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New season opens with David Cromer’s Goodman Directorial Debut, includes Jon Robin Baitz’s Broadway hit, Lynn Nottage’s latest work, The 35th Anniversary Production of a Christmas Carol and culminates with Mary Zimmerman’s World-Premiere Musical Adaptation of Disney’s The Jungle Book

 

Chicago, IL – Artistic Director Robert Falls announced Goodman Theatre’s 2012/2013 subscription season today, featuring four world- and two Chicago-premiere productions. The new season begins in September with Chicago native David Cromer’s revival of Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams. Next up in the Albert Theatre are two consecutive Chicago premieres: Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities directed by Henry Wishcamper, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Pulitzer Prizewinner Lynn Nottage, directed by Chuck Smith. The season culminates with the world-premiere production of The Jungle Book, a new musical based on the Disney animated film and the stories by Rudyard Kipling, adapted and directed by Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman. Three Goodman-commissioned plays take the stage in the Owen Theatre: Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Chay Yew; Christopher Shinn’s Teddy Ferrara, directed by Evan Cabnet; and The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The 2012/2013 Season also includes the 35th annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, directed by Steve Scott. NOTE: one play in the Albert Theatre (in spring 2013) is to be announced. Call now to subscribe to the Goodman’s 2012/2013 Season: 312.443.3800; online subscription sales (GoodmanTheatre.org) start March 6. Individual tickets go on sale beginning in August.

“I am proud to announce this season of extraordinary cultural and aesthetic diversity, ranging from a solo tour de force performance to a large-scale world-premiere musical work. And I am particularly thrilled that three Goodman-commissioned works are on tap,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls.

“Sweet Bird of Youth, one of Tennessee Williams’ most poetic, funny and tragic works, finds a perfect match in David Cromer—whose recent unforgettable rendering of A Streetcar Named Desire at Writers’ Theatre demonstrated his remarkable affinity for Williams. I worked with David as an actor in my 2002 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and now am excited to feature his work as a director here for the first time.

“While I was directing his Three Hotels at Williamstown Theatre Festival this past summer, playwright Jon Robin Baitz and I began discussions about producing his searing Other Desert Cities at the Goodman. This scintillating play about a family pushed to the brink is the perfect fit with our season. To direct, we warmly welcome back Henry Wishcamper for the Chicago premiere of Jon’s terrific drama, dubbed ‘the best new play on Broadway’ (The New York Times).

“I am delighted to welcome back Lynn Nottage to the Goodman for the first time since her Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined. In her sly new satire, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Lynn pulls back the curtain on old Hollywood. Chuck Smith, whose grace and dexterity with Lynn’s work was clear in his 2006 hit production of Crumbs from the Table of Joy, directs.

“The Albert Theatre season culminates with a world-premiere musical adaptation of The Jungle Book from the incomparable Mary Zimmerman. Drawing from Rudyard Kipling’s riotously entertaining and highly sophisticated fables and the beloved 1967 Disney animated film, Mary uses her signature style of collaboration with her company of actors and creative team to create a piece that is certain to enchant audiences of all ages.

“Three remarkable new plays take the stage in the Owen Theatre this season,” continued Falls. “Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, the latest work from the fiercely talented Dael Orlandersmith, starts in September. Next, Pulitzer Prize-finalist Christopher Shinn brings his gripping new drama Teddy Ferrara; finally, The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Hudes—a Tony Award nominee for penning the book for the musical In the Heights—concludes the season in the Owen.”

About the Plays and Artists in Goodman Theatre’s 2012/2013 Season All titles, artists and dates are subject to change. In the Albert Theatre – one play still to be announced.

Sweet Bird of Youth

By Tennessee Williams

Directed by David Cromer

September 15 – October 21, 2012

Into the tiny resort hamlet of St. Cloud, Mississippi, drifts an improbable couple: the Princess Kosmonopolis (née Alexandra Del Lago), a Hollywood legend fleeing the disastrous premiere of her latest epic, and Chance Wayne, a young actor-turnedgigolo who has brought his new benefactress to his hometown in hopes of reclaiming his former glory—and an ex-girlfriend whose powerful father forced him to leave town years earlier. But when a youthful mistake surfaces that threatens Chance’s plans, he and Alexandra must confront their crumbling dreams. Laced with humor and Williams’ “characteristically gorgeous lyricism” (The New York Times), Sweet Bird of Youth is a sensual, haunting theatrical journey.

Other Desert Cities

By Jon Robin Baitz

Directed by Henry Wishcamper

A Chicago Premiere | January 12 – February 17, 2013

When Brooke Wyeth arrives at her parents’ Palm Springs mansion on Christmas Eve with the manuscript to her tell-all memoir in tow, she unearths a devastating family secret and throws her parents into a panic that threatens to rip the clan apart. With biting wit and razor-sharp insight, Other Desert Cities “has the appeal of a Broadway hit from another age” (The New York Times).

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

By Lynn Nottage

Directed by Chuck Smith

A Chicago Premiere | April 27 – June 2, 2013

This “sharp-toothed comedy” (The Wall Street Journal) offers a glimpse into the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong African American actress who begins a career in the 1930s when her only shot at success lies in stealing small scenes in big Hollywood blockbusters. Seventy years later, film buffs are left to reflect on the life and legacy of this controversial star, whose eventual fame and fortune came at the price of perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. Hilarious and poignant, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark paints a vivid picture of the cultural climate that shaped this mysterious screen queen—and wonders whom, in another time, she might have been.

The Jungle Book

A New Musical Based on the Disney Animated Film and Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Adapted and Directed by Mary Zimmerman

A World Premiere | June 21 – July 28, 2013

The jungle springs to life in a kaleidoscopic song-and-dance-filled musical that chronicles young Mowgli’s adventures growing up in the animal kingdom. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s time-honored children’s tales and the classic Disney film, this world premiere promises to be an event not to be missed. “We entrust this beloved title to Mary Zimmerman, a great American theater artist, and Goodman Theatre, one of the country’s cultural treasures, knowing that it’s found the best possible home,” said Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President, Disney Theatrical Productions. “We cannot wait to see what The Jungle Book becomes in their extraordinary hands.”

JPMorgan Chase is a Premier Sponsor of The Jungle Book, and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor.

IN THE OWEN THEATRE

Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men

Written and Performed by Dael Orlandersmith

Directed by Chay Yew

A World-Premiere Co-Production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre

September 29 – October 28, 2012

In an arresting one-woman show, Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith transforms into five unforgettable male characters whose outward dissimilarities belie their inescapable link: a traumatic past plagued by a cycle of violence and abuse. From Coney Island to Manchester, England, and back, Orlandersmith brings to life a series of harrowing stories that weave together each characters’ friends, family, lovers and counselors into an explosive narrative that uncovers the darkest corners of humanity—and shatters notions about predators and their victims.

Teddy Ferrara

By Christopher Shinn

Directed by Evan Cabnet

A World Premiere | February 2 – March 3, 2013

It’s Gabe’s senior year of college and his future looks bright: he runs the Queer Students Group, he finally has a single room and he recently started dating a great guy. But when a university tragedy occurs that makes national headlines it ignites a campus firestorm and throws Gabe’s world into disorder. When new evidence surfaces, Gabe discovers that the events surrounding the tragedy aren’t as straight-forward as they seem, and he is forced to question popular assumptions—and his own life’s contradictions.

The Happiest Song Plays Last

By Quiara Alegría Hudes

A World Premiere | April 13 – May 12, 2013

At the dawn of the Arab Spring in an ancient Jordanian town, an Iraqi War veteran struggles to overcome the traumas of combat by taking on an entirely new and unexpected career: an action film hero. At the same time, half way around the world in a cozy North Philadelphia kitchen, his cousin is taking on a heroic new role of her own as the heart and soul of her crumbling community, providing hot meals and a place to sleep for the needy. Set to the joyful sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music, this poignant new play from Tony Award nominee Quiara Alegría Hudes (In the Heights) chronicles a year in the life of these two kindred souls as they search for love, meaning and a sense of hope in a quickly changing world. Hudes is the proud recipient of a 2009 Joyce Award for Theater to develop a new play drawing on the cultural heritage of traditional Jíbaro music. The Joyce Awards support the dreams of diverse artists and communities to work together to create new work and engage new audiences. The Happiest Song Plays Last was developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2011 National Playwrights Conference.

Goodman Theatre, “the leading regional theater in the nation’s most important theater city” (Time), is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago, generating nearly $300 million in economic impact over the past decade in its state-of-the-art two-theater complex on North Dearborn Street. Founded in 1925 and currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls, “Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit resident theater has welcomed nearly two million patrons to productions and events—including 10 festivals celebrating playwrights such as David Mamet, August Wilson and Horton Foote, as well as the biennial Latino Theatre Festival—and served legions of students through its Education and Community Engagement programs (including the FREE Student Subscription Series and other interactive programs). The Goodman has earned more than 90 awards for hundreds of productions, including the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined by Lynn Nottage—one of 25 new work Goodman commissions in the last decade. Ruth Ann M. Gillis is the Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees and Joan Clifford is President of the Women’s Board. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre. BMO Harris Bank is the Major Production Sponsor of A Christmas Carol, and Aon Corporation is the Corporate Sponsor Partner. Visit the Goodman virtually: watch artist interviews, view production photos, catch the latest news and more at GoodmanTheatre.org. Like us on Facebook.com/GoodmanTheatre; follow us at Twitter.com/GoodmanTheatre; and peek behind the scenes at YouTube.com/TheGoodmanTheatre.

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