Photo Flash: In Rehearsal with Rebecca Gilman's LUNA GALE at Goodman Theatre
Who best determines an infant's fate among differing values concerning drugs, religion and child rearing? Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebecca Gilman asks this question and more in her latest play, Luna Gale, directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls in their fourth collaboration. Gilman's seven Goodman productions-six of which were world premieres, including five commissions-make her one of the most-produced contemporary playwrights in the theater's history. Luna Gale runs January 18 - February 23 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, January 27). BroadwayWorld has a sneak peek at the cast in rehearsal below!
Appearing in her 16th Goodman production, Chicago stage favorite Mary Beth Fisher-who also originated roles in Gilman's Spinning Into Butter and Boy Gets Girl-stars as veteran social worker Caroline, who is charged with making tough decisions about the future of Luna Gale, a vulnerable child. The recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, Luna Gale is part of the Goodman's "Great Women at Play" subscription package, featuring works written and/or directed by Rachel Rockwell (Brigadoon), Joanie Schultz (Venus in Fur), Jessica Thebus, Tracey Scott Wilson (Buzzer) and Mary Zimmerman (The White Snake).
Over the past two decades, Gilman has become known for her unflinching works about contentious social issues-such as race in Spinning Into Butter; violence against women in Boy Gets Girl; class in Blue Surge; and whether to have a child or remain child-free in The Crowd You're in With, to name a few.
Veteran social worker Caroline (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), 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 DuPrey)-forces her to make a risky decision with potentially life-altering consequences.
Robert Falls first encountered Rebecca Gilman-"one of Chicago's hottest playwrights" (Chicago Tribune)-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.
Tickets to Luna Gale ($25 - $81; subject to change) are on sale at GoodmanTheatre.org/Luna. Tickets and subscriptions, including the Goodman WILD CARD and "Great Women at Play" package, can also be purchased at the box office (170 North Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800. Luna Gale is a participating production in Chicago Theatre Week (February 11 - 16, 2014; tickets on sale January 7, 2014). Theatre Week is coordinated through the League of Chicago Theaters and offers discounted tickets to 97 different productions throughout Chicago in one week. Visit ChicagoTheatreWeek.com for more information.
Photo Credit: Liz Lauren
Director Robert Falls
Playwright Rebecca Gilman
Mary Beth Fisher (Caroline)
Colin Sphar (Peter) and Reyna de Courcy (Karlie)
Mary Beth Fisher (Caroline) and Melissa DuPrey (Lourdes)