Midwest Premiere


The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare

music by Jeanine Tesori
lyrics by Tazewell Thompson
directed by Tazewell Thompson
in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago

Powerful—as well as sadly timely. One of the most elegant librettos I’ve heard in a long time.


★★★★★ An exceptionally strong new opera about race in America. Tesori’s orchestration is rich and her vocal lines retain a beauty and eloquence


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The Play

Gospel-influenced music and vivid flashbacks capture the grief of a family and community navigating the turbulent waters of loss at the hands of police. Exploring race, violence, and reconciliation, Blue places timely issues at the forefront of modern opera and invites audiences to the emotional epicenter of their impact. An African American couple in Harlem anticipates the birth of their firstborn, a son, with both hope and fear. As the baby grows into a young man, the mother worries for his future, and the father tries to prepare his son for the realities of 21st century America, while wrestling with his own identity as a police officer, a "Black man in blue." When their deepest fears come true, the family is forced to navigate a devastating reality seeking answers and support from their church and community.

Performed in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago, this Midwest Premiere of Tony Award®–winning composer Jeanine Tesori and NAACP Theatre Award–winning librettist Tazewell Thompson’s new opera is inspired by contemporary events and Black literature, including Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. 


More to Explore

Featured in The New York Times

Tazewell Thompson wrote Blue from “an obsessive need and sense of responsibility” to tell an intimate story about police violence, behind the numbers.
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Praise for Blue

Classical Voice America hails, "Tesori’s tone painting subtly blends whiffs of jazz, blues, and soul within a singable, engaging, and smartly expressive score."
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Thoughts on Parenthood

Connecting with communities across the city, this interactive arts project is gathering personal stories of parents—their greatest wishes, biggest needs, and proudest moments.
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The Players

Creative Team

Jeanine Tesori Composer

Tazewell Thompson Librettist/Stage Director

Viswa Subbaraman Conductor

Donald Eastman Scenic Designer

Jessica Jahn Costume Designer

Robert Wierzel Lighting Designer


Kenneth Kellogg The Father

Taylor Raven The Mother

Aaron Crouch The Son

Mark Rucker The Reverend

Additional Pages