Goodman Season to Include Premiere of World of Extreme Happiness Plus Rapture, Blister, Burn; stop. reset. and More

By Carey Purcell
March 13, 2014

The Goodman Theatre has announced six of the eight plays that will be included in its 2014-15 season.



The Chicago theatre's 90th season, which is billed as a "season to celebrate," will feature the world premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness, by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, along with an encore production of the world-premiere Goodman commission Smokefall, by Noah Haidle.

Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn will be presented, along with August Wilson's Two Trains Running. Kristoffer Diaz's The Upstairs Concierge and Regina Taylor's stop. reset will also be offered.

For the holidays, the Goodman will collaborate with Second City to present A Christmas Carol and the holiday send up, Twist Your Dickens

"We are proud to present this Season in the same spirit that launched the Goodman in 1925: 'an array of dramatic fare, from classics to noteworthy contemporary works, innovative and oft controversial, embracing genres from farces to searing social dramas.' We hope to give our audiences compelling, relevant experiences from a range of culturally and aesthetically diverse artists, from bold new talents to acclaimed local and national voices," artistic director Robert Falls said in a statement.

Two additional productions will be announced a later date.

The season-at-a-glance follows.

The World of Extreme Happiness
In the Owen
By Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Directed by Eric Ting
A world premiere co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club
Sept. 13–Oct. 12
Opening night: Sept. 22

"When Sunny is born in rural China, her parents leave her in a slop bucket to die because she's not a boy. She survives, and at age 14 leaves for the city, where she finds work in a factory and attends self-help classes in pursuit of a coveted office position. But when Sunny's attempts at self-improvement lead to calamitous consequences for a fellow worker, she questions the system she's spent her life trying to master."

Smokefall
In the Albert
By Noah Haidle
Directed by Anne Kauffman
An encore of a world-premiere Goodman commission
Sept. 20–Oct. 26
Opening night: Sept. 29

"Change is in the air as Violet prepares to bring twin boys into the world. Inside her womb, her unborn sons contemplate their future, while the world around her is in transformation: her husband is secretly planning to leave her, her father is slipping into senility and her daughter has taken a vow of silence. Haunting and slyly funny, Smokefall explores the lives of this family in a lyrical treatise on the fragility of life and the power of love."

Rapture, Blister, Burn
In the Albert
By Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Kimberly Senior
A Chicago premiere
Jan. 17, 2015–Feb. 22
Opening night: Jan. 26

"Grad school pals Catherine and Gwen pursued completely different lives after graduation. Catherine became a controversial author, while Gwen married Catherine's ex-boyfriend Don and raised two sons. After a decade-long estrangement, the women decide to spend a summer reconnecting. But their impulsive attempt to trade places soon erupts in a heated battle for Don's affection and a fiery examination of their feminist ideals."

Two Trains Running
In the Albert
By August Wilson
Directed by Chuck Smith
In conjunction with the citywide celebration of August Wilson
March 7–April 12
Opening night: March 16

"The civil rights movement is sweeping across Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1969, but the promise of a better tomorrow hasn't quite reached all of the city's residents, some of whom gather daily at Memphis' diner to gossip about the neighborhood, dream about their futures and confront the brutal realities of the present. Now Memphis must decide if he should allow the government to take over his building or sell the property to a ruthless businessman."

The Upstairs Concierge
In the Owen
By Kristoffer Diaz
A world-premiere Goodman commission
March 28–April 26
Opening night: April 6

"Ella can't wait to start her new job as the upstairs concierge at a sleek hotel. Catering to celebrity guests is her dream — but it's hard to keep track of which guests are in which room, which guest is the biggest celebrity and which guests like to strip naked."

stop. reset.
In the Owen
Written and directed by Regina Taylor
A Chicago premiere
May 23–June 21
Opening night: June 1

"As e-books and digital technologies transform the literary world, Chicago businessman Alex Ames must confront the likely demise of his long-standing African-American book publishing company. While his employees fret over losing their jobs, Alex finds unlikely inspiration from a mysterious teenager, whose inventive, forward-thinking ideas may provide the solution to preserving Alex's legacy."

EVENTS AND CO-PRODUCTIONS
8th Annual New Stages Festival
In the Owen
Fall 2014 (dates TBA)

"New Stages 2014 will feature three workshop productions and three staged readings. Since 2004, New Stages has given Chicago the first look at new American plays — including Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined. Over the past three decades, Goodman Theatre has produced more than 100 premieres — approximately one third of which are authored by playwrights of color. Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer oversees the Goodman's efforts to develop new American plays with contemporary theater artists, including New Stages, the Playwrights Unit (annual residency program) and the theater's new works commissioning program."

A Christmas Carol
In the Albert
Adapted by Tom Creamer
Directed by Henry Wishcamper
Nov. 15–Dec. 28
Opening night: Nov. 23

"The Goodman's 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens' classic 1843 novella, is the unforgettable tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy business man with a disdain for holiday cheer in Victorian London. One Christmas, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on an incredible journey that offers him a new perspective on everything from his dusty past to his dark future, and presents him with an opportunity to sympathize with his fellow man and rediscover life and love."

The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens
In the Owen
By Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort
Dec. 5-28

"Goodman Theatre and The Second City team up to present a hilarious send-up of the Dickens holiday classic. The famous Victorian streets spring to frenzied life as Scrooge, Tiny Tim and those know-it-all ghosts find themselves hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the island of misfit toys and even little orphan Annie. Add in Second City's trademark improvisation and it makes for a heaping host of holiday hilarity for all. The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens is written by former 'The Colbert Report' writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort."

Individual tickets will be available for purchase in August. For a limited time, subscriptions start at $90 in honor of the season.

Call (312) 443-3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org for more information.