September 17 – October 8, 2020

Around 50 minutes with no intermission

In collaboration with the Chicago Park District, Goodman Theatre presents Cheryl L. West’s exhilarating Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak on It!, a FREE abridged version of West’s play Fannie—recently announced as part of the 2021 Season—in the community and parks for three weeks beginning September 17.

Featuring Chicago actor and singer E. Faye Butler, this electrifying call to action is inspired by the life of famed civil and voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer—and uses storytelling and music to remind us there's courage in the face of fire, hope in tomorrow and that we all have a stake in our country.

A Goodman Co-Commission with Seattle Repertory Theatre

The League of Women Voters and local chapters of Zeta Phi Beta—Tau Psi Zeta & Tau Xi Zeta—will be onsite to answer questions about mail-in voting and to assist with voter registration. 

Learn more about our community partners HERE.

Safety & Seating Protocols

Admittance to the Viewing Area will be begin one hour before the performance on a first-come, first-served basis. Social distancing and masks are required. Attendees should bring their own blanket or chair(s).


To help cover the costs of bringing this production to our communities free of charge, we gratefully ask for your support in the form of a charitable contribution.

Donors in support of Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! will have their gifts matched 1:1 up to $5,000 by a generous Goodman Trustee.


Have a question about our 2021 Season Memberships?
Call the Box Office.

Phone 312.443.3800

Open Daily, 11am – 4pm.

Locations & Schedule

Past Performances

†Thurs. Sept. 17 | 6 PM, Hamilton Park (Englewood),
513 W 72nd St, Chicago, IL 60621
Next to Hamilton Park Pool

*Fri. Sept. 18 | 6 PM, Abbott Park (West Chesterfield),
49 E 95th St, Chicago, IL 60619
Center of Abbott Park just east of the tennis courts

*Sat. Sept. 19 | 3 PM, DuSable Museum of African American History in George Washington Park (Washington Park/Woodlawn)
740 E. 56th St, Chicago, IL 60637
In the sunken garden, in front of the main entrance of the DuSable Museum

+Thurs. Oct. 1 | 6 PM, Austin Town Hall Park (Austin),
5610 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60644
Directly in front of Austin Town Hall

American Sign Language Interpreted Performance

*Fri. Oct. 2 | 6 PM, Homan Square (North Lawndale),
3559 W Arthington St, Chicago, IL 60624
Performance will take place in nearby Boler Park

*Sat. Oct. 3 | 3 PM, Ellis Park (Bronzeville),
3520 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60653
At the south end of the park, just off 37th street

Sun. Oct. 4 | 3 PM, Portage Park (Portage Park),
4100 N Long Ave, Chicago, IL 60641
On the west side of the Portage Park Senior Center

*Tue. Oct. 6 | 6 PM, Willye White Park (Rogers Park), 
1610 Howard St, Chicago, IL 60626
In the field east of the Willye B. White Park Fitness Center

*Wed. Oct. 7 | 6 PM, Indian Boundary Park (West Ridge),
2500 W Lunt Ave, Chicago, IL 60645
On the west side of the Indian Boundary Cultural Center

Thu. Oct. 8 | 6 PM, DuSable Museum of African American History in George Washington Park (Washington Park/Woodlawn) 
740 E. 56th St, Chicago, IL 60637
In the sunken garden, in front of the main entrance of the DuSable Museum

*Voting partner & voting assistance offered by the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters

Voting partner & voting assistance offered by Zeta Phi Beta, Tau Psi Zeta
Zeta Phi Beta

+ Voting partner & voting assistance offered by Zeta Phi Beta, Tau Xi Zeta
Zeta Phi Beta

  • Cheryl L. West

    Cheryl L. West Playwright

  • Henry Godinez

    Henry Godinez Director

  • E. Faye Butler

    E. Faye Butler Fannie Lou Hamer

  • Felton Offard

    Felton Offard Music Director & Arrangements

  • Briana J. Fahey

    Briana J. Fahey Stage Manager

About Fannie Lou Hamer
  • Live @ Five: Speak On It Community Panel

    Live @ Five

    Speak On It! Community Panel

    Inspired by Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy, Goodman hosted five phenomenal women for a live stream public exchange on September 25 at 5pm. This group of hard-working civil and voting rights activists tackled the question: How do the inequities of the past play out in current events, and what can we do to change our future? Actress, writer and activist Minita Gandhi moderates. 


  • Live @ Five: Fannie Lou Hamer

    Live @ Five

    Friday, September 11, 5pm

    Join us for a special
     Live @ Five  celebrating the launch of Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! Playwright Cheryl L. West joined director Henry Godinez and star E. Faye Butler for a conversation about producing this socially-distanced production in select Chicago parks this fall. Together they discussed the importance of live theater and how Fannie Lou Hamer's story can inspire communities today. 


  • Votes for (Some) Women

    Votes for (Some) Women

    How the Suffrage Movement Left Out Black Citizens

    Resident dramaturg Neena Arndt recounts the history of the Women's Suffrage Movement, delving into how and why people of color were excluded from progress, and why the activism of Fannie Lou Hamer was so vital in the fight for all women to secure the right to vote. 


  • Fannie Lou Hamer

    The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

    Explore the timeline of Fannie Lou Hamer's life, including the origins of her political activism and her continuous efforts for civil rights.


  • Fannie Lou Hamer Stand Up

    Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up - Documentary 

    Civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer is remembered by those who worked side by side with her in the struggle for voting rights. An African-American sharecropper from the Mississippi Delta, Hamer’s difficulty registering to vote in 1962 led to her career as an outspoken activist, congressional candidate, and fierce fighter for the rights of all.