“Part ghost story, part baptism, part love story, part history lesson and part economics class, the Pulitzer Prize winner is, above all, a tragicomic blues opera in which everyone has at least one grand aria, and the overall weave of clarion voices is a thing wondrous to behold.”


“Chicago has a long and distinguished history of producing Wilson’s plays. And director Ron OJ Parsons’ boisterous, musical, richly comic, wonderfully conversational revival for Court Theatre continues that legacy. Impeccably cast, and played with exceptional buoyancy and naturalness, the production exudes a freshness and ease—a playfulness even ... “

–Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

3 Stars ***  "... Parson and his sound designer Nick Keenan crank enough wails, ghostly music and gusts of wind that even Jacob Marley would be impressed."

"... a plethora of rich, experienced character actors..."

–Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

4 Stars ****  "With an excellent cast on hand, Parson shows off his ease with coaching Wilson’s rhythms out of actors. The director again anchors a Wilson revival with the authoritative Smith as the patriarch ... the beautifully tattered Wilson as a broken-down piano player, open-faced Weddington as a hired hand with big dreams, and Conner, whose explosive, ambitious Boy Willie commands the evening."

–Christopher Piatt, Time Out Chicago

"... the attraction of the Court's productions are consistently high enough to ... draw people to the neighborhood from the rest of the city. On the night we were there, people were being turned away from the box office. That's the kind of problem we could use more of in Hyde Park."

–Hyde Park Progress blog

"This is about as powerful and exhilarating a theatrical experience as you're likely to find, and with an accomplished cast of Wilson interpreters under the helm of veteran director Ron OJ Parson, it is sure to be another milestone for the 54-year-old Court Theatre."

"August Wilson's "Lesson" and legacy are well learned in Court Theatre's master class!"

–Joe Stead, Steadstyle Chicago

"Director Ron O.J. Parson truly understands the inner feeling that Wilson is trying to convey. We are treated to a wonderful production with deep feeling and meaning that allows us to leave the theater with a warm feeling... Theater is art and this production is like a masterpiece. Each actor and each technical person gets into the soul of what Wilson has put down on paper. No matter how well written a play may be, it is up to the actors, director and tech people to use their talents to make it a piece of art, and the staff at the Court Theatre has done this to perfection."

–Alan Bresloff, Steadstyle Chicago

"This play just made me happy ... a supreme pleasure ... There's nothing better than a great play being done by fine actors."

–Rob Kozlowski blog