Though Chicago theatregoers won't see Rebecca Gilman's The Great Baseball Strike of 1994 this summer, they are currently being treated to another new Gilman play instead: Blue Surge, staged by artistic director Robert Falls at the Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre. That production began life on June 29 and will conclude on Aug. 5. The show officially opened July 9 to generally good notices.
The punning title of Blue Surge (blue serge is a type of suit, once a staple of every man's closet) ostensibly refers to two underground policeman in the drama, who arrest two "massage parlor workers" in a small Midwestern town. During the interrogation of the suspects, however, the four discover they went to high school together and associated with the same group of people. The ensuing revelations cause one of the cops to question his role in the arrest.
Appearing in Blue Surge are Joe Forbrich, Rebecca Jordan, Steve Key, Amy Landecker and Rachel Miner. Designing the show are Walt Spangler (set), Birgit Rattenborg Wise (costumes), Michael Philipi (lighting) and Richard Woodbury (sound), with Tom Creamer serving as dramaturg.
Gilman continues to cut a literary swath across America like no other playwright currently working. Dominant in Chicago for years, she had her New York debut last summer when Spinning Into Butter opened to much fanfare at Lincoln Center Theater. Butter originated at the Goodman, as did Gilman's Boy Gets Girl, which played at Manhattan Theatre Club last season. Gilman's The American in Me recently was given its premiere at San Francisco's Magic Theatre. And her The Glory of Living will bow at Manhattan's MCC Theatre in October, with Philip Seymour Hoffman directing.
For tickets and information on Blue Surge at the Goodman, 170 North Dearborn St., call (312) 443-3800. —By Robert Simonson
and David Lefkowitz