This Far by Faith

For 15 years, the Afrocentric parson Buddy Benson and his estranged pop-idol son, Buddy Blue, have resisted all attempts at reconciliation–but when the latter learns that he himself has a son, the two men’s actual and spiritual families must come to terms with their values. Last spring’s production of This Far by Faith collected four Black Theater Alliance awards, including best musical production, just days before this revival of Marylene Whitehead’s play–a parable about the Golden Rule–opened the 27th season of the ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Remounted with a streamlined script that leaves more room for Rufus Hill’s multifaceted score and Bobby Andrews’s simple but sprightly choreography, the current production features vigorous performances by a cast of virtuoso warblers headlined by the phenomenal Greta Oglesby (when are we going to see this actress in a biography of Marian Anderson?). Together they make a joyful noise that renders this familiar sermon on loving the Lord by loving one another a discovery as well as a reaffirmation. ETA Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago, 773-752-3955. Through October 26: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 3 and 7 PM. $20. –Mary Shen Barnidge

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): theater still by Kenneth Simmons.