THE GOODMAN THEATRE continues its mini-streak of turning to high-profile actors with the surname “Lane.” After Nathan Lane’s turn in Robert Falls’ monumental production of The Iceman Cometh, the company announces that Diane Lane will join the season opener of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth. Chicago native David Cromer directs.
Lane has won numerous accolades, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 2003 for her performance in Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful. She makes her Goodman debut as Princess Kosmonopolis, the fading movie star who falls in love with gigolo Chance Wayne.
Chance is played by Finn Wittrock, who most recently appeared in Mike Nichols’ Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman.
Cromer’s gift for lively reinventions of mid-century American classics, such as Our Town, which he first staged for the Hypocrites in 2008 before it moved to a long off-Broadway run, paid off with a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2010.
Sweet Bird of Youth, which had earlier been planned as a Broadway production with Nicole Kidman and James Franco, marks Cromer’s Goodman debut as a director. (Cromer appeared onstage as Edmund Tyrone in Falls’ production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night in 2002.)
TUTA THEATRE CHICAGO, also known for bold takes on classics as well as work by contemporary European writers, shakes up its leadership. Co-founder and artistic director Zeljko Djukic has won a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the Drama Arts School in Belgrade, Serbia, for the 2012-13 academic year.
Jacqueline Stone, another co-founder for TUTA, will step into the artistic director’s chair. She is currently slated to direct the U.S. premiere of Miodrag Stanislavljevic’s The Silent Language, described as “a dark Balkan fairy tale,” in spring 2013
Djukic will remain in close association with his TUTA family as a founding director. The company’s current production of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, directed by Djukic, runs through August 18 at the TUTA Studio Theatre, 2010 W. Fulton.
RAVEN THEATRE’S KELLI STRICKLAND receives one of the ten DeVos Institute Fellowships at the Kennedy Center, which are awarded worldwide. The DeVos Institute of Arts Management will give Strickland, Raven’s director of education and outreach, and her peers, immersive training in all aspects of arts management for the 21st century.
Raven has also named ten new ensemble members: Michael Boone, Cathy Bowren, Cody Estle, Jason Huysman, Teri McCaskill, Sophia Menendian, Jen Short, John Weagly, Antione Pierre Whitfield, and Kristen Williams.
IN AN ELECTION YEAR, it’s perhaps more vital than ever that artists talk about the role of activism. On Saturday July 21, Halcyon Theatre presents a free panel discussion, “Revolution Is Not a One-Time Event,” as part of their current annual Alcyone Festival of works by women, which this year focuses on contemporary plays by Mexican women.
The panelists include Jamil Khoury, co-founder of Silk Road Rising; playwright, poet, and performer Milta Ortiz; theater educator, artist, and activist Marc Pinate; and Willa Taylor, Goodman Theatre’s director of education and community engagement. They will tackle the issue of using art as a force for social change. It takes place at the Greenhouse Theater Center from 2:30-4 p.m.
LOOKINGGLASS THEATRE, which runs its stunning original musical about the Eastland disaster through August 19, joins the Eastland Disaster Historical Society at noon on Saturday, July 21 to commemorate the 97th anniversary of the tragedy.
The company of Eastland will perform two numbers during the commemorative laying of the wreath at the Chicago River between Clark and LaSalle, where the boat rolled over while still in dock on July 24, 1915, killing 844 people.
An informal reception and a talk about the disaster follows at 1:30 in the Lookingglass Studio Theater at 821 N. Michigan Avenue before the matinee performance, and there will be post-show discussions for both the matinee and evening performances.
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