Iizuka's GHOSTWRITTEN Comes To Goodman Stage 4/4-5/3

Joyce Award-recipient Naomi Iizuka brings her tale of family ties, a lingering debt, mystical stories-and magical food-to the Goodman stage in her newest work, Ghostwritten, April 4 - May 3, 2009. Lisa Portes, who has shepherded this play from its first appearance at the 2007 New Stages Series, directs its world-premiere production with a cast of Chicago favorites led by Lisa Tejero (Mirror of the Invisible World and Metamorphoses) and Kim Martin-Cotten (King Lear). Tickets to Ghostwritten are $10 - $39. A complete performance schedule including dates, times and ticket prices appears at the end of this release. Ghostwritten is a Goodman commission supported by The Joyce Foundation. The Sara Lee Foundation is the "Strong Women, Strong Voices" Owen season Corporate Sponsor. Clerestory Consulting is the contributing sponsor of Ghostwritten.
"I've long admired Naomi's gifted, innovative approach to storytelling and her ability to transcend culture and time," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "It's a privilege to host this premiere at the Goodman with the talented Lisa Portes and a remarkable Chicago cast."

Based on The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, "Rumpelstiltskin," Ghostwritten shows the lengths families will go in order to protect their loved ones. This journey begins in Southeast Asia, when a traveling American woman, Susan, strikes a bargain with a mysterious stranger. Twenty years later, Susan has become an acclaimed chef specializing in Asian cuisine and the mother of an adopted Vietnamese-born daughter. She is successful beyond her wildest dreams-until the stranger from her past reappears to collect on the debt.

"Like all fairy tales there is a much deeper human meaning rooted in these characters and their stories," said Iizuka, who plays on her own multicultural background to explore the many different paths her characters take. "Being able to tell the stories of real immigrants who have moved their lives to the cultural collision that is America honors their struggle for identity while sharing their tales of survival. The play is based on a fairy tale, but characters are rooted in the human reality of acceptance, family and self-appreciation."

Naomi Iizuka has been counted "among the playwrights who will help define theater as we move ahead" (StarTribune-Minniapolis) and an "important and arresting talent" (Seattle Times) whose work has been described as "intellectually engaging" (The New York Times) with a "lush, evocative style" (The Stranger). Born in Tokyo and raised in Japan, Indonesia, Holland and Washington, D.C., Iizuka's work includes 36 Views; Anon(ymous); Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls; After a Hundred Years; At the Vanishing Point; Polaroid Stories; Language of Angels; Tattoo Girl and Skin. Her latest play, Strike-Slip, premiered at the 2007 Humana Festival of New Plays. Her work has been produced by Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Children's Theatre Company, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Portland Center Stage, The Public Theater, Campo Santo and Intersection for the Arts, Dallas Theater Center, The Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Soho Repertory Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival. Iizuka's work has been workshopped at Sundance Theatre Lab, Midwest PlayLabs, New Works Now at The Public Theater, Performance Space 122, Manhattan Theatre Club and Seattle Repertory Theatre. Her plays have been published by Theatre Communications Group, Smith and Kraus Publishers, Inc., Heinemann, Playscripts, TheatreForum and American Theater. Iizuka is a member of New Dramatists and the recipient of a Joyce Award, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, an Alpert Award, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Stavis Award from The National Theatre Conference, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist‑in‑Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship and a Jerome Fellowship. She is the head of the graduate MFA Playwriting Program at the University of California, San Diego.

Lisa Portes' collaboration with Iizuka includes the 2007 reading of Ghostwritten in Goodman Theatre's New Stages Series, and the world premiere of Iizuka's After 100 Years at Guthrie Theater (June 2008). For the Goodman, she directed El Grito Del Bronx by Migdalia Cruz as part of the 2006 Latino Theatre Festival. Recent Chicago credits include Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue by Quiara Alegria Hudes at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in association with Teatro Vista; Spare Change by Mia McCullough at Steppenwolf's First Look Series; Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons at Northlight; and Far Away by Caryl Churchill and In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks at Next Theatre Company. New York credits include the world premiere of Wilder: An Erotic Chamber Musical by Erin Cressida Wilson, Jack Herrick and Mike Craver at Playwrights Horizons. She chairs the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Lisa Tejero (Woman from Vietnam) last appeared at the Goodman in Mary Zimmerman's Mirror of the Invisible World. Other collaborations with Zimmerman include Silk, Odyssey and Journey to the West. She most recently appeared at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Frank Galati's Kafka on the Shore. Tejero is a company member of Lookingglass Theatre Company. Kim Martin-Cotten (Susan) returns to the Goodman where she appeared as Goneril in Robert Falls' 30th anniversary production of King Lear. Her recent New York work includes the premiere of Mermaid and the title role in Julius Caesar for The Guerrilla Shakespeare Project. She is a company member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival. DieteRich Gray (Chad/Not Chad) returns to the Goodman where he appeared in King Lear. Other credits include Mother Courage, The Royal Family and I Just Stopped By to See the Man at Steppenwolf, among others. He is an ensemble member at both Piven Theatre and Dog & Pony Theatre Company. Arthur Acuna (Linh) first appeared as Linh in Ghostwritten at the 2007 Sundance Theatre Lab. His international credits include David Henry Hwang's The Golden Child in Manila, Philippines. Tiffany Villarin's (Bea) Chicago credits include the Midwest premiere of David Henry Hwang's Golden Child at Silk Road Theatre Project and work with Adventure Stage Chicago and Chicago Dramatists. She appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Eleven at Second Generation. Dan Waller (Martin) previously appeared at the Goodman in Talking Pictures. Other Chicago credits include Our Father, A Whistle in the Dark and Journey's End at Seanachaí Theatre and The Coast of Chicago with Walkabout Theatre Company at Lookingglass Theatre Company, among others.

For this production's magical journey through place and time, Iizuka and Portes teamed up with Set Designer Linda Buchanan who uses a "runway" configuration, to transform the 400-seat flexible Owen Theatre into a mystical river, a secluded forest and a bustling market. Her other work at the Goodman includes the designs for House and Garden, Black Snow, the musical adaptation of Wings (also at New York's Public Theatre) and the premiere production of Marvin's Room. She has also created designs for Chuck Smith's Death and the King's Horsemen (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Cyrano de Bergerac (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and the premiere of José Rivera's Boleros for the Disenchanted (Yale Repertory Theatre), among others. Her work has been published in Interior Design, Contract, Exhibit Builder, American Theatre, Theatre Crafts International and Entertainment Design.

Buchanan is joined by the design team of Rachel Healy (Costumes), Keith Parham (Lighting), and Andre Pluess (Sound).

Since their inception in 2004, the Joyce Awards have supported cultural institutions in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Award winners have not only presented their works to the institutions' traditional audiences; they have also worked with community and school groups and public art projects. These commissions are intended to produce vivid new works of art that strengthen cultural venues and draw diverse audiences to the artistic work of minority artists.

Tickets to Ghostwritten are $10 - $39 and may be purchased online at GoodmanTheatre.org, at the Goodman Theatre Box Office, 170 North Dearborn Street, 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 at GoodmanTheatre.org on the day of performance, subject to availability; Mezztix are not available by telephone. When purchasing on GoodmanTheatre.org, enter the promo code MEZZTIX. 10Tix are $10 mezzanine tickets for students available at 12 noon at the box office and at 10am online at GoodmanTheatre.org on the day of performance, subject to availability; 10Tix are not available by telephone. Valid student I.D. must be presented when picking up the tickets at will call. Limit four tickets per student with I.D. Tickets are subject to availability and handling fees apply. Discounted group tickets for 10 persons or more are available at 312.443.3820.

 

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