Goodman Theatre’s top-notch recruitments

In the world of professional sports (and college sports for that matter), recruitment is everything.  Entire sportscasts are dedicated to the subject of  which team has recruited which top sports talent.  Additionally, successful recruitment is often accredited to successful seasons.

Though the arts are often caricatured as the antithesis of sports, ironically, recruitment of artistic talent can be just as important to successful theatre seasons as they are in sports..

For their upcoming season, the Goodman Theatre has snatched up (i.e. recruited) a number of creative stars:

  • Anna Shapiro – fresh from her Tony Award for August: Osage County, will direct the world premiere of Regina Taylor’s new play, Magnolia, a contemporary take on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. (production dates: March 14-April 19, 2009)
  • Jeff Daniels, known for his roles in Terms of Endearment” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, has been signed on to star in the world premiere musical-fantasy Turn of the Century, by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.  (Production dates: September 19-October 26, 2008 )
  • Broadway legend Tommy Tune (9-time Tony Award winner) has been recruited to direct Turn of the Century.  Broadway veteran Rachel York has been cast as the play’s female lead.

I have great confidence that Goodman’s top-notch recruiting will secure a very successful season, both artistically and financially.

h/t Hedy Weiss

Steppenwolf’s "AOC" – National Tour planned

A scene from Broadway's 'August Osage County The producers of the Purlitzer Prize winning, 7-time Tony-nominated August: Osage County, written by Chicago playwright Tracy Letts (and directed by Steppenwolf’s Anne D. Shapiro), have just announced that they will be mounting a national tour of the play in 2009,

The tour’s first stop will be San Francisco’s Curran Theatre, August 11th-September 6th, 2009.  Subsequent 2009 engagements have yet to be announced.

Although August premiered here in Chicago, and enjoyed a sold-out extended run at Steppenwolf Theatre, I’m hoping that the tour will make a pit stop back in the Windy City.  I would definitely love to see it again!

August: Osage County can currently be seen on Broadway at The Music Box Theatre on 45th Street.  More info is available here.

Steppenwolf announces 2008/09 Season

Steppenwolf Theatre has just announced its upcoming season; the common theme being the exploration of imagination:

Kafka on the Shore
September 18 – November 16, 2008
Adapted for the stage and directed by ensemble member Frank Galati
Based on the work by Haruki Murakami

A young boy’s coming of age parallels an old man’s search for destiny in a modern day Japan where the borders between everyday reality, dreams and imagination are constantly crossed. In this world premiere adaptation of the popular novel, encounter talking cats on the streets of Tokyo, World War II soldiers trapped in time, Colonel Sanders and Johnnie Walker. Experience the unexpected in this fantastical tale about waking up to your own life.


The Seafarer
December 4, 2008 – February 8, 2009
By Conor McPherson
Featuring ensemble member John Mahoney

It’s Christmas Eve in Dublin. In the rundown house where Sharky cares for his blind brother, old acquaintances gather for a card game-joined by an ominous stranger. As the booze flows and the game intensifies, Sharky discovers he is playing for his soul. In this eerie, darkly humorous tale, celebrated playwright Conor McPherson (who also wrote “Shining City”) examines how we face the demons of our past as we struggle to find redemption.


Art
February 5 – June 7, 2009
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton

Art explores the intricacies of a long-term friendship between three men. When one of them drops a fortune on a piece of modern art, his friends’ surprising reactions touch off a series of personal confrontations. This witty, intelligent and often funny play explores the power of art to engage the imagination and the enduring bonds of friendship.

FYI: French playwright Yasmina Reza won the 1997 Olivier Award and the 1998 Tony Award for Art, which has been produced worldwide and translated into over 30 languages. British playwright Christopher Hampton won an Academy Award for the screen adaptation of his play Dangerous Liaisons and was nominated for his adaptation of Atonement.


The Tempest
March 26 – May 24, 2009
By William Shakespeare
Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau
Featuring ensemble member Frank Galati

In Shakespeare’s final work, Prospero is exiled to an enchanted island where he harnesses the powers of magic and masters the spirits that dwell there. His desire for revenge drives him to conjure a mighty storm trapping his enemies on the island. In our first Shakespeare production, Steppenwolf ensemble member Tina Landau re-imagines this magical tale of art, freedom and the transformative power of forgiveness.

Up
June 18 – August 23, 2009
By Bridget Carpenter
Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro

On the best day of his life, Walter built a flying machine that reached the clouds. Ever since, he’s tried to invent new ways to fly while his wife keeps the family afloat. Up is a quirky, bittersweet tale about escaping the boundaries of the everyday and how we dream ourselves into a future.

Steppenwolf’s “The Crucible” – Rave reviews!!

Steppenwolf’s first production of the season, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, opened last night, and the rave reviews are in:

Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune

Anna D. Shapiro’s arresting, impassioned, full-throttle Steppenwolf Theatre Company revival of The Crucible is not so much a revisionist take on Arthur Miller’s familiar 1953 allegory as an expansion and intensification of an iconic drama dulled over time by its constant classroom presence. Forget the schoolroom stupor. You’ll be snapped immediately awake by these highly theatrical manifestations of hysteria.    (Read entire review)

And Hedy Weiss over at the Sun-Times, pitches in her words of praise:

…in the hands of director Anna D. Shapiro (already Broadway-bound with Steppenwolf’s new hit, “August: Osage County”) and her fiery cast of 20, “The Crucible” takes on a whole new clarity, depth and contemporaneity, and becomes compulsively watchable. Not only has Shapiro illuminated the complex weave of causes behind the witchcraft hysteria, she and her actors have found a way to punch through the distancing formality of the Puritan locutions so that the emotional content dominates, and the play radiates an intensely modern energy. This energy is further enhanced by the presence of two superb black actors in crucial roles historically played by white actors.     (read entire review)