Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre Mainstage, Chicago
January 11 – February 23, 1991

As Herald Loomis (PHOTO: Chicago Tribune)

As Herald Loomis, with Norman Matlock as Bynum Walker (PHOTO: Chicago Tribune)

Critical Response

“[I]nto the Hollys’ warm and spcious kitchen come the wanderers. . . . Chief among them is Herald Loomis (Johnny Lee Davenport, an actor of monumental bearing and commanding talent), a half-crazed, wild-eyed man who has been traveling with his 11-year-old daughter (Jene Marie Culp) for four years. Loomis is in search of his wife, from whom he was separated when he was forced into a chain gang by the infamous Joe Turner, a plantation owner who rounded up black men on false charges. He spent seven years in hell, and in the process he lost his spirit or “song,” as Bynum Walker (grand singing performance by Norman Matlock), the conjurer and rootworker, calls it.
—Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times (January 22, 1991)

“As Herold Loomis, Johnny Lee Davenport is a man simmering with rage. His rage occasionally boils over as he tries desperately to find his world again by finding his wife. It is a riveting performance, particularly when he collapses on the kitchen floor and describes the vision before him—one of bones marching across the sea, settling on the beach now with black flesh, but losing all ability to move.”
Indiana Post-Tribune (January 25, 1991)

Johnny Lee Davenport smolders as Herald Loomis, a man who has his emotions so totally locked up that he has lost contact with his ‘softer parts,’ as he finally admits.”
Tom Valeo, Daily Herald (January 25, 1991)

Johnny Lee Davenport is broodingly intense, almost iconic as Loomis.”
—Anthony Adler, Chicago Reader (February 7, 1991)

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