Critic's Choice: Nelson Algren: For Keeps and A Single Day
by Kerry Reid
Lookingglass Theatre Company gets a lot of attention for its eye-popping approach to epic literature, but there's also a stripped-down side to the company, which comes through well in director John Musial's deft 2001 portrait of iconic Chicago writer Nelson Algren. Thomas J. Cox reprises his role as the tensile, sardonic, rueful Algren, delivering snippets from Chicago: City on the Make and The Last Carousel, while an onstage jazz combo performs David Pavkovic's propulsive original score. As real estate developers with sweetheart deals continue their gargantuan encroachments on old ethnic enclaves, this show makes one wistful for the days when â€śthe hustlers and the squaresâ€ť anatomized by Algren weren't necessarily the same people.