ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
EMMY AWARD-WINNER SEAN HAYES IS OSCAR LEVANT, WITH EMILY BERGL, PETER GROSZ, BEN RAPPAPORT, ETHAN SLATER, TRAMELL TILLMAN AND JOHN ZDROJESKI
***LISA PETERSON DIRECTS THE NEWEST PLAY BY THE PULITZER-PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR OF I AM MY OWN WIFE AND WAR PAINT IN THE ALBERT THEATRE MARCH 12 – APRIL 17, 2022***
This spring, the nostalgia of 1950s late-night talk-shows takes the stage in the world premiere of Good Night, Oscar—Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright’s exploration of the nexus of humor and heartbreak, the ever-dwindling distinction between exploitation and entertainment, and the high cost of baring one’s soul for public consumption.
Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor Sean Hayes leads the cast of seven as Oscar Levant—character actor, pianist and wild card. Director Lisa Peterson’s production also features Emily Bergl (June Levant), Ben Rappaport (Jack Paar), Peter Grosz (Bob Sarnoff), Ethan Slater (Max Weinbaum), Tramell Tillman (Alvin Finney) and John Zdrojeski (George Gershwin). Good Night, Oscar appears March 12 – April 17; opening night is Monday, March 21. Tickets ($25 - $98, subject to change) are now available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Oscar or by phone at 312.443.3800. The Goodman is grateful for the support of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (Lead Corporate Sponsor) and Winston & Strawn LLP (Corporate Sponsor Partner); in addition, Good Night, Oscar is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
“We are thrilled to produce the world premiere of this incredible new play by Doug Wright—an author I’ve long admired for illuminating his characters’ personal truths while infusing their stories with humor and wit. And we welcome director Lisa Peterson, who tackles classics and new works with equal vivacity and skill; her versatility makes her a perfect fit for Doug’s psychologically rich and highly theatrical new play,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “And we warmly welcome this stellar cast—led by Emmy Award-winning actor Sean Hayes, best known for his masterful portrayal of Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace. Sean has stepped elegantly between the screen and stage for many years, receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in Promises, Promises, and appearing in films such as The Bucket List, The Three Stooges and Pixar’s Monster’s University. I am delighted that Sean, who grew up in Glen Ellyn, makes his Goodman debut playing the brilliant and achingly human Oscar Levant.”
Halfway into the 20th century finds Americans glued to their TVs as Jack Paar’s amusing and always unpredictable banter echoes across living rooms. One night, he is joined by the equally unbridled pianist and character actor Oscar Levant. During an evening of witty one-liners—“there’s a fine line between genius and insanity; I have erased this line”—Oscar lays bare the necessity of insanity in the making of brilliant work and the cost he is willing to pay to entertain the masses in an episode that Paar’s audience, and the rest of America, won’t soon forget.
“I’m very excited to be back at the Goodman for a third time, with another play about a character plucked from history,” said playwright Doug Wright, whose previous work at the Goodman includes the musical War Paint (2016) and I Am My Own Wife (2005), for which he earned the Pulitzer Prize. “I hope Chicago audiences find Oscar Levant as irascible, lovable, infuriating and unexpectedly moving as I have during the process of writing about him.”
THE COMPANY OF GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR
Oscar Levant…….Sean Hayes
June Levant…….. Emily Bergl
Jack Paar………….Ben Rappaport
Bob Sarnoff………Peter Grosz
Max Weinbaum.. Ethan Slater
Alvin Finney………Tramell Tillman
George Gershwin…John Zdrojeski
Understudies for this production include Sam Bell-Gurwitz—Max Weinbaum/George Gershwin; Daniel Cantor—Bob Sarnoff/Jack Paar; Chiké Johnson—Alvin Finney; Tiffany Scott–June Levant; and David Turner—Oscar Levant.
Set Design by Rachel Hauck
Costume Design by Emilio Sosa
Lighting Design by Ben Stanton and Carolina Ortiz Herrera
Sound Design by Andre Pluess
Wig, Hair & Makeup by J. Jarad Janas
Casting is by Stephen Kopel. Dramaturgy is by Jacqueline Lawton. Kimberly McCann is the Production Stage Manager and Mario Wolf is the Stage Manager.
ENHANCED AND ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES
Visit Goodmantheatre.org/Access for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.
Touch Tour and Audio-Described Performance: Saturday, April 9, 12:30pm Touch Tour; 2pm performance – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset. NOTE: Touch Tours for the 2021/2022 Season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.
ASL-Interpreted: Friday, April 15 at 8pm – An American Sign Language interpreter signs the action/text as played.
Open-Captioned: Saturday, April 16 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.
Spanish Subtitles: Saturday April 16 at 8pm.
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.
Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, 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.
As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s Action Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Access (IDEAA) was born out of the belief that progress means action, which includes building on the decades-long commitment to using art, assets and resources to contribute to a more just, equitable and anti-racist society.
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 leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Rebecca Gilman, Dael Orlandersmith, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor 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.