Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumnus Michael Allen Harris ’11, a graduate of the Columbia College Theatre Department’s Acting program, was dubbed “a young playwright on the brink of greatness” by the Chicago Reader in its review of Harris’ new drama Kingdom, which runs through March 31 at the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.
“Now that I’ve seen my first Michael Allen Harris play, I’m adding him to the short list of Chicago playwrights who understand the difference between drama and diorama,” wrote critic Justin Hayford in the Reader, Chicago’s premier alternative weekly newspaper since 1971. “While so many of his contemporaries seem content to schematize Big Ideas by populating narrow, transparent stage worlds with one-dimensional characters, Harris trades in compelling, aggravating ambiguity. . . . Harris takes messy human impulses and makes them poignantly messier, in the process illuminating the societal forces that can turn human shortcomings into iconic tragedies. . . . Like Lorraine Hansberry, Harris has a gift for creating high-stakes crises that arise naturally from his characters’ social predicaments.” You can read the full review here.
Kingdom is the story of a gay African-American couple — two men in their 60s, living in Florida — who are divided on whether to formalize their longtime relationship in a marriage. Tickets to Kingdom are “pay what you can.” For tickets, click here.
Harris, now pursuing his MFA in Playwriting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, is the resident playwright at Broken Nose Theatre, which is producing the world premiere of Kingdom. Harris’ other plays include Rocky Road, which received its world premiere at the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Center in 2013 — the first play by a Columbia College alumnus ever featured in the Theatre Department’s mainstage season.
The production team for Kingdom includes several alumni and students from the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department. The show’s lighting designer is Columbia College alum Michael Joseph ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre Design. The production manager is Columbia College alum Rose Hamill ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre Technology. The production team also includes Columbia College students Rylee Freeman, an interdisciplinary BA student majoring in Theatre and Fashion Studies, and Devon Green, a senior in the Theatre Department’s Theatre Design BA program. Freeman is the show’s hair and makeup designer, and Green is the show’s props designer.