The best theater holds up a mirror to the world, which is why the first act is often just the actors sitting in theater seats and waiting for the audience to do something. Let the actors make the first move with this GrouponLive deal to see R&J Productions, Inc. presents Voice of a Child at the Portage Theater on Saturday, April 20, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Choose between the following options:
- For $20, you get two general-admission passes (a $40 value).
- For $30, you get a VIP package for two with seating in rows 1–15 and a meet and greet with the cast after the show (a $60 value).
In Voice of a Child, a teenager takes refuge in a foster home following a traumatic event. His presence forces a group of friends to confront their own uncomfortable truths, and along the way, they experience tears and sorrow, but also joy, laughter, and, ultimately, triumph. After the show, VIP guests get to pick the brain of actor, writer, and director Richard Gallion, along with a cast that includes comedian Alonzo Ruffin, Keeland Ellis, Djemi Travis, and Shaneka Tyler. The landmark Portage Theater, one of Chicago's oldest movie houses, juxtaposes the riveting character study with carefully preserved 1920s grandeur, complete with molded ceiling and amber wall-sconces.
A Conversation with Joe, CEO of R&J Productions
What inspired you to start R&J Productions?
R&J Productions was inspired by two individuals that simply love the arts. We both realized there was an opportunity to incorporate ministry in theater, as well as film, and due to the gifts God has given us we decided to come together and move forward in theater production.
What does being a black business owner mean to you?
It means we have an opportunity to speak to our community in a special way. It means that we have the freedom to allow the content of our plays to portray the gritty, not-so-nice side of things, that many people in our community are accustomed to seeing in day-to-day life. It gets to a point—especially here in Chicago—that violence, misfortune and injustice are accepted as a way of life. We hope that through our productions, people are able to see themselves, and see themselves in a new light.
What makes you and your production company experts in the source material?
We draw from real life in order to come up with the storylines of our productions. We've seen many friends and members of our families deal with similar struggles.
The one thing that all of their situations have had in common, is that they got through it with faith and perseverance. We hope that after seeing our productions, people have renewed hope and determination, and get a few laughs as well.
What keeps audiences coming back to your shows?
People love how "real" our productions feel to them, be it a situation they've seen people go through before, or the way our actors portray their characters. Some of the themes can really hit home.
Where do you hope to see your business and community in the next five years?
We hope within the next five years, we will be a mainstay in the theater market.