Casting Set for Goodman Theatre's ALL-NEW FALL

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Casting Set for Goodman Theatre's ALL-NEW FALL

Goodman Theatre introduces its "all-new fall," celebrating nine decades with new inspiration: three months of new American plays, each developed in the Goodman's new play programs. Casting is complete for the two cornerstone mainstage productions of the 2014/2015 Season: The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig directed by Eric Ting, a world premiere co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club that appears September 13 - October 12 (opening night is September 22) in the Owen Theatre; and Noah Haidle's Smokefall directed by Anne Kauffman, which premiered to significant critical and popular acclaim last season, now remounted in the Albert Theatre, September 20 - October 26 (opening night is September 29). In addition, three FREE workshop productions and three staged readings appear as part of the 8thannual New Stages Series in the Owen, October 29 - November 16, with a weekend for industry professionals taking place November 14-16 (titles and artists TBA).

"It's thrilling to begin our milestone 90th season with new plays in an unprecedented three-month fall festival celebration, September through November 2014," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "The Goodman has long been committed to the development and production of new American plays; our founding philosophy in 1925 was to present an 'array of dramatic fare, from classics to noteworthy contemporary works, innovative and oft controversial, embracing genres from farces to searing social dramas.' We welcome these new works and artists who usher in the next exhilarating chapter of our history."

Subscriptions, starting at $90, are now on sale and individual tickets ($10 - $40 for The World of Extreme Happiness and $25 - $81 for Smokefall) and reservations for the FREE New Stages Festival begin August 1; call 312.443.3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org. The Goodman is grateful for the generous support of its sponsors for the fall productions and events. The Abbott Fund is the Sponsor Partner, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation is the Foundation Partner, and Mayer Brown is the Corporate Sponsor Partner for Smokefall. The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and the Pritzker-Pucker Foundation are Major Supporters of New Work Development. Support for theNew Stages festival is provided by The Davee Foundation (Major Support for the expansion) and Kirkland & Ellis (Festival Sponsor).

About the Plays and Casts

Cowhig's The World of Extreme Happiness directed by Eric Ting, is a world-premiere co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club (dates below). Both the Chicago and New York runs of the play feature Jennifer Lim (Chinglish at the Goodman and on Broadway) as Sunny, a young woman who leaves her family behind for the promise of a new life under the bright neon lights of Shenzhen; Ruy Iskandar (Pete/Ran Feng/DJ Happy); Francis Jue (Old Lao/Gao Chen/Mr. Destiny); Jodi Long (Artemis/Wang Ha)Jo Mei (Ming-Ming/Qing Shu/Xiao Li); and Andrew Pang (James Lin/Li Han). Unwanted from the moment she's born, Sunny is determined to escape her life in rural China and forge a new identity in the city. As naïve as she is ambitious, Sunny views her new job in a grueling factory as a stepping stone to untold opportunities. When fate casts her as a company spokeswoman at a sham PR event, her bright outlook starts to unravel in a series of harrowing and darkly comic events, as she begins to question a system enriching itself by destroying its own people. Previously presented in workshop productions-first at the Goodman in New Stages (Fall 2012) and the following year at the National Theatre in London, where it was critically hailed as "hard-hitting and bruisingly funny" (Time Out London)-The World of Extreme Happiness is a provocative examination of individuals struggling to shape their destinies amid China's economic transformation. The design team includes Mimi Lien (set), Mihail Fiksel (sound),Jenny Mannis (costumes) and Tyler Micoleau (lighting). Kim Osgood is the production stage manager. Following the Goodman run, The World of Extreme Happiness begins previews at Manhattan Theatre Club on February 3, 2015 for aFebruary 24 opening night at New York City Center - Stage I.

Haidle's Smokefall marks the second time in the Goodman's 90-year history in which a production of a new play moves from the smaller theater onto its larger stage, in order that a larger audience can experience the work (the first instance was Scott McPherson'sMarvin's Room, which debuted in the Goodman studio in 1990 and moved to the mainstage in 1993, following a successful Broadway engagement). Smokefall was named the number one play on the Chicago Tribune's "Best Theatre of 2013" list and critically hailed as a "rare treat...a transcendently lovely new play" (Chicago Sun-Times) in its world-premiere co-production with South Coast Repertory last fall in the Owen Theatre. Director Anne Kauffman reassembles the original cast for the remounted production in the larger Albert Theatre-including "the incomparable Mike Nussbaum" (Chicago Tribune) as the Colonel/Johnny. Also cast is Catherine Combs (Beauty); Anne Fogarty (Voice of Lenore); Guy Massey (Footnote/Fetus Two/Samuel); and Eric Slater(Daniel/Fetus One). Change is in the air as Violet prepares to bring twin boys into the world. Inside her womb, her unborn sons contemplate their future, while the world around her is in transformation: her husband is secretly planning to leave her, her father is slipping into senility and her daughter has taken a vow of silence. Haunting and slyly funny, Smokefall explores the lives of this family in a lyrical treatise on the fragility of life and the power of love. The design team includes Kevin Depinet (set), Lindsay Jones(sound), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes) and David Weiner (lighting). Joseph Drummond is the production stage manager.

The 8th annual FREE New Stages Festival features three workshop productions and three staged readings, and culminates in a weekend during which attendees can experience all six plays. Since 2004, the Goodman has celebrated new work with the New Stages Festival, which has included the workshop and development of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined. More than half of the plays developed in the festival have gone on to receive full productions at the Goodman or elsewhere, making New Stages one of the new play hotbeds in the nation. Director of New Play DevelopmentTanya Palmer oversees the Goodman's efforts to develop new American plays with contemporary theater artists, including New Stages, the Playwrights Unit (annual residency program) and the theater's new works commissioning program. Over the past three decades, Goodman Theatre has produced more than 100 premieres-approximately one third of which are authored by playwrights of color.

About Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre is world-renowned for the quality and scope of its artistic programming and its commitment to improving life in the community. Artistic Director Robert Falls' and Executive Director Roche Schulfer's leadership has earned unparalleled artistic distinction and experienced unprecedented success. Together, they have staged more than 80 world premieres, earning numerous awards-including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre (1992) and the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined(2009)-and produced more than 25 new work commissions. Founded in 1925 and housed in a state-of-the-art two-theater complex in the downtown Chicago Theatre District, the Goodman is Chicago's oldest and largest not-for-profit producing theater, named "Best Regional Theatre" by Time magazine and "top dog of the Chicago theater scene" by Frommer's. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre. Ruth Ann M. Gillis is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Sherry John is President of the Women's Board and Lauren Blair is President of the Scenemakers Board, the Goodman's young professionals auxiliary group.

Visit the Goodman virtually: watch artist interviews, view production photos, catch the latest news and more at GoodmanTheatre.org and our blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, peek behind the scenes on YouTube.

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