REBECCA GILMAN EXPLORES FAITH, FAMILY AND ONE CHILD’S UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN LUNA GALE, DIRECTED BY ROBERT FALLS, JANUARY 18 – FEBRUARY 23, 2014

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Who best determines an infant’s fate among differing values concerning drugs, religion and child rearing? Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebecca Gilman asks this question and more in her latest play, Luna Gale, directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls in their fourth collaboration. Gilman’s seven Goodman productions—six of which were world premieres, including five commissions—make her one of the most-produced contemporary playwrights in the theater’s history. Appearing in her 16th Goodman production, Chicago stage favorite Mary Beth Fisher—who also originated roles in Gilman’s Spinning Into Butter and Boy Gets Girl—stars as veteran social worker Caroline, who is charged with making tough decisions about the future of Luna Gale, a vulnerable child. The recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, Luna Gale is part of the Goodman’s “Great Women at Play” subscription package, featuring works written and/or directed by Rachel Rockwell (Brigadoon), Joanie Schultz (Venus in Fur), Jessica Thebus, Tracey Scott Wilson (Buzzer) and Mary Zimmerman (The White Snake). Luna Gale runs January 18 – February 23 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, January 27). Tickets ($25 – $81; subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Luna, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman Women’s Board is a Major Production Sponsor and Mayer Brown is a Corporate Sponsor Partner. Ogletree Deakins and U.S. Bank are the Opening Night Sponsors. Audience enrichment events and a full performance calendar follow.

“I have worked with a variety of playwrights, but none whose work I admire more than Rebecca Gilman’s. From her first major work, Rebecca has proven to be one of the most eloquent and most accomplished contemporary voices, and has tackled some of the most elusive and problematic social issues with honesty, courage and profound humanity,” said Falls. “She has created an enormously complex world in Luna Gale, and we have enlisted the remarkable Mary Beth Fisher as Caroline, whose previous collaborations with Rebecca have established her expertise at capturing the ambiguities, uncertainties, and overwhelming humanity of Gilman’s central characters.”

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Over the past two decades, Gilman has become known for her unflinching works about contentious social issues—such as race in Spinning Into Butter; violence against women in Boy Gets Girl; class in Blue Surge; and whether to have a child or remain child-free in The Crowd You’re in With, to name a few.

“Part of the feeling behind Luna Gale is an observation that when we fail people because we haven’t taken care of them, we turn our anger on them, and it’s because we know we’re at fault. That dynamic drove the emotional heart of the play,” said Gilman. “It’s thrilling that Bob, Mary Beth and I can collaborate together for the first time.”

Veteran social worker Caroline (Fisher), thinks she has a typical case on her hands when her boss Cliff (Erik Hellman) assigns her to Peter and Karlie (Colin Sphar and Reyna de Courcy), two drug-addicted teenagers accused of neglecting their infant daughter. But when she places their baby in the care of Karlie’s mother (Jordan Baker), who is strongly influenced by her pastor (Richard Thieriot), Caroline sparks a family conflict that exposes a secretive past and—after the outcome of a previous case (Melissa DuPrey)—forces her to make a risky decision with potentially life-altering consequences.

“Rebecca has a dark sense of humor with a serious edge; she is very serious about addressing social ills,” said Fisher. “There is a lot to consider with Luna Gale, and I think my character is really exploring what it means to have faith—spiritual faith, faith in yourself, faith in your intuition, faith in other people and faith in an unpredictable future. I find that really beautiful.”

Robert Falls first encountered Rebecca Gilman—“one of Chicago’s hottest playwrights” (Chicago Tribune)—when he read her 1998 play The Glory of Living (a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist that was first produced at Circle Theatre). Soon after, Falls commissioned Gilman to write a new play for the Goodman; she responded with Spinning Into Butter (premiered in the Goodman Studio in 1999, directed by Les Waters, subsequently produced at Lincoln Center Theater in 2000, and most recently made into a feature film starring Sarah Jessica Parker). The show’s run was extended three times and led to Gilman’s next Goodman commission, Boy Gets Girl (premiered at the Goodman in 2000, directed by the late Michael Maggio), which transferred to New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club and was named by Time magazine as one of the “Best Theatre Productions of the Decade.” Falls later directed both Blue Surge (2001) and Dollhouse (2005)—a modern interpretation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. The Crowd You’re In With, directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, made its Chicago debut in 2009 at the Goodman, followed by A True History of the Johnstown Flood, a Goodman commission that had its world premiere at the Goodman in 2010 under Falls’ direction.

EVENTS AROUND LUNA GALE

COLLEGE NIGHT
Enjoy pizza, pop and the opportunity to mingle with other students and Goodman artists before a performance of Luna Gale.
Wednesday, January 22, 6pm | Goodman Theatre | $10 with promo code COLLEGE (must redeem with valid student ID)

ARTIST ENCOUNTER
A discussion with playwright Rebecca Gilman and director Robert Falls.
Sunday, January 26, 5pm | Goodman Theatre | FREE for Subscribers, Donors and students with ID; $5 general public
Reservations are required. Call 312.443.3800 to reserve your seats.

PROFESSIONALS NIGHT
A pre-show reception for social work and family law professionals, with remarks from a Luna Gale artist before that evening’s performance.
Wednesday, January 29, 6pm | Goodman Theatre | $40 with promo code PROFESSIONAL

PRE- AND POST-SHOW DISCUSSIONS
Arrive early or stay late for discussions about the play with members of the artistic team
Goodman Theatre | FREE Pre-show (7pm): Jan 31, Feb 7, 14 and 21 | Post-show: Wednesdays and Thursdays

THE INTERVIEW SHOW at MCA CHICAGO’S “FIRST FRIDAYS”
Host Mark Bazer welcomes director Robert Falls to this monthly variety talk show.
Friday, February 7, 6:30-7:30pm | MCA Chicago | $14 advance/$18 general admission at MCAChicago.org

CONTEXT: WEDNESDAY’S CHILDREN
A discussion about the system designed to support our most vulnerable children.
Monday, February 3, 6:30pm | Goodman Theatre | FREE, visit GoodmanTheatre.org to reserve tickets