In 1989 actors Harry J. Lennix and GregAlan Williams teamed up with director Chuck Smith for the Chicago Theatre Company’s local premiere of The Meeting, Jeff Stetson’s imagined encounter between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Set just a week before Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination, the play is colored by both imminent deaths–but in these performances the young civil rights leaders were memorably alive. So were their eloquent but antagonistic views on strategy, style, and morality as well as the bedrock decency that drove both the revolutionary and the reformer. Though Lennix and Williams have gone on to Hollywood careers (Lennix’s movies include Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus, and Williams is a regular on Baywatch), they found The Meeting so rewarding–and its commentary on racial injustice and political aspiration so timely–that they’ve continued to perform it throughout the country. Next week the show briefly returns to Chicago as the inaugural production of the South Shore Cultural Center’s Paul Robeson Theater Series, a collaborative venture between the Chicago Park District and local professional theaters, in this case the Chicago Theatre Company and the Goodman. The series is off to a fine start with this deeply engaging offering. South Shore Cultural Center, Paul Robeson Theater, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., 773-493-5360. Opens Friday, January 24, 7:30 PM. Through February 2: Saturdays, 7:30 PM; Sundays, 3 PM. $7.50-$10. –Lawrence Bommer
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