SMOKEFALL Begins Encore Run at Goodman Theatre on 9/20
Exactly one year after its world premiere in the Owen Theatre, Noah Haidle's Smokefall, directed by Anne Kauffman, makes its Albert Theatre debut-becoming the third production in Goodman Theatre's 90-year history to transfer from the theater's smaller stage to the mainstage in order for more audiences to experience an acclaimed new play. An exploration of the power and fragility of love through three generations of family life, Smokefall in its debut set the record of highest number of individual tickets sold in Owen Theatre history, and the production topped the "Best of 2013" lists among major Chicago media. The original six-member company remains intact for the play's Albert Theatre premiere-including Chicago favorite Mike Nussbaum as The Colonel, whose performance "just weeks from his 90th birthday...had my chin on the floor" (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune) was hailed as "miraculous...so emblematic of the play's homage to the life force itself...a rare treat" (Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times). Smokefall runs September 20 - October 26 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, September 29). Tickets ($25-$81; subject to change) are on sale now at GoodmanTheatre.org/Smokefall, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its production supporters, including Abbott Fund, the Sponsor Partner; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Foundation Partner; and Mayer Brown, the Corporate Sponsor Partner.
"Smokefall is an artistic triumph. From its auspicious beginnings to an outstanding fully-realized mainstage production, this project perfectly exemplifies what we hope to achieve in our new play development efforts," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "Noah's voice is unique among American theater artists; his imagination, sense of playfulness and honest emotion are an unusual combination. To produce Smokefall again with the same fine company of artists is the rare opportunity to revisit, or experience for the first time, a singular ephemeral moment."
Smokefall's page-to-stage journey began in 2006 during Haidle's production of Vigils at the Goodman, when he conceived and developed Local Time-a 12-play cycle spanning one 24-hour period in the life of a Midwestern family, each act named for the time in which it took place (11am to 1pm and 5 to 7pm, etc). Falls was drawn to the project and commissioned Haidle to develop it, including a workshop of three of the 12 plays in the Goodman's New Stages festival. Working with the Goodman's Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer (for whom the play is dedicated), Haidle further reworked the project and ultimately created a single play-Smokefall, whose title refers to the time of day immediately before nightfall-that tackles thematic questions about the meaning of life and the nature of love and commitment. The Goodman's 2013 world-premiere co-production with South Coast Repertory appeared in the Owen Theatre (October 5 - November 3) and was hailed as "achingly sad, transcendently lovely" (Chicago Sun-Times) "relentlessly honest and believable" (Chicago Tribune), "one of the best plays of the year" (New City) and "echoing of Wilder with a dram or two of whimsy" (Time Out Chicago).
"To do the play again with this remarkable group of people is a blessing in a really wonderful way," said playwright Noah Haidle. "Annie has a true gift, and is one of the lights of her generation; she is as much a creator of this show as I am. And as a writer, I can't imagine anyone supporting my work more than Bob Falls, Tanya Palmer and the entire Goodman."
Change is in the air as Violet (Keberlein) prepares to bring twin boys into the world. Inside her womb, her unborn sons (Massey and Slater) contemplate life after birth, the fragility of love and the meaning of home, while outside her body her world is in transformation: her husband, Daniel (Slater) is making plans of his own, her father The Colonel (Nussbaum) is slipping into senility and her daughter, Beauty (Combs) has taken a vow of silence. In the third act, one of the twins-now an old man-reflects on his life and family when an unexpected visitor arrives. The design team includes Kevin Depinet (set), Lindsay Jones (sound), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes) and David Weiner (lighting). Joseph Drummond is the production stage manager and Briana J. Fahey is the stage manager. Tanya Palmer is the dramaturg for the production.
Smokefall launches the Goodman's All-New Fall, celebrating nine decades with new inspiration: three months of new American plays, each developed in the Goodman's new play programs. In the Owen is Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's The World of Extreme Happiness directed by Eric Ting, September 13 - October 12 (opening night is September 22). In addition, six new plays-three workshop productions and three staged readings, all free of charge-appear as part of the annual New Stages Festival in the Owen, October 29 - November 16, with a weekend for industry professionals taking place November 14-16 (titles and artists TBA). The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its New Work Sponsors, including The Davee Foundation, Major Supporter of the Expansion of New Stages; Time Warner Foundation, Lead Supporter of New Play Development; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and the Pritzker-Pucker Foundation, Major Supporters of New Play Development; The Glasser and Rosenthal Family, the Scenemakers Board and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Supporters of New Work Development; The Joyce Foundation, Principal Support of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives; Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Festival Sponsor. Edelman is the Major Corporate Sponsor for the Owen Theatre Season.