“This is not a poem / It is a celebration of the road we have traveled,” wrote Nikki Giovanni, once a rebellious daughter of the Black Panther movement, now a university professor whose outspoken opinions continue to remind us that pride in one’s people must begin with pride in oneself (“Show me a person not full of herself, and I’ll show you an empty person!”). Now, after a monthlong run at the South Shore Cultural Center, the compilation of her work called Nikki Giovanni: New Song for a New Day has moved north. Under the direction of adapter Leslie Holland, a quartet of multitalented actresses backed by a trio of equally talented musicians interpret the words of Dr. G. in a tight, cohesive collage of poetry, music, and dance. This is a brief (50 minutes max), thought-provoking, and manifestly entertaining introduction to one of the most original American voices of the 20th century. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650. Through May 5: Saturdays, noon; Mondays, 7 PM. $10. Note: Nikki Giovanni will be present at the performance on Monday, May 5.
–Mary Shen Barnidge
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of “Nikki Giovanni:New Song for a New Day” by Steve Godfrey.