Mary Beth Fisher, Jordan Baker-Kilner and More Star in Goodman Theatre's LUNA GALE, Beg. Tonight
The question of who determines a child's fate amidst drug addiction, religion and child custody laws takes center stage in Rebecca Gilman's newest work, Luna Gale, directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls.
The award-winning playwright-whose work "reaches the heart and head with equal force" (Time)-returns to the Goodman with a world-premiere production that features JorDan Baker-Kilner (Cindy), Reyna de Courcy (Karlie), Melissa R. Duprey (Lourdes), Mary Beth Fisher (Caroline), Erik Hellman (Cliff), Colin Sphar (Peter) and Richard Thieriot (Pastor Jay).
The design team includes Todd Rosenthal (sets), Robert Wierzel (lights), Richard Woodbury (sound) and Kaye Voyce (costumes). Joe Drummond is the production stage manager and Briana Fahey is the stage manager.
Luna Gale runs tonight, January 18 - February 23 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, January 27). Tickets ($25 - $81; subject to change) go on sale to the general public Friday, December 6 and are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Luna, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman Women's Board is a Major Production Sponsor. Mayer Brown is a Corporate Sponsor Partner. Luna Gale is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. Ogletree Deakins and U.S. Bank are the Opening Night Sponsors.
"Rebecca is a writer who challenges audiences to consider all angles of today's hot-button issues, and she holds nothing back in this gut-wrenching new play," said director Robert Falls, who has previously directed Gilman's Blue Surge, Dollhouse and A True History of the Johnstown Flood. "We've assembled a terrific cast for the world-premiere production, led by the talented Mary Beth Fisher and featuring many artists who are working at the Goodman for the first time."
Veteran social worker Caroline (Mary Beth Fisher), thinks she has a typical case on her hands when her boss Cliff (Erik Hellman) assigns her to Peter and Karlie (Colin Sphar and Reyna de Courcy), two drug-addicted teenagers accused of neglecting their infant daughter. But when she places their baby in the care of Karlie's mother (JorDan Baker-Kilner), who is strongly influenced by her pastor (Richard Thieriot), Caroline sparks a family conflict that exposes a secretive past and-after the outcome of a previous case (Melissa R. Duprey)-forces her to make a risky decision with potentially disastrous consequences.
Luna Gale marks the seventh collaboration (four of which were Goodman commissions) between Goodman Theatre and Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman-"one of Chicago's hottest playwrights" (Chicago Tribune). Falls first encountered Gilman when he read her 1998 play The Glory of Living (a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist that was first produced at Circle Theatre). Soon after, Falls commissioned Gilman to write a new play for the Goodman; she responded with Spinning Into Butter (premiered in the Goodman Studio in 1999, directed by Les Waters, subsequently produced at Lincoln Center Theater in 2000, and most recently made into a feature film starring Sarah Jessica Parker). The show's run was extended three times and led to Gilman's next Goodman commission, Boy Gets Girl (premiered at the Goodman in 2000, directed by the late Michael Maggio), which transferred to New York's Manhattan Theatre Club and was named by Time magazine as one of the "Best Theatre Productions of the Decade." Falls later directed both Blue Surge (2001) and Dollhouse (2005)-a modern interpretation of Ibsen's A Doll's House. The Crowd You're In With, directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, made its Chicago debut in 2009 at the Goodman, followed by A True History of the Johnstown Flood, a Goodman commission that had its world premiere at the Goodman in 2010 under Falls' direction.
Masters Visionary Award, The Great Plains Playwright Award and an Illinois Arts Council playwriting fellowship. She is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America and a board member of the ACLU of Illinois. She received her MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa. Gilman is an associate professor of playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University as part of its MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage Program. She is the recent recipient of a Global Connections Grant by Theatre Communications Group and an American Scandinavian Foundation Creative Writing Grant for the development of two new plays in conjunction with two theater companies in Gothenburg, Sweden: Teater Durken and Go?teborgs Dramatiska Teater. She is currently working on a new commission for St. Louis Repertory Theatre.
Falls has been the artistic director of Goodman Theatre since 1986. From 1977 to 1985, he was the artistic director of Wisdom Bridge Theatre. His critically acclaimed production of The Iceman Cometh, starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy, was honored with six 2012 Jeff Awards, including Best Director and Best Production of a Play. Falls also recently directed the world premiere of Beth Henley's The Jacksonian at the Geffen Playhouse (now appearing off-Broadway at The New Group through December 22) and John Logan's Red at the Goodman and Arena Stage. Other recent productions include Jon Robin Baitz's Three Hotels at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, Chekhov's The Seagull and the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman's A True History of the Johnstown Flood at the Goodman and King Lear at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Helen Hayes Award). Falls' credits also include Desire Under the Elms on Broadway and at the Goodman, the Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, Richard Nelson's Frank's Home at the Goodman and Playwrights Horizons and the American premiere of Shining City on Broadway. His production of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida for Walt Disney Theatricals ran on Broadway for four years and toured nationally and abroad. Two of his most highly acclaimed Broadway productions, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, were honored with seven Tony awards and three Drama Desk awards. Other Goodman credits include the world premieres of Arthur Miller's Finishing the Picture, Rebecca Gilman's Blue Surge and Dollhouse, Eric Bogosian's Griller, Louis Rosen and Thom Bishop's Book of the Night, Steve Tesich's The Speed of Darkness and On the Open Road, John Logan's Riverview: A Melodrama with Music and the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden.
Tickets to Luna Gale ($25 - $81; subject to change) go on sale to the general public Friday, December 6 at GoodmanTheatre.org/Luna. Tickets and subscriptions, including the Goodman WILD CARD, can also be purchased at the box office (170 North Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800. Mezztix are half-price mezzanine tickets available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online (promo code MEZZTIX) day of performance; Mezztix are not available by telephone. 10Tix are $10 rear mezzanine tickets for students available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online (promo code 10TIX) day of performance; 10Tix are not available by telephone; a valid student I.D. must be presented when picking up the tickets; limit four per student with I.D. All tickets are subject to availability and handling fees apply. Discounted Group Tickets for 15 persons or more are available at 312.443.3820. Purchase Goodman Gift Certificates in any amount at GoodmanTheatre.org. The flexibility of Goodman Gift Certificates allows recipients to choose the production, date and time of their performance. Artists, dates and ticket prices are subject to change.
The Goodman's 2013/2014 Season features 9 productions on its two stages-six in the 856-seat Albert Theatre and three in the 400-seat flexible Owen Theatre, plus the annual New Stages series that includes two additional workshop productions. Productions include Smokefall by Noah Haidle, directed by Anne Kauffman, a world-premiere co-production with South Coast Repertory (October 5 - November 3, in the Owen); the 36th annual production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, directed by Henry Wishcamper (November 16 - December 29, in the Albert); the annual New Stages series (December 7 - 22, in the Owen); the world premiere of Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman, directed by Robert Falls (January 18 - February 23, 2014 in the Albert); Buzzer by Tracey Scott Wilson, directed by Jessica Thebus (February 8 - March 9, 2014 in the Owen); the Chicago premiere of Venus in Fur by David Ives, directed by Joanie Schultz (March 8 - April 13, 2014 in the Albert); the Chicago premiere of The White Snake written and directed by Mary Zimmerman (May 3 - June 8, 2014 in the Albert); the world-premiere Goodman commission of Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, directed by Henry Wishcamper (May 24 - June 22, 2014 in the Owen); and a major revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's Brigadoon, directed by Rachel Rockwell (June 27 - August 3, 2014 in the Albert).
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, staging more than 80 world premieres, earning numerous awards for its productions-including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre (1992) and the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined (2009)-and producing 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. 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. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.
Pictured: Mary Beth Fisher