The Gimmick

by Dael Orlandersmith
Chicago Premiere
February 11–March 28, 2010

Pulitzer Prize nominee and Obie Award-winning playwright Dael Orlandersmith’s THE GIMMICK is a journey through the childhood of Alexis and Jimmy, two outsiders from broken families who forge a friendship after discovering their shared passion for the arts.  theirs is a love more powerful than the ghetto gimmicks that devastate much of the Harlem of their youth.  When one falls, the bond that has kept them whole threatens to destroy them both.  Alexis’ love of literature and writing provides a literal escape from a future of abuse, neglect, drugs, and prostitution.

Jeff Recommended

“This show should be seen by teens, and by every teacher, librarian and parent whomight sometimes doubt the influence they can exert.”

“LaNisa Frederick brings such emotional heat, vibrant energy, and clarity to the stage
that Orlandersmith’s storytelling feels richer, and her characters more vivid and true.”

“[She] moves through this 80-minute piece with great confidence, polish and musicality.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“LaNisa Frederick, the promising young star… makes the piece her own. There is honesty.”
“[Director Ilesa] Duncan brings some provocative visual ideas.”
Chicago Tribune

“Frederick is dazzling in her mastery of Orlandersmith’s verbal illustrations.”
TimeOut Chicago

 “[The production] benefits considerably from LaNisa Frederick’s adroit, charismatic performance.”
Chicago Reader

THE GIMMICK, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered on their Second Stage in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize Award Finalist and Drama Desk Award Nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2002. Ms. Orlandersmith’s newest work Stoop Stories was recently seen at The Goodman. After being first performed in 2008 at The Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar festival; the play was subsequently produced in 2009 at The Studio Theatre inWashington, D.C.