Three plays will comprise the 1998-99 Studio series at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and two of them will be world premieres.
The season begins Sept. 11 with Straight As A Line, a non traditional comedy/drama by performance artist and playwright Luis Alfaro. Henry Godinez directs the piece, which is described thus in the Goodman press release: "Paulie's mum is visiting him in New York. They've had a lovely morning getting Paulie's nipple pierced, and as they wait for the subway, Paulie informs us he's decided to jump in front of a train, a fact his mum calmly confirms."
Alfaro's other plays include The Ballad of Ginger Esparza, co-written with Diane Rodriguez and workshopped at CA's Mark Taper Forum. Straight As A Line opens Sept. 21 and runs to Oct. 11.
A second premiere, Rebecca Gilman's Spinning Into Butter, will be directed by Robert Falls, Feb. 12-Mar. 14, 1999. This look at racial politics on a college campus starts when vicious notes are pinned to a black student's door. The drama opens Feb. 22, 1999.
Director Falls' credits include 1991's The Speed of Darkness on Broadway and Book of the Night at the Goodman. Between Line and Butter will be a special holiday presentation of Tom Mula's solo, Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, directed by Steve Scott. Creating the piece, Mula adapted his own novel, which itself was adapted (of course) from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The show (Nov. 27-Dec. 27; opening Dec. 4) looks at the Ebenezer Scrooge story from the point of view of his former business partner.
Goodman Studio tickets are available by subscription only. For information call (312) 443-3800.
As for the Goodman mainstage season, Tina Landau is a busy theater artist, not only staging Steppenwolf Theatre's 1998-99 season-opener The Berlin Circle, but also, in May 1999, Goodman's Theatre's revival of her musical, Floyd Collins, a co-production with San Diego's Old Globe Theatre.
Originally produced in New York, the 1996 work has a book by Landau and music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, and is based on the attempted rescue of a farmer trapped in a Kentucky cave. The prolonged tragedy became a 1925 media circus and a portent of future hullabaloos. Floyd Collins will be the fourth play of the Goodman season and will run Apr. 23-May 30, 1999, opening May 3, 1999.
Jan. 8-Feb.14 (opening Jan. 18, 1999), the Goodman Theatre revisits Waiting for Godot, to be staged by Goodman artistic associate Michael Maggio with native Chicagoan Harry J. Lennix as Estragon. Samuel Beckett's other plays include Happy Days and Endgame.
The Goodman season will begin, Sept. 18-Oct 25 (opening Sept. 28), with Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, staged by Robert Falls and starring Brian Dennehy (Translations). Miller's other works include The Crucible and All My Sons.
A very different offering will be Regina Taylor's Oo Bla Dee, a commissioned play about African-American female jazz instrumentalists. Goodman artistic director Tazewell Thompson will direct, Mar. 5-Apr. 11, 1999 (opening Mar. 15, 1999).
Just announced is the company's fifth and final `98-99 show, August Wilson's recently revised, early drama Jitney. Goodman artistic associate Chuck Smith will stage the play (June 18-July 31, 1999, opening June 28, 1999), about the eccentric and sometimes desperate denizens of a Pittsburgh gypsy cab stand.
Jitney will mark the seventh Wilson play staged at the Goodman, including the world premiere of Seven Guitars. For information on the Goodman season call (312) 443-3800.
-- By Lawrence Bommer
and David Lefkowitz