Season 29: “Lost and Sound”

Chicago. The South Side. The 1930s. A world where opportunity is elusive for people like Bigger Thomas. After landing a job in the home of a wealthy family, Bigger unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Adapted with theatrical ingenuity by American Blues Ensemble member Nambi E. Kelley, and co-produced with Court Theatre, this Native Son brings the power of Richard Wright’s novel to life for a whole new generation. Explore more of Native Son in Shepsu Aakhu‘s playguide and an interview with adaptor Nambi E. Kelley!


“Stirring. Forefully directed.” – Wall Street Journal  “Gutsy, powerful, relentless, profoundly disturbing piece of Chicago theater.” – Chicago Tribune  “Triumphant merging into one man that inspires you to look in the mirror.” – Newcity

World Premiere adaptation by Ensemble member Nambi E. Kelley! Joseph Jefferson Award recommended.



This performance must close October 19th.

  • Wednesday: 7:30pm
  • Thursday: 7:30pm
  • Friday: 8:00pm
  • Saturday: 3:00pm and 8:00pm
  • Sunday: 2:30pm and 7:30pm

Special Note: Saturday matinees available on 9/27, 10/4, 10/11

Location: Court Theatre at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago

Native Son Performance Chicago


Cast:  Jerod Haynes (Bigger), Eric Lynch* (Black Rat), Shanesia Davis (Hannah)Tosin Morohunfola (Gus), Edgar Sanchez (Buddy), Joe Dempsey* (Britten), Nora Fiffer (Mary)James Leaming* (Mr. Dalton)Carmen Roman*(Mrs. Dalton), Tracey Bonner (Bessie/Vera), & Jeff Blim (Jan).

Production: Nambi E. Kelley* (adaptor)Seret Scott (director), Regina Garcia (scenic)Marc Stubblefield (lights)Melissa Torchia (costumes), Joshua Horvath (sound), Shepsu Aakhu (Production dramaturg).

*American Blues Theater Ensemble and Artistic Affiliates

More Information on Native Son

“4 out of 4 stars. You never doubt the truth … you are seeing in this gutsy, powerful, relentless, profoundly disturbing piece of Chicago theater.” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Read more

Rave Reviews for Native Son

Native Son was received with rave reviews from Chicago critics includingthe Chicago Tribune, Around the Town Chicago, Time Out Chicago and more!

Interview with Native Son’s Nambi E. Kelley

Interview with Native Son’s Nambi E. Kelley

by Shepsu Aakhu I first met Nambi E. Kelley just as she was graduating from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University.  She was, and frankly still is a vibrant, energetic, and focused artist with a sense of her craft that is astounding.  During our many years...

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