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More World Premiere Plays Than You Can Shake A Stick At

By Julienne Bilker in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 13, 2009 9:25PM

Chicago theaters have begun announcing their 2009-2010 season lineups, and we’re glad to report that the trend of bringing brand spankin’ new plays to our fair city will continue. Between three of our most prominent companies, we’ll see nine new works.

2009_03_13_theaterlook.jpg Lookingglass Theatre’s three-play season is comprised of original scripts written and directed by company members. Slated for the fall is Fedra: Queen of Haiti. Described as “an explosive retelling of Phaedra that would make Euripides, Seneca and Jean Racine blush,” it is written by J. Nicole Brooks and directed by Laura Eason. Next up is Icarus, written and directed by Artistic Director David Catlin, which we’re guessing will include some of the acrobatic dexterity we’ve come to associate with Lookingglass. The season concludes with an exploration of the challenges faced by families in the digital age in Trust, written by Andy Bellin and David Schwimmer, who also directs.

2009_03_13_theatergood.jpg Goodman Theatre will present four premiere plays. First up is Joan D’Arc, a co-production with Linz 2009 European Capital of Culture set to live gospel music. Next is High Holidays, a dark comedy following a sixties Chicago suburban teen preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, written by Alan Gross. In February, we’ll see The Long Red Road, written by Brett C. Leonard and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, about a man trying to drink away his memories of a tragic accident. Around one year from now, Goodman-commissioned work A True History of the Johnstown Flood, by Rebecca Gilman, will be staged in the Albert Theater. Set in 1889, it recounts a “disaster [that] lays bare the tragic inequities of the rigid class system - and paves the way for a seismic change in both theater and society.”

Five other productions round out Goodman’s season: Animal Crackers, a musical based on the Marx Brothers film, opens the season in September. Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, directed by Robert Falls, and Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, both one-acts, will be presented in a double-bill likely headed to Broadway following the Chicago run. The Sins of Sor Juana, written by Karen Zacharías and directed by Henry Godinez, will open in June 2010. A Christmas Carol will be revived for the 32nd time. And if all of that isn’t enough for you, there is one more Spring 2010 production TBA.

2009_03_13_theaterstepp.jpg Steppenwolf Theatre bookends next season with two world premieres. Opening is Eric Simonson’s Fake, a play about authenticity, fidelity and the negotiation of truth. Anna Shapiro directs the closer - A Parallelogram, by Bruce Norris, which asks the question, “If you knew your fate - would you accept it?” In between are: David Mamet’s American Buffalo, directed by Amy Morton, The Brother/Sister Plays, a collection of three plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Tina Landau, and Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, directed by Frank Galati.