'The Motherf***er With the Hat'

Despite its provocative title, "The Motherf***er with the Hat" is a bold, highly articulate and deceptive compassionate Stephen Adly Guirgis drama about the peaks, valleys, minefields and revelations of addiction in an urban underclass. Where her Broadway production of this play had delivered with the dial stuck at maximum intensity, director Anna D. Shapiro's Steppenwolf show is gentler, quieter, less funny, less sexualized and quite poignant. John Ortiz, who plays Jackie, the young Puerto Rican man trying to get all sides of his act together in tough circumstances, is really very moving here. And although Jimmy Smits needs to fully let his complex character rip, his presence is imposing indeed. Through March 3 at the Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; $20-$86 at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org
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