Goodman Theatre Joins CTG's New Co-Commission Initiative
Goodman Theatre joins Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group (CTG) in a new co-commissioning partnership that also involves three other internationally renowned theaters-London's Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre, and New York's Second Stage-in the hopes of generating new plays to appear in multiple cities over the next decade.
Included in this new effort are playwrights Jon Robin Baitz (Pulitzer finalist and Tony nominee), Will Eno (Pulitzer finalist), Danai Gurira (Tony nominee), Lisa Kron (Tony winner), Young Jean Lee (Obie winner), Lynn Nottage (two-time Pulitzer winner), Qui Nguyen (Steinberg Award winner), Al Smith (Sunday Times Playwriting Award winner) and Paula Vogel (Pulitzer winner).
Titled "Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative," the program is supported by a $1 million grant from the Edgerton Foundation, allowing CTG to commission at least two shows annually with each of the four partner theaters.
"This new program is a natural outgrowth of our already strong relationship with Center Theatre Group, and our mutual commitment to the development and production of new American plays," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "CTG is our producing partner on our current production of Lauren Yee's delightful Goodman commission, King of the Yees, and recently hosted a successful remount of my production of Rebecca Gilman's newest play, Luna Gale. I am thrilled that this joint program will provide greater resources and reach for playwrights."
Added CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, "Having successfully joined forces with Bob and his producing partner Executive Director Roche Schulfer in the past, it is clear that we are stronger together. This agreement affirms our intentions to continue that partnership, with the realization that it gives great benefits to the theaters, artists and audiences alike."
ABOUT THE CURRENT COMMISSIONS AND NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS AT THE GOODMAN
A commission provides a playwright with resources-including funding and artistic assistance and consultation, as well as physical space at times-to develop a new play. The Goodman currently works with 16 playwrights under commission, including Lucas Baisch, Thomas Bradshaw, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Mikhael Tara Garver, Ricky Ian Gordon, Ike Holter, Lucas Hnath, Dawn Renee Jones, Rajiv Joseph, Evan Linder, Richard Nelson, Dael Orlandersmith, Jose Rivera, Emma Stanton, Tracey Scott Wilson and Lauren Yee.
Yee's Goodman commission, King of the Yees-a madcap celebration of family and cultural identity, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody-was developed in the Goodman's New Stages festival, an annual three-week first-look at new plays that includes three developmental productions and three staged readings. Since New Stages' inception in 2004, more than one-third of all plays developed have received a world premiere production at the Goodman or another leading U.S. theater. King of the Yees is now on stage in the 350-seat flexible Owen Theatre through April 30. Tickets ($10-$40; subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Yees, the box office (170 N. Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800. King of the Yees will transfer with entire company intact to CTG, appearing July 9 - August 6.
This weekend, Chicago audiences can experience an excerpt of the plays-in-process by the four commissioned artists of the Goodman's Playwrights Unit (Baisch, Jones, Linder and Stanton)-a year-long residency for Chicago-based playwrights, in partnership with Chicago Dramatists. The Unit meets bi-monthly to discuss their works with the Goodman's artistic team; the residency culminates in a staged reading of each new play. Playwrights At Work: An Insider Access Interactive takes place on April 23 from 5- 6:30pm at the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement at the Goodman. Tickets are $15 and $10 for Subscribers.
America's "Best Regional Theatre" (Time magazine) and "Chicago's flagship resident stage" (Chicago Tribune), Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit organization distinguished by the quality and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Founded in 1925, the Goodman is led by Robert Falls-"Chicago's most essential director" (Chicago Tribune), who marks 30 years as Artistic Director this season-and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, who is celebrated for his vision and leadership over nearly four decades. Dedicated to new plays, reimagined classics and large-scale musical theater works, Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned hundreds of awards for artistic excellence, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, nearly 160 Jeff Awards and more. Over the past three decades, audiences have experienced more than 150 world or American premieres, 30 major musical productions, as well as nationally and internationally celebrated productions of classic works (including Falls' productions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day's Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy). In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson's "American Century Cycle." For nearly four decades, the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has created a new generation of theatergoers.
The 2016 opening of the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement ("the Alice") launched the next phase in the Goodman's decades-long commitment as an arts and community organization dedicated to educating Chicago youth and promoting lifelong learning. Programs are offered year-round and free of charge. Eighty-five percent of the Goodman's youth program participants come from underserved communities.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago's cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family's legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth's family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000. Today, Goodman Theatre leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, ReGina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan E. Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre's Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women's Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation's preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles' leading not-for-profit theater company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation's leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.