Goodman Theatre Announces 2019/20 Season Update

Artistic Director Robert Falls announces an update to Goodman Theatre’s 2019/2020 Season. The Chicago premiere of School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh, directed by Lili-Anne Brown, originally scheduled for the Owen Theatre, will move into the 856-seat Albert Theatre; the Falls-directed major revival of Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel, originally scheduled for the Albert Theatre, will move into the 350-seat flexible Owen Theatre. Each production assumes the dates originally announced for the other: School Girls now appears March 7 – April 12 and Molly Sweeney now appears March 27 – April 26. Current Goodman Theatre Members will be notified of this shift, and tickets will be redistributed as needed. Tickets to these productions are currently available by membership only; packages start at $80. Call 312.443.3800 or visit season. Individual tickets will be available in 2020.

“After working on Molly Sweeney intensively over the past few months, I have come to realize that my production will be better suited for the more intimate space that our Owen Theatre provides,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “To accommodate this, we explored several options—including the possibility of moving School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play from the Owen into the Albert. Fortunately, School Girls’ director Lili-Anne Brown met this idea with enthusiasm, and we are thrilled that Jocelyn Bioh’s exuberant new play—one of the greatest Off-Broadway triumphs of recent seasons—will now have an opportunity to enjoy a larger audience, including school groups.”

The 2019/2020 Season continues through August 2020; a list of upcoming productions appears below. The Goodman is grateful to its 2019/2020 Season Sponsors: American Airlines, Northern Trust, ComEd, JPMorgan Chase and Company, Abbott Fund, BMO Harris Bank, ITW, KPMG, Mayer Brown LLP, PWC, Russell Reynolds Associates and Winston & Strawn.

Goodman Theatre’s 2019/2020 Season

Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary
Written and Performed by Marissa Chibas
On stage now through October 13 only, in the Healy Rehearsal Room

A co-presentation with Chicago Latino Theater Alliance as part of Destinos 3rd Chicago International Latino Theater Festival

This solo tour de force tells an astonishing tale centered on three towering figures in the life of performer Marissa Chibas: her father, Raul Chibas, who co-wrote the manifesto for the Cuban revolution with Fidel Castro; her uncle, Eddy Chibas, who was the frontrunner for presidency in 1951 before committing suicide during a live radio broadcast; and her mother, Dalia Chibas, Miss Cuba runner-up in 1959. Zigzagging through her own stories and key episodes in the history of her illustrious family, Chibas gives an impassioned, live wire performance that is propelled by her near-death experience in the Venezuelan Amazonia. Presented in English.

New Stages Festival
October 23 – November 10 in the Owen Theatre

A FREE celebration of new plays (full line-up appears below), now in its 16th year. Goodman Theatre presents its New Stages Festival–an annual celebration and discovery of new work by some of the country’s finest established and emerging playwrights. Since New Stages Festival’s 2004 inception, more than 80 plays have been produced as a developmental production or staged reading.

By Dave Harris

Directed by Monty Cole

A Developmental Production; appears in repertory (October 23 – November 9)

Tanya is determined to break her son out of death row—or die trying. She’ll need guns. She’ll need to get her hair done. She’ll need to save her son; but at what cost? This explosive tragicomedy challenges notions of motherhood, justice and generational trauma.

In The Sick Bay of the Santa Maria
Written by Rajiv Joseph

Directed by Robert O’Hara
A Developmental Production; appears in repertory (October 26 – November 10)

It’s 1492, and the Santa Maria sets sail towards a dangerous New World. In the ship’s dank and diseased belly, a young man with visions of sea monsters and the voice of an angel seeks counsel from a grotesque old physician. But nothing can prepare them for the freedom and salvation—and the prison and damnation—that lies dead ahead.

The Garden
Written and Directed by Charlayne Woodard
A Staged Reading: Saturday, November 9 at 10:30am

Claire Rose spends her days in upstate New York, quietly tending her vegetable garden as lovingly as she would nurture a child. When her newlywed daughter, Cassandra, arrives from Seattle hoping to know why mother missed her wedding, she uproots the grief Claire Rose thought was long buried—and now must confront.

(the) FAIR
A Fantastical Time-Traveling Exposition Through Chicago’s Future, Its Past and The Now

Created by Sandra Delgado and Sojourn Theatre Company

A Work-in-Progress: Saturday, November 9 at 1pm and 5pm

Set in 2033—100 years after Chicago’s last World’s Fair—this new performance piece invites artists and audiences to envision their ideal future Chicago, and identify who and what in the city’s past deserves to be remembered. Designed to appear in community spaces around the city.

Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts by Calamity West
Written by Calamity West

Directed by Kimberly Senior
A Staged Reading: Saturday, November 9 at 2pm

Calamity West is thinking about writing a new play. A fantasia. She imagines that it is set in 1986, and in it, The Playwright is writing his next play. Or, rather, struggling to write it. After an ugly breakup with his boyfriend, The Playwright is left to face his own creative inertia. Caught inside a maelstrom of secrets, lies and ghostly premonitions, he begins to find inspiration for his new work … but his own “gay fantasia on national themes” starts to look a little too familiar for his friends’ tastes. In writing a play that might just make it big, The Playwright must untangle the conflicting responsibilities that come with being an artist and being a friend.

The Humanities
By Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Niegel Smith

A Staged Reading: Sunday, November 10 at 10:30am

Lincoln University is under fire after a prominent professor invites a divisive political provocateur to deliver a speech on campus. As long-simmering tensions rise to the surface, students and faculty must pick a side. How far should higher education go to challenge students—and who is harmed in the process?

by Cheryl L. West

Directed by Henry Godinez
A Staged Reading: Sunday, November 10 at 7:30pm

A passionate and immersive call to action inspired by the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, whose courage and grit challenge us with the simple question: how ‘woke to the vote’ are we nearly sixty years later? Performed and sung by E. Faye Butler, this electrifying rally defines what it means to be a true revolutionary.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Adapted by Tom Creamer
Directed by Henry Wishcamper

November 16 – December 29, 2019 in the Albert Theatre

Acclaimed Chicago actor Larry Yando returns for his 12th season at Goodman Theatre as Ebenezer Scrooge in Goodman Theatre’s 42nd annual production of A Christmas Carol, directed for the seventh year by Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper. More than 1.5 million theatergoers have attended “the crown jewel of the holiday season” (Daily Herald) since the Goodman established it as an annual offering in 1978—a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production. Dickens’ holiday classic is the iconic tale of greedy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his disdain for the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future—helping him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship.

The Santaland Diaries
By David Sedaris

Adapted by Joe Mantello
Directed by Steve Scott

November 29 – December 29, 2019 in the Owen Theatre

Strapped for cash, a struggling actor takes a job as “Crumpet the Elf” at Macy’s Santaland—and his hilarious observations are more naughty than nice. Brimming “with [David] Sedaris’ wicked humor” (Chicago magazine), this “sweetly snarky holiday treat“ (Daily Herald) is perfect for those who prefer their eggnog spiked.

By Lisa Loomer

Directed by Vanessa Stalling
January 18 – February 23, 2020 in the Albert Theatre

Conceived in a pizza parlor and argued in the highest court in the land, 1973’s Roe v. Wade legalized abortion—and is hotly debated still today. The complex young women behind the trial—attorney Sarah Weddington and plaintiff Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”)—embark upon separate journeys that mirror the current polarization over the landmark decision. Shocking, humorous and “full of nuance and complexity” (NPR), Roe illuminates the heart and passion that each side has for their cause.

Graveyard Shift
By Korde Arrington Tuttle
Directed by Danya Taymor

February 7 – March 8, 2020 in the
Owen Theatre

When she receives the opportunity of a lifetime, Janelle relocates to Texas and moves in with her partner, Kane. Meanwhile, a small-town police officer’s life is thrown into flux when the coworker he’s romantically involved with decides to leave town. When their worlds collide, Janelle experiences firsthand how dangerous power can be. Loosely inspired by the legacy of Sandra Bland, Graveyard Shift is an unflinching but open-hearted look at how we navigate a world full of fear.

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
By Jocelyn Bioh

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
March 7– April 12, 2020 in the Albert Theatre

This biting and buoyant comedy, “ferociously entertaining, as heartwarming as it is hilarious” (The Hollywood Reporter), arrives in Chicago on the heels of a critically acclaimed, extended run Off-Broadway. As the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school sets her sights on the Miss Universe pageant, a new student unexpectedly changes the game. This “gleeful African makeover of an American genre” (The New York Times) spotlights the universal similarities—and glaring differences—of teenage girls around the globe.

Molly Sweeney
By Brian Friel
Directed by Robert Falls

March 27 – April 26, 2020 in the
Owen Theatre

In this riveting exploration of triumph and loss, master storyteller Brian Friel—“a towering figure of the stage, from Dublin to Broadway” (The Guardian)—reveals the unexpected consequences of a modern medical miracle. Blind since infancy, Molly agrees to a procedure that will restore her sight. But is it she who benefits most—or her ambitious spouse, or her doctor’s career? Robert Falls directs a major revival of this “astonishing, highly entertaining, deeply moving meditation on hope, change and despair” (The New York Times).

American Mariachi

By José Cruz González
Directed by Henry Godinez
April 25 – May 31, 2020 in the Albert Theatre

A Co-Production with Dallas Theater Center

Familia, amor and tradiciόn are at the heart of this hilarious and heartwarming new comedy about the freedom to dream big. Lucha spends her days caring for her ailing mother, but longs to shake up her 1970s home life. When a forgotten record album sparks her mother’s memory, Lucha and her cousin strike upon a radical idea: to create an all-female mariachi band. Infused with live mariachi music, this “big-hearted, musical tug at the heartstrings” (Denver Post) reveals how music and love can make just about anything possible.

The Outsiders
Based on the Novel by S.E. Hinton and Francis Ford Coppola’s Motion Picture

Book by Adam Rapp
Music and Lyrics by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine

Directed by Liesl Tommy
June 20 – August 2, 2020 in the Albert Theatre

The story that defined a generation is reimagined in a groundbreaking musical for a new generation. In 1967 Tulsa, Oklahoma, the hardened hearts, aching souls and romantic dreams of Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their band of greasers take center stage in a fight for purpose and a quest for survival. Adapted from S.E. Hinton’s seminal book and Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film, and directed by Tony nominee Liesl Tommy with a book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp, The Outsiders features a score by acclaimed Austin-based rock duo Jamestown Revival and Justin Levine.


Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and civic organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fourth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

As a theater arts and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Using the tools of the theatrical profession, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered free of charge for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.