unnamed (16)It’s that 40-something thing when you start thinking about the life not lived.” Three generations of women balance choice, reality and expectations in the Chicago premiere of Rapture, Blister, Burn, Gina Gionfriddo’s “smart, funny and lightning-paced look at feminism” (New York Daily News), which began rehearsals this week at Goodman Theatre. Celebrated Chicago director Kimberly Senior makes her Goodman debut direct from her first Broadway show—Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced, which originated in Chicago and was recently named among The New York Times’ Best Theater of 2014. Rapture, Blister, Burn runs January 17 – February 22, 2015 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, January 26). Tickets ($25 – $81; subject to change) are on sale at GoodmanTheatre.org/Rapture, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is the Major Corporate Sponsor and PwC LLP and United Scrap Metal, Inc. are the Corporate Sponsor Partners for Rapture, Blister, Burn. Bella Bacinos is the Opening Night Party Sponsor.

“We are thrilled to work with Kimberly Senior, who is making a long-awaited Goodman debut after much success in Chicago and lately on Broadway, to bring this timely play to the Albert stage,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “She has assembled a magnificent cast and design team for a piece that is one of the most exciting and entertaining new plays in many years, examining a variety of heady questions with warmth, intelligence and sly humor. Rapture, Blister, Burn will be appreciated by anyone who has ever negotiated the tricky tension between one’s ideals and reality.”

Senior is a resident director at Writers Theatre, an associate artist at TimeLine Theatre and a founding member of Collaboraction. In Chicago, she has also worked at Northlight Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Next Theatre, American Blues Theatre and Redtwist Theatre.

“I love thinking of the play’s two main characters as the same woman who made completely different choices; I feel like I’m both of them. I’m a mother of two kids with a house in Evanston, but I was also just in New York directing a play. Am I trying to have it all? Can you have it all? I love the show’s dialogue about that because we have to be present in our own lives,” said Senior. “I’ve always dreamed of directing at the Goodman and have been working for 20 years to make this happen. The Goodman belongs to our city, so it’s a joy to be a part of this production.”

The title Rapture, Blister, Burn is taken from lyrics in Courtney Love’s “Use Once and Destroy,” which associates love with heroin addiction. Twenty-one-year-old college student Avery (Cassidy Slaughter-Mason) isn’t quite sure what she wants to do with her life, and the 40-something women around her—Gwen (Karen Janes Woditsch), a stay-at-home mom, and Catherine (Robin Weigert), an unmarried, in-demand scholar—don’t seem thrilled with their life choices. Gwen dropped out of graduate school years ago to chase domestic bliss, but now spends her days nagging her passive, porn-watching husband—and Catherine’s ex-boyfriend—Don (Mark L. Montgomery) to further his career, and dreading the day her children grow up and leave home. Catherine’s seemingly enviable career consumes all her energy, and she’s now begun to wonder if there isn’t some “wisdom in the natural order. In creating a new family to replace the one you lose.” Meanwhile, Catherine’s mother Alice (Mary Ann Thebus), who came of age in an era when women rarely set goals outside the domestic realm, can’t suss out whether women today are better off, or just more confused. The creative team includes Jack Magaw(sets), Emily Rebholz (costumes), Jennifer Schriever (lights) and Richard Woodbury(sound). Briana J. Fahey is the production stage manager. Jonathan L. Green is the dramaturg. Casting is by Adam Belcuore.

SPECIAL EVENTS (all events take place at Goodman Theatre unless otherwise noted)

Artist Encounter with Kimberly Senior

Sunday, January 25 at 5pm | $5 general public, FREE Subscribers, Donors, students

Artist Encounters bring together audiences and Goodman artists in an intimate environment for a behind-the-scenes look at the plays and the playmaking process. Join director Kimberly Senior as she discusses the process of bringing Rapture, Blister, Burn to life.

College Night: Pizza and Play

Wednesday, January 28 at 6pm – preshow reception; 7:30pm – performance | $10 with promo code COLLEGE (must redeem with valid student ID)

Enjoy pizza, pop and the opportunity to mingle with other students and meet the Goodman artists before a performance.

Women’s Night: “Women on Fire”

Wednesday, January 28 at 6pm – preshow reception at Petterino’s; 7:30pm – performance | $75

Women’s Night is part of Goodman Theatre’s Civic Engagement Series of thought-provoking and entertaining audience engagement events. Hosted by the Goodman’s Board of Trustees, Women’s Board and Scenemakers Board, the series is designed to deepen our engagement with the community and open up the broad range of work on our stages to diverse groups.

Free PlayTalks

Fridays, February 6, 13 and 20 at 7pm

One hour prior to select performances, members of the Goodman’s artistic staff present interactive in-depth talks to give patrons a deeper understanding of the work they are about to see.

CONTEXT: The Third Wave: Women, Men and Feminism

Monday, February 16, 6:30pm | FREE, though reservations are required atGoodmanTheatre.org

CONTEXT engages the community in conversation about issues raised within the Goodman’s plays and how they resonate in today’s culture. This discussion on Rapture, Blsiter, Burn explores how we use a feminist lens to critique our world and the choices we make amid cultural shifts brought on by technology, globalization and practices of resistance around the world.

Free Post-Show Discussions

Stay late for discussions about the play with members of the artistic team every Wednesday and Thursday evening throughout the run of the show.