(Chicago, IL) Artistic Director Robert Falls announces Goodman Theatre’s new 2018/2019 Season—a 14-play line-up of timely, original and inspired works curated by Falls in collaboration with his artistic associates. The new season, which begins in September and continues through July 2019, includes 10 full productions on the Goodman’s stages (856-seat Albert Theatre and 350-seat flexible Owen Theatre) plus three free New Stages developmental productions, and one TBA production TBA staged as part of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance’s 2018 International Latino Theater Festival. Goodman Theatre memberships, including new flexible packages, are now available for purchase. Five play Albert Theatre packages start at just $100. Call 312.443.3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org. Single tickets will be available for select productions beginning in August 2018.
“I am thrilled to share our upcoming season—an expansive, relevant collection of works of art that are at once entertaining and challenging, and offer exciting possibilities to engage with our community,” said Robert Falls of the 32nd season he has curated as Artistic Director. “I am particularly proud that more than half of these productions have emerged from our New Stages festival, which continues to be an extraordinary incubator for new plays.”
Continued Falls, “We open our Albert Theatre season with the world premiere of We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time by David Cale—exactly 30 years from this remarkable poet/composer/storyteller’s Goodman debut with The Redthroats in 1988. David’s newest work is the striking, autobiographical story of his family and complicated journey towards redemption and forgiveness, infused with beautiful music—and twists that will take your breath away. Next, we premiere How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson, directed by Niegel Smith, a vivid portrait of three artist and intellectual couples who are exploring life, children and marriage—coming together and coming apart. Then, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play that has its finger on the pulse of the working class—the Chicago premiere of Sweat by Lynn Nottage, directed by Ron O.J. Parson—takes the stage. We are thrilled to welcome back Lynn following Ruined, a Goodman premiere for which she earned her first Pulitzer Prize. In Spring 2019, I will direct The Winter’s Tale—Shakespeare’s unusual tragicomedy, in which heartbreak gives way to magic and metamorphosis. It is one of his most difficult plays, but one that has fascinated me for a long time. Finally, we conclude the Albert Theatre line-up on a high note with one of the most loved, familiar and joyous musicals—Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, directed by Mary Zimmerman. Mary has great interest—and success—in exploring the American musical’s Golden Age, with her recent revivals of Wonderful Town and Guys and Dolls. Audiences of all ages will delight as an intolerant community and con artist alike are transformed by love, in a redemptive musical about the power of art.”
Continued Falls, “Our Owen Theatre line-up of three world premieres is equally exciting, as it emerges from our new play commissioning process. We begin with a soulful music tribute and meditation on life, marriage and mortality—Lady in Denmark by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Chay Yew. Next, Rebecca Gilman’s Twilight Bowl, directed by Erica Weiss, reveals a great deal about young women in contemporary America in a profound, wildly funny portrait of high school friends who hang out at a local bowling alley. I’m thrilled for emerging director Erica, a former Maggio Fellow, to make her Goodman directing debut. Our Owen Theatre season concludes with the very exciting, highly energetic and wildly theatrical Lottery Day by Ike Holter, one of the most acclaimed playwrights working in Chicago today. Set in Chicago, Ike’s play uses characters from his other plays who gather for a backyard barbeque—with riotous results.”
Falls continued, “In addition, we are proud to forge our first partnership with the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance: a soon-to-be-announced project with a Mexican theater company. Another first, David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries directed by Steve Scott finds a home this holiday season in our Owen Theatre—running concurrently with our 41st annual production of A Christmas Carol, directed by Henry Wishcamper and starring Larry Yando in his 11th turn as Ebenezer Scrooge. And we are proud to present the 15th annual New Stages Festival of new plays, which includes six new plays (three developmental productions in repertory + three staged readings, TBA).”
About the Productions + Events in Goodman Theatre’s 2018/2019 Season
Listed in order of appearance
The Goodman is grateful to its 2018/2019 Season sponsors, including American Airlines and Northern Trust Bank, Major Contributors; Mayer Brown LLP, Corporate Sponsor Partner for The Winter’s Tale; Winston & Strawn LLP, Major Corporate Sponsor for The Music Man; Time Warner Foundation, Lead Supporter of New Play Development; The Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Major Supporters of New Work Development; and the Shubert Foundation, Lead Support of General Operations.
We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time
Written and Performed by David Cale
Songs by David Cale
Arrangements and Underscoring Composed by Matthew Dean Marsh
Directed by Tony Speciale
September 15 – October 21, 2018 in the Albert Theatre
A World Premiere
Without an ending, there can be no beginning. Growing up in an industrial English town, writer and performer David Cale escaped his parents’ fraught marriage by singing in his bedroom and tending to the tropical birds in the bird and animal hospital he built in a garden shed—until a tragedy changed everything. Weaving together lushly arranged songs and an intimately detailed portrait of his mother, a charismatic woman trapped by her circumstances, Cale embodies this vivid musical story of transcendence, of connecting to life when adversity is suddenly everywhere. With his “singular fusion of theater and performance art” (Chicago Tribune ), Cale makes “reality and fantasy dissolve into stories as memorable as one’s most vivid dreams” (The New York Times).
New Stages Festival
Six New Plays (Three Developmental Productions + Three Staged Readings) FREE
September 19 – October 7, 2018 i n the Owen Theatre
The 15th annual New Stages festival of new plays includes three developmental productions in repertory and three staged readings. Five productions in the 2018/2019 Season emerged from New Stages, including We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time, How to Catch Creation, Lady in Denmark Twilight Bowl and Lottery Day. Founded in 2004, the New Stages festival is a celebration of innovative new plays designed to give playwrights an opportunity to take risks and experiment. New Stages offers Chicago theatergoers a first look at dozens of plays, many of which have gone on to become successful full productions—including Noah Haidle’s Smokefall and Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined.
Lady in Denmark
By Dael Orlandersmith
Directed by Chay Yew
October 19 – November 18, 2018 in the Owen Theatre
A World Premiere
Every memory has a soundtrack of its own. “I’m gonna love you like nobody’s loved you/come rain or come shine.” After the death of her husband, a Danish American woman living in Chicago finds solace in the hauntingly beautiful music of the couple’s favorite singer, Billie Holiday. A soulful, music-infused tribute to the legendary torch singer’s power to heal and inspire, Lady in Denmark is a passionate meditation on life, marriage and mortality from Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith—“one of the country’s top talents” (Time Out Chicago).
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Tom Creamer
Directed by Henry Wishcamper
November 17 – December 30, 2018 in the Albert Theatre
41st Annual Production
Acclaimed Chicago actor Larry Yando returns for his 11th season at Goodman Theatre as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, directed for the sixth year by Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper. More than 1.5 million theatergoers have attended “the crown jewel of the holiday season” (Daily Herald) since the Goodman established it as an annual offering in 1978—a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production. Dickens’ holiday classic is the iconic tale of greedy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his disdain for the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future, helping him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship. Former cast members include stage and screen notables Jessie Mueller, Joe Minoso, Del Close, Harry J. Lennix, Felicia P. Fields, Raul Esparza, Sally Murphy and Frank Galati.
The Santaland Diaries
Adapted by Joe Mantello
Directed by Steve Scott
December 2018 in the Owen Theatre
Strapped for cash, a struggling actor takes a job as “Crumpet,” a Christmas elf at Macy’s. Enduring a daily gauntlet of screaming children, rude parents and suspect Santas, it’s going to take more than a glass of eggnog to get him through the holiday season. Adapted from the beloved essay by best-selling author David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day), The Santaland Diaries is “a theatrical stocking stuffer” (Chicago Reader) brimming “with Sedaris’ deft combination of wicked humor and scalpel-sharp observation” (Chicago magazine).
How to Catch Creation
By Christina Anderson
Directed by Niegel Smith
January 19 – February 24, 2019 in the Albert Theatre
A World Premiere
The only way to find your voice is to use it. Four artists and intellectuals in San Francisco struggle to nurture creative impulse and establish legacy—in both their professional and personal lives. When one discovers the works of a black queer feminist writer from a bygone era, their lives begin to intersect in unexpected ways. In this bold, imaginative work, Christina Anderson, “a gifted playwright you want to pay attention to” (Variety ), dissects the universal act of creation—creation of life, of family, of art—to inspire the dreamers and idealists in us all.
By Rebecca Gilman
Directed by Erica Weiss
May 5 – June 10, 2018 in the Albert Theatre
A World Premiere
Four young women. One small town. Different lanes. After graduating from a small Wisconsin high school, Sam heads to college on scholarship—but her cousin Jaycee’s future isn’t looking as bright. As the young women and their friends face adulthood, their local bowling alley becomes a place to celebrate triumphs, confront challenges and perhaps even forge new identities. With her signature grace, wit and compassion, Rebecca Gilman (Luna Gale, Boy Gets Girl) questions the blueprint for a successful life, and embraces the unknown on the road ahead.
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Ron OJ Parson
March 9 – April 14, 2019 in the Albert Theatre
A Chicago Premiere
Explosive drama: still made in America. Direct from Broadway comes a Pulitzer Prize-winning collision of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. A group of friends in a Rust Belt town has spent their lives sharing secrets and laughs on the factory floor. But when layoffs begin to chip away at their trust, they’re pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight. “Writing at the peak of her powers,” Lynn Nottage (Ruined) has crafted “a superb, vital contribution to contemporary drama that could not be more timely” (The New York Times).
By Ike Holter
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
May 25 – June 24, 2018 in the Owen Theatre
A World Premiere
Not everyone will go home a winner. “Great, young, thrilling Chicago writer” (Chicago Tribune), Ike Holter (Exit Strategy, Sender ) assembles the vibrant characters from his acclaimed works for a raucous theatrical bash. Long the matriarch of a quickly gentrifying neighborhood, Mallory invites the lonely residents, hardcore activists and starving artists of her block to what she hopes will go down as a legendary barbeque—thanks to a special surprise. Her mysterious plan to revitalize her community, however, may just be the very thing that tears it apart.
The Winter’s Tale
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Robert Falls
May 4 – June 9, 2019 in the Albert Theatre
Jealousy can drive you wild. Following his celebrated productions of King Lear and Measure for Measure, Robert Falls reimagines one of Shakespeare’s most wildly theatrical tales. A paranoid king accuses his queen of infidelity, setting off a calamitous series of events spanning 16 years. But what begins as tragedy unexpectedly evolves into romantic comedy, filled with song and dance, magic and metamorphosis—and an appearance from Shakespeare’s most iconic furry beast. “No modern American director is better than Robert Falls at making a play’s iconic moments pop with fresh irreverence” (Chicago Tribune).
The Music Man
Book, Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Based on a Story by Willson and Franklin Lacey
Directed by Mary Zimmerman
June 29 – August 4, 2019 in the Albert Theatre
Seventy-six trombones. One joyous musical masterpiece. He’s charismatic and charming—no wonder con man Harold Hill assumes he can easily fleece the stubborn citizens of River City, Iowa with the grand promise of a marching band. But the smooth-talking swindler can’t tell a trombone from a treble clef—and Marian, the local librarian, knows it. In his attempt to steal her heart (and save his hide), Harold learns a thing or two about moral responsibility—and unexpectedly enriches the town with a love of music. Mary Zimmerman (The Jungle Book, Wonderful Town) brings her magic touch to “one of the sunniest musicals ever” (The New York Times), including memorable favorites “Goodnight My Someone,” “76 Trombones,” “Gary, Indiana” and “Till There Was You.”
About Goodman Theatre
AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors. Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000. Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.