I didn’t grow up in the projects of Chicago, but they’re sketched in my childhood memories. Notorious for gangs and crime, my mother made sure I never set foot near the Robert Taylor homes, Cabrini Green, Ida B. Wells, or any other project development. One time I went for a joy ride with my older cousin Toya and we ended up on the “low end”, in the projects. My mother was so heated when she found out.
It was the big talk of the town, when the city started tearing down projects in the early 2000’s. Where were the people supposed to go? And how could the city sleep at night, knowing they were destroying historic communities, that although had a few struggles, was home to thousands of people? I’ve always been interested in their stories, and finally, I had a chance to hear it.
Playing at American Theatre Company, The Project(s) is a documentary play surrounding the history of the public housing. Written by PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger, an eight ensemble cast does a SUPERB job of bringing residents stories to life, with limited props. Stevie and I knew we were in for a great performance when the opening scene consisted of a soulful a cappella version of “Good Times”. Yes lord! The Project(s) is a history lesson, musical, and drama wrapped all together.
After The Project(s) ended, I literally walked up to the PR director, and asked her what could I do to push this play. Everyone, of all ages, in Chicago, NEEDS to see The Project(s). Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
For more information on The Project(s) click here.