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  • Writer's pictureTeam Acacia

WBEZ: "For 'Empire' and 'Morning Show' writer Joshua Allen, the big test is a new play - in front of his whole Chicago family

By Mike Davis

May 28, 2024

The Rogers Park theater is as dark as the drama. As The Prodigal Daughter brings its tale of Chicago’s 1919 race riots to its powerful close, the sold-out audience takes a collective breath as the lights come up.

This is a unique crowd. The playwright, Joshua Allen, is there. So are his aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents and Allen’s own mother, Lynda Forte, and they are all on their feet with a standing ovation. The family has bought out nearly the entire theater — so much that extra seats have been added to accommodate them — and, to Allen, their feedback matters. His play takes place on the South Side and unfolds in front of an audience that has the most authentic perspective possible.

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