The story of Roger Ebert through the prism of his wife, Chaz
Is it legitimate to tell a story of Roger Ebert — the late, great film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, the formidably intellectual populist and the way-ahead-of-the-curve adopter of social media and the personal brand — entirely through the prism of his loving wife, Chaz?
That was the sensitive, unspoken question dancing for two hours in the air at the Black Ensemble Theater on Sunday, where a very polite audience was watching a show that ran fast over Ebert’s inestimably colorful pre-Chaz years, that gave us no sense of a great Chicago critic at his craft, and wherein the word Siskel was barely attached to the word Ebert, except to note that both men died young, from cancer.
In fairness, the title of the attraction was not “Roger Ebert The Musical,” and certainly not “Siskel and Ebert The Musical,” in honor of his famous TV partnership with then-Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel. This show was billed “The Black White Love Play (The Story of Chaz and Roger Ebert)” and could just as well have been titled “Ebert and Ebert The Jukebox Musical.”
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