman who prefers to be called “First Lady” (a fantastic Linda Bright Clay), who spends at least three afternoons a week just trying new hairdos to hang out at the salon to have company and help each other with daily troubles. 

 

Marcus Gardley's script creates very familiar and real characters, and utilizes the beautiful singing voices of young Birdie (Camille Robinson) and young Bell (Donica Lynn) in a way that vitalizes and makes real the talents and determination underneath the tough facade of these hard working, loving women. 

 

This play is about change and gentrification, and growth and strength. Change isn't always but a bad thing but A Wonder in My Soul pulls back the curtain on how gentrification affects this "family" of women and their whole neighborhood that tries to save the salon. Is it fair that the neighborhood rallies to save the community staple only for a Starbucks to ultimately knock them down as easily as a cannon ball would a bowling pin? No. But the way each woman chooses to go on with her life and keep the bitterness from affecting the wonder in their souls is truly inspiring. 

 

Highly recommended for satisfying, humorous and heartwarming performances, especially by Jacqueline Williams as the down, but not out, captain of her sinking ship.

 

Williams speeches about life and the value of struggling to keep some history and classiness intact in the neighborhood, which is being brought down by violence and greed, ripple through the audience with a deep resonance and truthfulness that the talented actor brings to all her stage work.

 

A Wonder in My Soul is being performed at Victory Gardens Theater through March 12th. Go to www.VictoryGardens.org for more show information.

 

Published in Theatre in Review

Taylor Mac's HIR at Steppenwolf

22 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere production of Hir, a subversive comedy by celebrated playwright, actor, singer-songwriter…

Theater Wit unveils 17-18 season: My Little Pony-themed Antelope Play, Women Laughing Alone With Salad, This Way Outta Santaland

22 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

"Are we still who we thought we were?" "How much do we still value the culture we embraced a year…

The Gift Theatre announces "Open Season" as play chosen to pilot 4802

22 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

The Gift Theatre is proud to announce Adithi Chandrashekar's Open Season as the first play chosen to pilot 4802 -…

Writers Theatre to stage world premiere of "Trevor"

20 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, opens its 2017/18 season…

Chicago Open Air With Ozzy, KISS, Korn & More: Set Times Announced, Battle Of The Bands Underway

20 June 2017 in In Concert

Performance times have been announced for the 40-plus bands playing the second annual Chicago Open Air festival, July 14, 15…

NEWCITY Announces Free Outdoor Summer Concert Series

20 June 2017 in In Concert

An urban oasis for one-of-a-kind entertainment, eclectic dining and luxury shopping, NEWCITY, 1457 N. Halsted, announced today it will host…

Cards Against Humanity Live at Greenhouse Theater Center - Friday, June 23 at 10 pm - Peter Sagal Hosts!

20 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Following a sell-out performance in May, CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LIVE returns for one night only on Friday, June 23 at…

Sideshow Theatre Company Announces 2017-18 Season

20 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2017-18 Season, launching next spring with the Chicago premiere of Mia Chung’s …

Steppenwolf's LookOut Series Announces Concert Reading with Co-Founder Jeff Perry and Broadway Legends

20 June 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series is excited to announce a surprise summer performance of Standup Shakespeare: A Concert Reading with music by…

Moby Dick is a spectacular physical theatre experience

19 June 2017 in Theatre in Review

Winner of four Jeff Awards, including Best Production, and fresh off a national tour, Moby Dick, adapted and directed by…

The King and I at Oriental Theatre a true theatrical gem

18 June 2017 in Theatre in Review

Oriental Theatre is currently housing one of the finest productions of The King and I that you will ever see.…

Always On Our Mind - Willie Nelson and Family Live at Ravinia

17 June 2017 in In Concert

“You were always on my mind …You were always on my mind” Summer warmth and clear skies are finally here.…

 

 August 4th and 5th!

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles

Guests Online

We have 116 guests and no members online

Buzz Chicago on Facebook Buzz Chicago on Twitter