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Theatre & Performing Arts

Middle Passage at Lifeline Theatre

Lifeline Theatre presents Middle Passage directed by Lifeline Artistic Director Ilesa Duncan April 25 – June 5 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Middle Passage, co-adapted by Duncan and David Barr III, resumes its interrupted 2020 production based on Dr. Charles Johnson’s epic tale. The play shares a tale of personal growth within a dark phase of American history. Opening night is Monday, Apr. 25 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, Apr. 15 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Apr. 16 and 23 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Apr.17 at 4 p.m.) Regular performance times (April 28 – June 5) are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $45 for regular single tickets, $20 for active and retired military personnel (with ID), $35 for seniors, $20 for students (with ID), $20 for rush tickets (available half-hour before showtime, subject to availability), and $25 for previews. Group rate for 8 or moreis available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by  The production runs for approximately 2 hours with an intermission. The novel will be on sale in the lobby.


In Middle Passage, Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed Illinois slave eking out a living in 1830 New Orleans, stows away aboard The Republic, an outbound rigger, to evade debtors enforcing marriage. But his clever escape backfires as the clipper turns out to be a slave ship bound for Africa. Calhoun must choose between a fanatical captain, a mutinous crew, and the Africans seeking escape. Building on a tradition of African American storytelling, this tale challenges perceptions of American identity using a Black aesthetic. We are at a critical historical moment in which issues such as racism, classism, poverty, and the meaning of freedom impact us all.


Accessible Performances: The Saturday, May 7, 4 p.m. performance and the Friday, May 27, 7:30 p.m. performances will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Sunday, May 22, 4 p.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 2:30 p.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact our Accessibility Coordinator Erika Rivard at 773.761.4477 x703 or at


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