Eta theater kicks off 44th season with award-winning play that spawned the show “227”

SHARE Eta theater kicks off 44th season with award-winning play that spawned the show “227”

Building renovations apparently don’t stop the show.

Eta Creative Arts Foundation is kicking off its 44th season in temporary digs at Kennedy King College with the play “Two Twenty-seven,” which offers an award-winning look at 1950s life in historic Bronzeville. The Christine Houston play, originally staged at Kennedy King College in 1976, went on to win the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award before becoming the impetus for the TV show “227.”

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The Lady Behind 227

Houston, now 78, penned the play – about the pleasuresand pains of grown up in off 47th street –while she was an adult student at KKC, so it is fitting that this encore run at her alma mater. The original stage productionis set at 227 E. 48th Street. “I’m back to where it all started,” says Houston, who is also a professor of film writing and directing at Chicago State University. “There was a dare by my children to go back to school, and once there, it was a challenge fro the students. They said ‘write us a play’ so they could win a contest at a summer conference. They’d won awards for every category except for playwriting.”

In this cast photo, Houston is in the center, wearing the white headband.

In this cast photo, Houston is in the center, wearing the white headband.

The October 4 opening night will be special because Houston has somehow found all the remaining people from her original building and many are coming to the play – which was based upon their lives. Five students who worked onthe original stage production will also be present, says Houston.

Houston was a writer fora number of hit TV shows, including “Punky Brewster,” “Sanford and Son,” “All in the Family” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” And yes, she’s still reaping royalties from them.

“I’ve been blessed,” says the South Shore resident, chuckling. “I’m sittinghere for a reason, and I didn’t discover it until I was 42 years old. So God let me use this and continue with it and share it with other people. That’s what I do at Chicago State and hopefully this production too will be shared.”

The play runs from October 4 to October 24 at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at KKC’s theater on 740 W. 63rd street.. Tickets are $35. Parking nearthe Kennedy King campus is free after 6 p.m. For tickets, call708-926-4641.


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