African-American Women Assert Their Independence in ‘Flyin’ West’ | Chicago News


From left: Tiffany Oglesby, Sydney Charles and Joslyn Jones in American Blues Theater’s production of “Flyin’ West.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

It might be sheer coincidence, but more likely it is a sign of the times. For with the opening of American Blues Theater’s winningly realized revival of Pearl Cleage’s 1992 play, “Flyin’ West,” there are now three exceptionally fine stories being told on Chicago stages, and they are all united by the fact that they vividly capture African-American women in pursuit of freedom, independence and respect.

The eras and places in which these stories unfold are all different, with Cleage’s play set in 1898, outside the all-black prairie town of Nicodemus, Kansas, while Lynn Nottage’s “Crumbs from the Table of Joy” (now at Raven…

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