Articles tagged with: Goodman Theatre
‘Pamplona’ at Goodman: Gray lion Hemingway contemplates life, mischance and le mot juste
Review: Ernest Hemingway was, in flesh and blood, a man’s man, the willful and danger-defiant sort we associate with the fantastical, celluloid John Wayne. He also shared a trait in common with many another towering artist: For all his exterior magnificence, he was troubled, depressive, vulnerable. It’s the compleat Hemingway, fierce and brilliant, tormented and alcoholic, that playwright Jim McGrath attempts to sketch and actor Stacy Keach embodies in “Pamplona,” now on display at Goodman Theatre. ★★
‘Support Group for Men’ at Goodman: 4 guys, make it 5, couple of cops and a ‘talking stick’
Review: The first flourish of Ellen Fairey’s play “Support Group for Men,” now on display at Goodman Theatre, works twofold narrative magic: It creates a deceptively rich context, and it’s just plain deceptive. We think we’re in for a night with the boys as sitcom when the truth is we’re in for a theatrical ride as clever as it is gentle and poignant and authentic. ★★★★
‘Father Comes Home From Wars’ at Goodman: Adapting Homer (et al.) to epic of moral siege
Review: Hero is strong young slave in the 1860s South who finds himself agonizing over an option: Accept his owner’s proposition to accompany him into the war against the Yankees, in exchange for his subsequent freedom, or remain behind as a slave for the rest of his life. That’s the setup of Suzan-Lori Parks’ epic and very human play “Father Comes Home From the Wars,” now on smart, provocative and impassioned display at Goodman Theatre under the direction of Niegel Smith. ★★★★
‘An Enemy of the People’ at the Goodman: Idealism confronts the (deplorable) populace
Review: When Henrik Ibsen completed his play “An Enemy of the People” in 1882, he couldn’t decide whether to declare his moralizing screed a drama or a comedy. Indeed, in the mirror it holds up to human self-interest and moral hypocrisy, “An Enemy of the People” displays a deep strain of dark absurdist comedy. That is pointedly the case in a new adaptation by Robert Falls for Goodman Theatre that hews close to Ibsen’s cynical work. ★★★★
Wrapped in tradition or rapped in new beats, ‘Christmas Carol’ sparkles at Goodman, CST
Review: While Larry Yando’s indelible Ebeneezer Scrooge is once again delighting children and tapping into adult truths in Goodman Theatre’s indispensable staging of “A Christmas Carol” (★★★★), the Q Brothers are back at Chicago Shakespeare rapping Dickens’ parable on greed and misanthropy to a reggae beat (★★★). The Spirit of Christmas Present walks among us anew.
Theater as crucible: Two Arthur Miller classics bridge high peaks of Goodman, Steppenwolf
Review: If you have not yet seen both “A View from the Bridge” at Goodman Theatre and “The Crucible” at Steppenwolf Theatre – well, it’s Miller time. These are mesmerizing productions of two of Arthur Miller’s finest plays, and impressive reminders of why Goodman and Steppenwolf hold such eminent places on Chicago’s – indeed, the nation’s – theater scene. Each of these parallel runs has only a handful of performances remaining. Together, they make for a stunning one-two theatrical punch. Both ★★★★★
‘Ah, Wilderness!’ at Goodman: Young lovers, plotting a path through life’s tangled comedy
Review: Fairly late in his career, Eugene O’Neill, that great purveyor of tragedy, penned a romantic comedy worthy of his darker plays. “Ah, Wilderness!” is that now-classic lark, and it once again bursts onto the stage at Goodman Theatre in a funny and affecting production that is arguably the crown jewel of Chicago’s theater season. ★★★★★
‘Objects in the Mirror’ at Goodman: Escaping calamity in Africa, surviving the folly of youth
Review: Playwright Charles Smith’s “Objects in the Mirror” is a gritty, honest and provocatively open-ended story about coming of age. Mesmerizing, if no less exasperating, it is served with resonant conviction in a world premiere production at Goodman Theatre. ★★★★
‘Uncle Vanya’ at Goodman: Seeking purpose, or a numbing refill when the glass is drained
Review: Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” an existential snapshot of lost souls at a signless crossroads, exemplifies theater as an ensemble endeavor. In Annie Baker’s modernized, razor-sharp adaptation of the play, complemented by a directorial tour de force from Robert Falls, Goodman Theatre brings the spirit of dramatic teamwork to vibrant life. ★★★★★
‘Christmas Carol’ rings out again at Goodman: Scrooge & Co. affirm spirit at heart of the deal
Review: For his ninth season, Larry Yando plays the gnarled old man whose very name is now a synonym for miser, his “Bah! Humbug!” an all-purpose slapdown that distills the essence of a curmudgeonly world view. Until Scrooge discovers joy, that is. Yando’s wonderfully long face is as capable as ever of rubbery contortions worthy of a cartoonist’s pen. Goodman’s “A Christmas Carol” is a tradition happily renewed. ★★★★
At the Goodman Theatre, Leonard Bernstein’s musical ‘Wonderful Town’ starts busy season
2016-17 SEASON PREVIEW: The following is adapted from a news release submitted by an arts organization to Chicago On the Aisle.
Lauren Molina and Bri Sudia star as two sisters leaving Ohio in 1935 to conquer New York City in Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town.” Here’s the Goodman Theatre’s complete line-up…
‘The Matchmaker’ at Goodman: A (very) funny thing happens when sly widow decides to wed
Review: It’s Dolly’s world, the charming milieu and crazy circumstances of Thornton Wilder’s perdurable farce “The Matchmaker.” All the other characters on stage just live in it. So say hello to a delightful Dolly whose world is well worth a visit in the Goodman Theatre production starring — with a capital S — Kristine Nielsen. ★★★★
‘2666’ at Goodman: Epic saga of lust, murder and other scholarly pursuits in old Mexico
Review: After five and a half hours spent watching the dramatic evolution of “2666,” the adaptation by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley of Roberto Bolaño’s sprawling novel at the Goodman Theatre, I could think only of that sublimely ironic lyric made famous by Peggy Lee: Is that all there is?This ambitious enterprise affords a goodly share of rewards along its meandering narrative as a sort of whodunit for intellectuals. But in the end, in its totality, “2666” as theater is a shaggy-dog story of St. Bernard proportions. ★★★
Theaters serve up holiday stew of 3 Scrooges filled with laughs, lessons, gravy and graves
Review: Chicago’s holiday offerings include Three Scrooges — not a show, but a trio of shows all based on “A Christmas Carol.” And yes, there’s some slapstick in it, even ribaldry, depending on which flavor of Dickens you choose.
At Goodman’s New Stages Festival, playwrights count on sharpening assist from the audience
Feature: Three formative plays on the boards in Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Festival offer an intriguing glimpse into the process of turning a work of promise into a well-honed piece of stagecraft ready for prime time. Now in its 12th year, the 2015 edition of New Stages concludes Nov. 13-15 with final performances of those plays and a cluster of readings.
Theater 2015-16: ‘Disgraced,’ 4 world premieres accent a many-splendored season at Goodman
11th in a series of season previews
‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’: Lighting up Chekhov with laughter at Goodman
Review: I hate going here, I really do, because it’s going to sound like home cooking, but the hysterical truth is – and everything about this is hysterical – that the Goodman Theatre romp through Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” roundly eclipses the production I saw last season in New York. Directed by Steve Scott, this show is so smart and tight, so killingly funny, that seeing it just once may not be possible. ★★★★★
Role Playing: A.C. Smith is ready undertaker, lord of diner world in ‘Two Trains Running’
Interview: A.C. Smith, a big-framed actor formidably attired in black as a wealthy undertaker, is ensconced Buddha-like at the corner table of a diner in the Goodman Theatre production of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running.” Simply learning how to sit there, and figuring out what to do with his unnaturally gloved hands, says Smith, was a daunting new wrinkle even for a savvy veteran of Wilson’s plays.
‘Two Trains Running’ at Goodman: As tumult besets their world, diner denizens grasp at life
Review: We need a new word to describe the quality that makes every August Wilson play a red-letter event of any theater season. This single new descriptor would meld the two features that Wilson always mixes with such ineffable ease: charm and poignancy. They are the stuff of “Two Trains Running” at the Goodman Theatre, a beguiling portrait of the human condition as an uphill battle – and the difference a leap of faith can make. ★★★★★
Goodman ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’: Two women pause at crossroads, ponder life, toss a beanbag
Review: ★★★ The wisdom and the charm of Gina Gionfriddo’s play “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” at the Goodman Theatre, resounds in the collision of two fortysomething women, old friends from college, one a mom and the other a scholar in women’s studies, who now look at each other’s lives and question their own choices. Yet in the end, the dramatic sum feels somehow less than this coalescence of clever parts. ★★★
‘Smokefall’ at Goodman: Revisiting a family frayed at seams, blessed with magical hope
Review: Mike Nussbaum, irrepressible at age 90, is like great Bordeaux wine. Need I amplify that? Chicago’s prince of perdurable actors is the single best reason – among many good ones – to catch Goodman Theatre’s almost-instant revival of “Smokefall,” Noah Haidle’s fine-stitched play about family, its profound fractures and its potential for healing. ★★★★★
Dark, funny, musically vibrant ‘Don Giovanni’ raises the curtain on new Lyric Opera season
Review: A more appealing cast could hardly have been assembled for Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” than the vocally resplendent, good-looking singers who inhabit the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production and season opener. And for the most part, Mozart’s opera – dramatically dark and musically brilliant — is well served by director Robert Falls’ heated and funny approach to this tale of the world’s most infamous sex addict, whose recklessness and hubris finally bring him all the way down and then some. ★★★★
Theater 2014-15: World premieres, ‘Smokefall’ reprise crown plans for Goodman’s 90th year
14th in a series of season previews: Goodman Theatre has a bountiful 90th season in store, punctuated by a pair of world premieres, an early remounting of Noah Haidle’s “Smokefall” from last season — with returning featured actor Mike Nussbaum, also 90! — and a revival of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” that will be enhanced by several related events.
‘Venus in Fur’ at Goodman: Ambiguity reigns, maybe ambivalence. Are gods laughing?
Review: Vanda careens into the playwright-director’s audition room as if she’s been tossed there by the storm that’s booming and flashing outside. Hair tousled, mini-skirted and discombobulated, she wrestles with her wet umbrella and a large bag she’s brought, spewing F-words as the amazed author looks on. But Vanda has only begun to amaze this guy, Thomas, in David Ives’ startling play “Venus in Fur.” It’s an incendiary night out at Goodman Theatre. ★★★★
‘Buzzer’ at Goodman: New day in neighborhood, but its bright promise is shadowed for 3 friends
Review: As Tracey Scott Wilson’s urban tragi-comedy “Buzzer” spins through a series of introductory monologues, its mordant wit and coalescing picture of a ménage à trois suggests an updated bundling of the two young men and a woman in Noel Coward’s “Design for Living.” Though the laughs keep coming in “Buzzer,” the comedy soon hones the edges of a bitter tale — of love and hope infected by torment and fear. Goodman Theatre serves it up as potent brew. ★★★★
Role Playing: Mary Beth Fisher embraces both hope, despair of social worker in ‘Luna Gale’
Interview: Mary Beth Fisher, who portrays the empathic, long-experienced and raggedly weathered social worker Caroline in Rebecca Gilman’s new play “Luna Gale” at Goodman Theatre, says every performance has been an interactive encounter with the audience.
Chicago Theatre Week: Curtain rises on Act 2 with now-eager audience on edge of its seats
Preview: When the League of Chicago Theatres decided to stage its first Chicago Theatre Week last year, offering discounted tickets to some 100 productions and other perks in a sort of regional stimulus package, no one knew how it would go – whether the public would bite. What happened was more like a gobble: All 6,000 tickets in the discount pool were snapped up. Now Chicago Theatre Week is back, with the 2014 version of dramas for $15 and $30, and this time the presenters exude optimism.
‘Luna Gale’ at Goodman: Groping for answers when parents are children and milk is meth
Review: Caroline is a social worker whose job it is to rescue neglected and abused children and find decent homes for them. She goes about her task seriously – one of her former charges gently rebukes her for being “always on topic.” In Rebecca Gilman’s radiant and disturbing new play “Luna Gale,” now in an electric world premiere run at Goodman Theatre, Caroline comes to her melancholy topic with a full heart as well as her own imperfect history. ★★★★★
Goodman’s ‘Christmas Carol’ brings Yuletide treasure in magical form of Yando’s Scrooge
Review: The sixth time is a charm for Larry Yando as that grasping, covetous old sinner Ebenezer Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Or I should say, a charm again — just like Yando’s previous five outings in the part. His irascible but salvageable and very funny misanthrope remains a Scrooge for the young in heart and imagination. ★★★★
‘Smokefall’ at Goodman: Behind worldly veil, tears and contentment fuse into force of life
Review: Life sucks, and then you die. If that dark existential view sometimes can seem like the only certainty, taxes being at least negotiable, it is repudiated – with gentleness and magical wit — in Noah Haidle’s new play “Smokefall,” presented in its “co-world premiere” at Goodman Theatre. ★★★★★