The plays join the already announced productions of the Ossie Davis-Phillip Rose-Peter Udell musical Purlie, Shakespeare's Pericles, and Beyond Glory, a new play adapted by and starring actor Stephen Lang.
The Clean House is quickly becoming one of the most produced plays in the U.S. Since its premiere at Yale Rep in New Haven in 2004, it's been seen at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. It's also scheduled for the coming season at Milwaukee Rep. Ruhl's work, about a well-ordered household that is turned upside-down when an interesting new maid arrives, was a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Jessica Thebus will direct. Dates are April 29–June 4, 2006 in the Albert Theatre.
Clean House will be followed in the Albert by Regina Taylor’s The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, running June 17–July 23, 2006. Taylor will director the piece, about "Sarah Breedlove, the first freeborn child of emancipated slaves, [who] had a mind for business and an aching for success. When her miracle hair salve not only won over the hearts and heads of African Americans in the United States, but also the heart of an astute businessman, Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower took flight. Following Madam's financial gains with her company and emotional losses with her family, the story of the first self-made female millionaire transformed the way African Americans were seen in the early 1900s."
Crumbs from the Table of Joy, an early work by the suddenly hot Lynn Nottage (Intimate Apparel, Fabulation), will play the smaller Owen May 27–June 25, 2006. Chuck Smith directs the tale of one 1950s family and its relationship to the infamous Father Divine.
*** As previously announced, the Albert season begins with Purlie. Sheldon Epps (Play On!) will direct the staging, running Sept. 17-Oct. 23, with an opening on Sept. 27. The show, produced in association with Pasadena Playhouse, has not yet been cast.
Purlie is based on the late Ossie Davis' play Purlie Victorious. With a book by Davis, Rose and Udell, Purlie features music by Gary Geld and lyrics by Udell. Directed by Philip Rose, the original 1970 production was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical; its co-stars, Cleavon Little and Melba Moore, both won Tonys for their performances.
After Purlie comes Pericles, directed by Mary Zimmerman and running Jan. 7-Feb. 12, 2006. Zimmerman, who brought Metamorphoses to Broadway, previously staged the seldom-seen Pericles at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The middle slot at the Albert will be used to honor hometown boy, David Mamet, with a festival of his works in March and April of 2006.
The festival will include new productions of A Life in the Theatre, Romance, and Mamet's family-oriented play The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock. Romance, now playing Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre Company, will be presented in repertory with some of Mamet’s one-act plays, yet to be selected.
It will be a homecoming for the playwright. Mamet's career in the '70s and early '80s is seen as very much entwined with the renaissance of Windy City theatre. His star first rose in his native Chicago, where he found a champion in the Goodman and its then-artistic director, Gregory Mosher. American Buffalo had its premiere at the Goodman in 1975, and Glengarry Glen Ross played the Goodman before moving to Broadway.
The revival of the early work, A Life in the Theatre, will be the centerpiece of the undertaking. The tale of two actors—one young and rising, one older and growing desperate—will be staged by Goodman artistic director Robert Falls in the Albert Theatre, appearing March 4-April 9, 2006.
Mamet’s most recent play, Romance, will play in the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, March 17-April 23. The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock will be presented on Saturday mornings during the festival in the Owen Theatre.
The festival will also feature a number of special events, including "A Conversation with David Mamet," led by long-time Chicago Tribune theatre critic Richard Christiansen, a man who was the first to review many a Mamet premiere.
Previously announced for the Owen is Beyond Glory. The story is derived from Larry Smith's book of the same name, which depicts the lives and actions of several recipients of the Medal of Honor. Dates are Sept. 10 Oct. 9.
Lang rose to prominence in the '80s, playing Happy in Dustin Hoffman's Death of a Salesman and starring in A Few Good Men and in the title role in Hamlet at the Roundabout Theatre Company. He was nominated for a Tony Award for 1991's The Speed of Darkness. For much of the 80s, he concentrated on film and television work. Recently, he returned to the stage, playing in The Guys Off-Broadway and Arthur Miller's final play Finishing the Picture at the Goodman in summer 2004.