Shining City, Directed by Falls, Opens Jan. 21 in Chicago

News   Shining City, Directed by Falls, Opens Jan. 21 in Chicago
Goodman Theatre's first work of 2008 is the acclaimed Conor McPherson play, Shining City, directed by Goodman artistic director — and the 2006 Broadway production's director — Robert Falls. It opens Jan. 21 after previews from Jan. 12 in Chicago.
John Judd in Shining City
John Judd in Shining City Photo by Peter Wynn Thompson

The cast of resident actors boasts Jay Whittaker (Frank's Home); Nicole Wiesner (Passion Play: a cycle in three parts) and John Judd and Keith Gallagher, both in their Goodman debut.

A "contemporary ghost story about man's search for love, faith and meaning," Shining City will play to Feb. 17. Under Falls' direction on Broadway, for Manhattan Theatre Company, the play was a 2006 Tony Award nominee in the category of Best Play.


"Conor McPherson is one of Ireland's foremost living storytellers who, at a shockingly young age, has achieved international success with his unerring ear for dialogue and vivid sense of character," stated director Robert Falls. "Shining City is a rich, poetic and harrowing journey through the labyrinth of the heart and spirit — a work I believe is one of Conor's finest achievements. I am thrilled to bring this piece, with a remarkable new cast, to Chicago."

According to Goodman notes, "Falls first met McPherson in 1992, while in Dublin directing the Goodman's production of The Iceman Cometh at the Abbey Theatre. When McPherson, who has directed a number of his own plays, found that he was unavailable to direct Shining City at New York's Biltmore Theater on Broadway, he asked Falls to helm the premiere, which featured a cast that included Oliver Platt, Brian F. O'Byrne and Martha Plimpton — and was nominated for two Tony Awards [for Platt as Best Actor and Best Play]." McPherson stated, "Bob's instincts and approach as an American director allow him to deliver Shining City in a way that is keen and meaningful for an American audience — which feels to me almost like a translation, very spirited and interesting. I've long admired Bob's body of work, and I'm excited that Shining City will have its Chicago premiere at Goodman Theatre."

McPherson is currently represented on Broadway with The Seafarer.

Set in present-day Dublin, Shining City "takes place in the disheveled office of Ian [Whittaker], a former priest turned therapist. His newest patient is John [Judd], a distraught middle-aged man who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident. John is having trouble sleeping and is desperate for help — but Ian is wrestling with his own demons, including a crumbling relationship, a new baby and the search for his rightful place in the world. John soon reveals to Ian the source of his insomnia: he has been visited by the ghost of his dead wife."

The design team for Shining City includes Santo Loquasto (set designer), Kaye Voyce (costume designer), Christopher Akerlind (lighting designer) and Obadiah Eaves (sound designer/composer). Tanya Palmer is the dramaturg and Linda Gates is the vocal coach.

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Nicole Wiesner and Jay Whittaker in the Goodman production of <i>Shining City</i>
Nicole Wiesner and Jay Whittaker in the Goodman production of Shining City Photo by Peter Wynn Thompson
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