Casting Complete for Goodman Theatre's 2016 New Stages Festival; Dael Orlandersmith's UNTIL THE FLOOD Added
Casting is complete for the three "developmental productions" featured in Goodman Theatre's 13th annual New Stages festival, a free celebration of new works by some of the country's finest established and emerging playwrights. These three plays, which are staged in repertory with modest production values following three weeks of rehearsal, include Blue Skies Process by Abe Koogler, directed by Henry Wishcamper; Support Group for Men by Ellen Fairey, directed by Kimberly Senior; and The King of Hell's Palace by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, directed by Tea Alagi. Full cast lists are included below.
All productions in New Stages are designed by Kevin Depinet (Set), Rachel Lambert and Noël Huntzinger (Costumes), Jesse Klug (Lights) and Richard Woodbury (Sound). In addition, three one-time-only staged readings appear during the final weekend of the festival ("Professionals Weekend"), including: Florissant & Canfield by Kristiana Rae Colón, directed by Monty Cole; Amy and the Orphans by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Scott Ellis; and And Moira Spins by Kirsten Greenidge, directed by Lisa Portes.
New Stages runs September 21 - October 9 in the 400-seat flexible Owen Theatre; all productions and readings are recommended for ages 14+. Tickets are free, but reservations are required; call 312.443.3800, visit GoodmanTheatre.org/NewStagesFestival or the box office (170 N. Dearborn). For more information about "Professionals Weekend," visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Professionals.
In addition to the New Stages celebration, the Goodman offers a special free reading of Until the Flood, the latest work by award-winning playwright Dael Orlandersmith, the Goodman's newest Artistic Associate. Directed by Neel Keller, Until the Flood focuses on the social unrest following the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. The characters-which include a middle-aged black teacher, a white police officer, an older black barbershop owner, a young black teenager, and a preacher-are composites Orlandersmith created after extensively interviewing Ferguson residents. The result is a diverse mosaic of voices exploring the complex ways in which trauma manifests itself in a community. Until the Flood was commissioned by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, where it will receive its world premiere next month (October 12 - November 6, 2016). The reading is one-time-only on October 1 at 7:30pm at Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement. Tickets are free; reservations required, GoodmanTheatre.org/UntiltheFlood.
Casting for New Stages 2016:
Blue Skies Process
To make something new. That's the task facing co-workers Amy, Peter and Kenny. To bolster their efforts, the team's visionary leader has mandated a "blue skies process": no hierarchy, everything is on the table and everyone is equal. Except they're not. Underneath the veneer of workplace civility, an epic power struggle is taking place. Hilarious, absurd and sometimes menacing, Blue Skies Process pokes fun at office politics but takes the process of creation very, very seriously.
Joe Dempsey as Peter
Meighan Gerachis as Amy
Michael Gomez as Kenny
Guy Massey as Kristan
Karen Rodriguez as Reina
Support Group for Men
Four men meet every Thursday night in an apartment on the border of Wrigleyville and Boystown. Instead of letting off steam at a Cubs game, they've formed a makeshift support group-complete with invented Native American nicknames, a baseball bat/talking stick, and most importantly a 'no women' policy that is strictly enforced. When a gender-non-conforming visitor abruptly crashes their party, the guys' notions of masculinity are upended. This topical comedy examines the many ways gender functions in an increasingly non-binary world-and proves help can sometimes be found in the most unlikely places.
Elena Marie Flores as Officer Delgado
Anthony Irons as Delano
Ryan Kitley as Brian
Keith Kupferer as Roger
Jeff Louis Kurysz as Alex
Dan Lin as Kevin
Steve Wojtas as Officer Nowak
The King of Hell's Palace
By Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, directed by Tea Alagi | appears in repertory September 25 - October 9
Inspired by true events, The King of Hell's Palace is a new drama by the author of The World of Extreme Happiness (2014) that explores the conflicts that arise when a community's greatest source of capital becomes their own bodies. When the Henan Ministry of Health begins paying citizens for blood plasma, impoverished farmers in the province's remote villages sell blood to buy fertilizer, mend their houses and create new opportunities for their children. As corrupt health officials cut costs to maximize the plasma products sold to pharmaceutical companies, safety standards are ignored, bringing catastrophic health implications to China's most vulnerable population.
RamMel Chan as Little Yi
Celeste Den as Pearl/Lili
C.S. Lee as Stone/Kuan
Michelle Krusiec as Jasmine/Han-Han
Jo Mei as Yin-Yin/Pei-Pei
Mia Park as Luo Na/Dr. Gao
James Saito as Chen/Old Yang
Wai Yim as Wen/Director Zhang
Called America's "Best Regional Theatre" by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has won international recognition for its artists, productions and programs, and is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. Founded in 1925 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) and represented today by descendant Albert Ivar Goodman, Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including "Outstanding Regional Theatre" in 1992), nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards and more. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman's artistic priorities include new plays (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics (including Falls' nationally and internationally celebrated 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), culturally specific work, musical theater (26 major productions in 20 years, including 10 world premieres) and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion have been primary cornerstones of the Goodman's mission for 30 years; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman's 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color, and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson's "American Century Cycle." Each year, the Goodman's education and engagement programs serve thousands of students, teachers and life-long learners. In addition, for nearly four decades A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago.
Goodman Theatre's leadership includes the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, ReGina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre's Board of Trustees, Cynthia Klem Scholl is Women's Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.