Tony Award Winner Robert Falls returns to Goodman Theatre to direct his adaptation of “The Cherry Orchard”
It’s at once a farewell and a homecoming for Robert Falls, who recently stepped down as Goodman Theatre Artistic Director after 35 years, when his major revival of The Cherry Orchard takes the stage this spring.
The production continues the 2022/2023 Season—the final Goodman season Falls programmed before Susan V. Booth assumed creative leadership (fall, 2022).
Following his critically-acclaimed productions of Three Sisters, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, over three decades, Falls now takes on Chekhov’s canonical masterpiece—an exploration of loss, love and how to live in a society that’s changing fast.
The Cherry Orchard appears April 1 – April 30, 2023 in the 856-seat Albert Theatre; opening night is Monday, April 10. Tickets ($25 –$80, subject to change) are available atGoodmanTheatre.org/Cherry or by phone at 312-443-3800. The Goodman is grateful for the support of The Roy Cockrum Foundation (Principal Support) and Mayor Brown (Corporate Sponsor Partner).
“As I contemplated leaving Goodman after thirty-five wonderful years, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to direct The Cherry Orchard,” said Robert Falls. “Widely considered Anton Chekhov’s finest, most challenging achievement, it still ranks supreme as a human comedy with tragic overtones for audiences and theater-makers alike. I’m thrilled to be working with a remarkable company of actors and designers to bring this luminous play to life.”
Falls’ cast features Chicago powerhouse Kate Fry (Lubov Ranyevskaya) leading a company of 19, including Will Allen (Semyon Yepikhodov), Kareem Bandealy (Lopakhin), Janet Ulrich Brooks(Carlotta), Felipe Carrasco (Yasha), Stephen Cefalu (Petya Trofimov), Matt DeCaro (Boris Semyonov-Pishchik), Christopher Donahue (Leonid Gayev), Amanda Drinkall (Dunyasha), Alejandra Escalante (Varya), Francis Guinan (Firs), Sam Hubbard (Stationmaster/Ensemble), John Lister (Postmaster/Ensemble), Bill Mcgough (Ensemble), Tyler Meredith (Ensemble); Flavia Pallozi(Ensemble), Tiffany Scott (Ensemble), Eric Slater (Passerby/Ensemble) and Raven Whitley (Anya).
Chekhov’s final play, The Cherry Orchard was performed just six months before his death at age 44. The aristocratic widow Madame Ranevskaya returns to her heavily-mortgaged estate on the eve of its auction and finds that the fate of much more than her beloved orchard hangs in the balance. Falls’ previous productions of Chekhov’s work at the Goodman include Three Sisters (1995, with a cast including Calista Flockhart, Susan Bruce and Jenny Bacon), The Seagull (2010, featuring Mary Beth Fisher) and Uncle Vanya (2017 in a Chicago premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s adaptation of the work, led by Tim Hopper in the title role). The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (Set Design); Sotirios Livaditis (Associate Set Design); Ana Kuzmanic (Costume Design); Caitlin McLeod DesSoye (Assistant Costume Design); Keith Parham (Lighting Design); Richard Woodbury (Sound Design); Brian Elston (Assistant Lighting Designer). Casting is by Lauren Port, CSA and Rachael Jimenez, CSA. Dramaturgy by Neena Arndt. Kimberly McCann is the Production Stage Manager and Jennifer Gregory and Caitlin Body are the Stage Managers.
Anton Chekhov (January 29, 1860 – July 15, 1904) practiced medicine throughout his adult life, but his work as a short story writer and dramatist proved more lucrative and enduring. Born in Taganrog, Russia, in 1860, Chekhov began his literary career as a freelance journalist, publishing humorous sketches of contemporary life. In 1887 he won the prestigious Pushkin Prize for At Dusk, a collection of short stories. Success as a playwright eluded him, however, and the 1897 premiere of The Seagull flopped. It was remounted in 1898 at the innovative Moscow Art Theatre, where director Konstantin Stanislavsky’s attention to the psychological realism of Chekhov’s text made the play a critical and popular success. Over the next few years, Moscow Art Theatre produced Chekhov’s other major plays, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.
Robert Falls most recently directed Rebecca Gilman’s Swing State. He also directed The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp for the Live series—productions live-streamed from the Owen Theatre to audiences at home in real-time. Additional recent Goodman credits include The Winter’s Tale, We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time, Pamplona, An Enemy of the People, 2666 and The Iceman Cometh. Falls’ Broadway productions include Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Talk Radio, Shining City and The Young Man from Atlanta. His Broadway production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida continues to be produced around the world. Previous Goodman productions include, most notably, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Desire Under the Elms, Finishing the Picture, The Misanthrope, Pal Joey, Galileo, House and Garden, Blue Surge, Dollhouse and Luna Gale. Falls’ honors for directing include a Tony Award (Death of a Salesman), a Drama Desk Award (Long Day’s Journey into Night), an Obie Award (subUrbia), a Helen Hayes Award (King Lear) and multiple Jeff Awards. For “outstanding contributions to theater,” he has also been recognized with such prestigious honors as the Savva Morozov Diamond Award (Moscow Art Theatre), the O’Neill Medallion (Eugene O’Neill Society) and the Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Award. Falls was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2015.
THE COMPANY OF The Cherry Orchard (in alphabetical order)
Semyon Yepikhodov ……Will Allen
Yermolai Lopakhin………Kareem Bandealy
Charlotta……Janet Ulrich Brooks
Petya Trofimov……..Stephen Cefalu
Boris Simyonov-Pishchik …….Matt DeCarro
Leonid Gayev….Christopher Donahue
Lyubov Ranevskaya ……….Kate Fry
Stationmaster/Ensemble 2….Sam Hubbard
Postmaster/Ensemble 3……..John Lister
Ensemble…. Flavia Pallozzi
Understudies for this production include Sam Hubbard (Yepikhodov/Yasha/Trofimov/Passerby and/or Postmaster), John Lister (Gayev/Pishchick), Bill McGough (Firs), Tyler Meredith (Varya/Dunyasha), Bridget Painter (Anya), Tiffany Scott (Charlotta/Ranevaskaya), and Eric Slater (Lophakin/Stationmaster and/or Postmaster).
Associate Direction by Georgette Verdin
Associate Set Design by Sotirios Livaditis
Set Design by Todd Rosenthal
Costume Design by Ana Kuzmanic
Assistant Costume Design by Caitlin McLeod DesSoye
Lighting Design by Keith Parham
Sound Design by Richard Woodbury
Assistant Lighting Design by Brian Elston
Choreography by Tommy Rapley
Casting is by Lauren Port, CSA and Rachael Jimenez, CSA.
Dramaturgy by Neena Arndt
Kimberly McCann is the Production Stage Manager. Jennifer Gregory and Caitlin Body are the Stage Managers.
ENHANCED AND ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES
ASL-Interpreted: Saturday, April 28 at 8pm – An American Sign Language interpreter signs the action/text as played.
Touch Tour and Audio-Described Performance: Saturday, April 29, 12:30pm Touch Tour; 2pm performance – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset. NOTE: Touch Tours for the 2022/2023 Season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.
Spanish Subtitles: Saturday April 29 at 8pm.
Open-Captioned: Sunday, April 30 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.
ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE
Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. 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 earner 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 fifth 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.
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 on the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre is led by Artistic Director Susan V. Booth and Executive Director/CEO Roche Schulfer. Theater leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Rebecca Gilman, Dael Orlandersmith, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith and Mary Zimmerman. Jeff Hesse is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Fran Del Boca is Women’s Board President and Craig McCaw is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.
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