The Humans

"The Humans" continues through Sunday at Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

One of the most intense productions in recent years has made its way back to Chicago.

"The Humans," by Stephen Karam, continues through Sunday at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. The play was first performed in 2014 at the Chicago Theater Company.

"The Humans" tells the story of an American middle-class family and their personal conflicts, relationships and interactions with one another. It all takes place over a family Thanksgiving dinner.

The play, written by Stephen Karam, earned the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016 and also won the 2016 New York Drama Critics Award for Best Play. It also walked away with a variety of other honors.

There's much to ponder in this production as the characters are all struggling with life's many issues, including sickness, caring for an elderly family member, financial woes, marriage problems, the loss of jobs and other ills.

The production features powerful performances by the ensemble cast members. Starring in the play are Richard Thomas - yes, that Richard Thomas, best known as John Boy in "The Waltons" -  who portrays patriarch Erik; Pamela Reed as wife Deirdre; Daisy Eagan as daughter Brigid; Luis Vega as Brigid's live-in boyfriend; Lauren Klein as grandmother Momo; and Therese Plaehn as daughter Aimee.

"The Humans" is 90 minutes long and is performed without an intermission. Audience members in the theater for this work should note that despite its excellent script, stellar performances and assorted comic lines, attendees may at times feel like they're being drained emotionally. The characters regularly shine a bright spotlight on life's many tensions, heartaches and problems that most people would like to forget. No doubt, it'll get people thinking of what they're dealing with in their own lives.

Kudos also go out to David Zinn for scenic design. "The Humans" is acted out on a two-story set making it interesting for audience members to watch the action happening at the same time on both levels.

"The Humans," directed by Joe Mantello, also features lighting design by Justin Townsend and sound design by Fitz Patton.

FYI: "The Humans" runs through Sunday at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets are $25 to $98. Call 800-775-2000 or visit


Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.