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Chicago Versus Broadway Part 2

By Suzy Evans in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 25, 2009 8:15PM


Just as the hullabaloo surrounding last year’s “it” play August: Osage County dies down, Chicago takes on the Great White Way for a second time with the Goodman Theatre’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms. The show is scheduled to start performances on April 14 at the St. James Theatre with opening night on April 27, making the Tony Award eligibility cutoff by 3 days.

While August enjoyed great success - a Pulitzer Prize, five Tony awards, a London production, a national tour launching Summer 2009 and a film in the works - Desire premieres on a very different stage. More than a third of the Broadway shows closed in January 2009, many current shows are suffering, and with the worsening economy continuing the outlook is not good.

However, there is some hope. August was rumored to be closing, but there are still tickets on sale for the Broadway production through late summer 2009. That’s pretty good for a production that started as a limited 16-week engagement back in fall 2007! Maybe Chicago is beating Broadway at its own game. Desire is scheduled for a 13-week run at the St. James -- filling the vacancy left by the premature closing of Gypsy on January 11 -- with the option to run longer if it's successful.

The original Chicago cast of Desire will take the Broadway stage, including Carla Gugino who left the Goodman earlier this month to promote film projects. The Goodman’s Desire is also part of “A Global Exploration: Eugene O'Neill in the 21st Century,” a theatrical event for which Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls brought six internationally acclaimed theater companies’ O’Neill interpretations to Chicago.

You still have a chance to catch the current Chicago production of Desire Under the Elms since it's been extended through March 1 at the Goodman Theatre.

Photo of Pablo Schreiber as Eben Cabot and Carla Gugino as Abbie Putnam taken by Liz Lauren