James Baldwin's The Amen Corner will get a new mounting at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, beginning March 16. The drama will officially open March 26 and run through April 21.
Chuck Smith directs the 1954 work about Sister Margaret Alexander, who risks losing her Harlem church and her son when her vagabond, jazz musician husband suddenly returns home.
James Baldwin (1924-87) is best known for his novels, such as "Giovanni's Room," and his essays, including the landmark "The Fire Next Time." The Amen Corner is one of only two plays he wrote. It was produced at Howard University in 1954 and on Broadway in 1965. His other work for the stage, Blues for Mister Charlie, bowed in New York City in 1964, and was spared a quick closure by a donation from scions of the Rockefeller family and an extraordinary ad campaign in the New York papers, signed by the leading artists and intellectuals of the day. Tickets for Amen Corner are $29 to $45. The Goodman is located at 170 N. Dearborn Street. Call (312) 443-3800.
The remaining 2000-2001 Goodman schedule now runs as follows: The Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre:
• James Baldwin's The Amen Corner, March 16-April 21 (opening March 26).
• Wit by Margaret Edson, directed by Steve Scott, May 11-June 16 (opening May 21).
• Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman, directed by Robert Falls, June 29 Aug. 4 (July 9).
The Owen Bruner Goodman Theatre:
• Regina Taylor's new adaptation of The Seagull, April 27-May 27 (opening May 7). Actress-playwright Taylor has relocated the drama to the historic Gullah Islands off the coast of modern-day South Carolina. The family is now African-American and Konstantin is a performance artist.
—By Robert Simonson