The Toughest Man In Chicago

dean winkleson presents · Ages 18+ · United States of America

one person show world premiere
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June 19, 2022 certified reviewer

What I liked

Pretty much was well-paced, and covered a lot of ground. The personal, political, and observational aspects of Royko’s massive catalogue of columns were all sampled, with some side-narration by “Studs Terkel” and the effective use of of video clips and photographs illustrating important moments and the character of the city from multiple perspectives.

What I didn't like

The show leans toward some political issues that remain with us now, and properly spends a good deal of time in 1968 with the Democratic Convention and multiple assassinations. Royko’s political target .. Mayor Daley and the Democratic machine — are obviously good subjects as well. Though we do spend some time in the neighborhoods and taverns and experience Royko’s love and respect for regular people, I think I would have liked to see included a bit more of his humor and local-color type columns like those featuring the fictitious representational friend from his youth, Slats Grobnik. But that’s a minor thing based on my personal memories .. the show is so good in all aspects.

My overall impression

Great show! I enjoyed it immensely. Plenty of fun moments and touched on history and some important issues that continue today. As a native Chicagoan and Royko reader from childhood, this was a real treat. The full house (many wearing Chicago designs) enthusiastically agreed, giving a well-deserved standing O.

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