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Goodman Theatre announces 2016–17 season

Written by
Kris Vire

The Goodman Theatre has announced the lineup for its 2016–17 season, which marks artistic director Robert Falls's 30th year at the company's helm. The slate includes new plays by Andrew Hinderaker, Lauren Yee, Charles Smith and Dael Orlandersmith, as well as Chicago premieres of works by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Karen Zacarías and Annie Baker.

The season opens in the larger Albert Theatre with the previously announced Mary Zimmerman production of Wonderful Town, pushed back from the summer to accommodate War Paint. The 1953 musical, with a score by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and a book by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, follows two Ohio sisters making their way in Manhattan (September 10–October 16).

Next up in the Albert (after the perennial holiday staging of A Christmas Carol, November 19–December 31) is the Chicago premiere of Gloria, a workplace satire by Jacobs-Jenkins (Appropriate) about conniving editorial assistants at a glossy magazine that premiered last summer at New York's Vineyard Theatre. The original production's director, Evan Cabnet, will also stage the Goodman production (January 14–February 19).

Zacarías's telenovela-style comedy Destiny of Desire follows a pair of newborns switched at birth by a power-hungry beauty queen. Director José Luis Valenzuela, who staged the play's premiere last fall at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage, returns for the Chicago premiere (March 11–April 16).

Charles Smith's Objects in the Mirror concerns a Liberian refugee now living in Australia but harboring a dark family secret; Chuck Smith—not to be confused with the playwright—directs (April 29–June 4). Finally in the Albert, Falls returns to his frequent work on playwright Eugene O'Neill, directing the comedy Ah, Wilderness! (June 17–July 23).

In the smaller Owen Theatre, Hinderaker's The Magic Play, co-commissioned by the Goodman and New York's Roundabout Theatre Company, has a young magician putting on a show right after being dumped, with his personal life bleeding onto the stage. Actor and magician Brett Schneider stars, with direction by Halena Kays (October 21–November 20).

Falls will direct Annie Baker's adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (February 11–March 12), followed by the premiere of Yee's King of the Yees, inspired by her father and San Francisco's close-knit Chinese-American community; Joshua Kahan Brody directs (March 31–April 30).

Chay Yew helms Lady in Denmark, Orlandersmith's latest solo play, about a widow who finds solace in the music of Billie Holiday (May 19–June 18). Also in the Owen are the perennial New Stages Festival of plays in development (September 21–October 9) and the third annual Second City holiday comedy Twist Your Dickens (December 1–31).

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