Goodman Theatre announces casting for the Seagull, directed by Robert Falls

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Chicago, IL - Goodman Theatre announces the 12-member cast for Robert Fall’s intimate new production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull (rehearsals begin August 24, tickets go on sale August 13*). This 19th century masterpiece is brought to life by a company including Francis Guinan (August: Osage County; The Grapes of Wrath) in his Goodman debut as the retired judge Peter Sorin and Mary Beth Fisher (Rock ’N’ Roll; The Year of Magical Thinking) as his sister, Irina Arkadina, a beautiful, selfish actress. Also joining the cast are Janet Ulrich Brooks (Polina); Rebecca Buller (Maid); Cliff Chamberlain (Boris Trigorin, Irina’s young lover), Dietrich Gray (Yakov); Stephen Louis Grush (Konstantin Trepliov, Irina’s twenty-five year old playwright son); Scott Jaeck (Dr. Eugene Dorn); Kelly O’Sullivan (Masha); Steve Pickering (Ilia Shamrayev, Sorin’s estate manager); Demetrios Troy (Simon Medvendenko); and Heather Wood (Nina Zarietchnaya). The Seagull runs October 16 – November 14, 2010 in the Owen Theatre; tickets are $10 – $45. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is the Contributing Sponsor of The Seagull.

Artistic Director Robert Falls returns to the work of Anton Chekhov following previous productions of Three Sisters at the Goodman (1995, with a cast including Calista Flockhart, Susan Bruce and Jenny Bacon) and Orchards: Seven American Playwrights Present Stories by Chekhov (1986, adaptations by Maria Irene Fornes, Spalding Gray, John Guare, David Mamet, Wendy Wasserstein, Michael Weller and Samm-Art Williams—The Acting Company/New York, tour with off-Broadway opening).

“The Seagull was the first Chekhov play I ever read, and it’s a play I’ve grown up with,” said Falls, whose recent travels to Russia helped gain insight into his process for approaching this production. “At 17 or 18, I identified completely with Konstantin, the tragic artist of the play; in my 30s, I more fully understood Trigorin; now in my 50s, it’s Dr. Dorn and Sorin. I’m thrilled to direct this masterwork about art and how one approaches art.”

When famed actress Irina Arkadina and her young lover, Trigorin, visit her family’s estate, they become ensnared in a tragicomic tangle of romance, intrigue and unrequited love. As Arkadina’s son, Konstantin, struggles with the complexities of love and life, he masks his angst by creating manuscripts performed by Nina—with whom he is in love, but does not share his feeling. Through passion and art, The Seagull uncovers the raw emotion and obscurity of a family struggling to find themselves.  

*Individual tickets for The Seagull and Candide go on sale August 13, but Subscriptions to the 2010/2011 season are on sale now. Subscribers save up to 45% over single ticket prices: 312.443.3800 or Five-play Albert Theatre subscriptions start at $100 and 3-play Owen Theatre subscriptions start at $57. A Platinum Subscription of all eight plays starts at $157.

Playwright Anton Chekhov (January 29, 1860–July 15, 1904) practiced medicine throughout his adult life, but his work as a short story writer and dramatist proved more lucrative and enduring. Born in Taganrog, Russia, in 1860, Chekhov began his literary career as a freelance journalist, publishing humorous sketches of contemporary life. In 1887 he won the prestigious Pushkin Prize for At Dusk, a collection of short stories. Success as a playwright eluded him, however, and the 1897 premiere of The Seagull flopped. It was remounted in 1898 at the innovative Moscow Art Theatre, where director Konstantin Stanislavsky’s attention to the psychological realism of Chekhov’s text made the play a critical and popular success. Over the next few years, the Moscow Art Theatre produced Chekhov’s other major plays, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

Starting in September, Goodman Theatre celebrates a decade of achievement as an anchor of Chicago’s Theatre District. Two million tickets sold + 21,500 students served through Education and Community Engagement + 3,000 artists and theater professionals employed + 90 awards + nearly 30 world-premiere productions (including 25 new-work commissions) + 10 Festivals + one Pulitzer Prize = Goodman Theatre, “the leading repertory theater in the nation’s most important theater city” (Time). These achievements and more define the past 10 years (of its 85 years as Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit producing theater) of the Goodman in its new home at 170 N. Dearborn in Chicago’s Theatre District—established by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls, “Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s state-of-the-art, two-theater complex has led to record growth in all areas of the theater—generating more than $60 million in ticket revenue from hundreds of productions and programs, an 80% increase in operating budget since 2000, and the ability to serve 30% more students in Education and Community Engagement.

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