Two original tracks from the show composed by Josh Schmidt. Listen while reading the review.
Between Riverside and Crazy is the story of “Pops” Washington, played by Eamonn Walker, who is currently starring as Chief Boden in NBC’s Chicago Fire. Eight years ago, Pops was shot by a white police officer. He survived but he is now mostly confined to his wheelchair and his apartment. A civil lawsuit against the city regarding the shooting is still pending. He is refusing to accept a settlement offer which includes a good sum of money and a non-disclosure agreement. His former partner and her fiancé are pressuring him to take the deal and it’s straining the relationships between all of them.
Pops takes in Oswald, an ex-con who needs a fatherly figure in his life. Oswald is very appreciative of everything Pops does for him. This relationship of mutual respect and compassion is in direct contrast to the relationship between Pops and his son, Junior. Pops loves Junior with “tough” love. These relationships become strained and are complicated by the dramatic events that unfold. At different times, they are friends to each other and at other times they are enemies.
The acting in this performance was fantastic. As the director, Yasen Peyankov, said, “The characters are so real that, at times you feel like, you shouldn’t be sitting there listening to their arguments.” The actors completely lose themselves in their roles. The set design is also fantastic and it’s an incredible moment when the second half of the set is revealed. The excellent musical score by Josh Schmidt sets the tone and mood. As you can hear from the two tracks, it’s a gritty, urban, and tense tone. However, this play also has a lighter side as exemplified by Pops singing along to Have you seen her? by the Chi-lites.
All in all this is a very impressive production that shouldn’t be missed! Get tickets now for Between Riverside and Crazy at Steppenwolf Theatre through August 21!