Goodman Theatre proudly announces its cast for the world premiere of How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson—“a gifted playwright you want to pay attention to” (Variety). A vivid portrait of three artist/intellectual couples exploring life, children and marriage—coming together and coming apart--How to Catch Creation is directed by Niegel Smith, who most recently directed the smash sensation Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) last season at the Goodman. The ensemble cast includes Karen Aldridge (Tami), Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Bernard Gilbert (Stokes), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Keith Randolph Smith (Griffin). The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (Set), Allen Lee Hughes (Lighting), Jenny Mannis (Costumes) and Justin Ellington (Composer). Tickets ($25 - $70; subject to change) go on sale this Friday, December 7 at GoodmanTheatre.org/Creation, by telephone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn). The Goodman Theatre Women’s Board is the Major Production Sponsor and WBEZ 91.5 is the Media Sponsor.
A young writer’s life turns upside down when her girlfriend drops some unexpected news. Fifty years later, four artists feel the reverberations of that moment—and its unexpected consequences—as their lives intersect in pursuit of creative passion and legacy. In this bold, imaginative work, Christina Anderson dissects the universal act of creation to inspire the dreamers and idealists in us all.
Playwright Christina Anderson’s body of work includes the plays Blacktop Sky, pen/man/ship, The Ashes Under Gait City and Man in Love. Her plays have appeared at The Public Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Penumbra Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, among others in the United States and Canada. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and Epic Theatre Ensemble, a DNAWORKS ensemble member and the interim head of playwriting at Brown University. Awards and honors include the inaugural Harper Lee Award for Playwriting, two Playwrights of New York nominations, three Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominations and a Woursell Prize finalist. Anderson received her BA from Brown University and MFA from the Yale School of Drama’s playwriting program.
Director Niegel Smith is a Bessie Award-winning theater director and performance artist. He is the artistic director of New York’s The Flea; board member of A.R.T./New York and ringleader of Willing Participant, an artistic activist organization. His theater work has been produced by Alley Theatre, HERE, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, Mixed Blood, New York International Fringe Festival, New York Live Arts, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Playwrights Horizons, Pomegranate Arts, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Summer Play Festival and Under the Radar Festival, and his participatory walks and performances have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, The Invisible Dog Art Center, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute and Visual AIDS. He often collaborates with playwright/performer Taylor Mac and with artist Todd Shalom. Smith was co-director of the critically acclaimed A 24 Decade History of Popular Music, winner of the Kennedy Prize in Drama, the Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. NiegelSmith.com.
ABOUT THE CAST
Karen Aldridge (Tami) returns to Goodman Theatre, where previous credits include The Trinity River Plays, Proof (Black Theater Alliance Award, The Ruby Dee Award – Best Leading Actress in a Play), The Good Negro and The Cook (Jeff Award nomination for Best Actress). Additional Chicago theater credits include Victims of Duty at A Red Orchid Theatre; Love’s Labour’s Lost, MacBeth, Twelfth Night and Tug of War at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; The Seagull at Writers Theatre; Far Away and In the Blood (Jeff Award nomination for Best Actress) at Next Theatre Company; The Qualms, Clybourne Park and she originated the role of Tamyra in Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize nominated Man from Nebraska at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Aldridge starred in the international tours of Battlefield and Le Costume, both directed by Peter Brook. She also originated the role of Mrs. Phelps in the production of Matilda the Musical on Broadway. Film and television credits include Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med (NBC); Boss (STARZ!); Blue Bloods and Unforgettable (CBS); The Get Down (Netflix, produced and directed by Baz Luhrmann) and Ron Howard's film The Dilemma.
Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie) makes her Goodman Theatre debut. Theater credits include Indiana Repertory Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Emerald City Theatre, Raven Theatre, The New Colony, Red Theater, 16th Street Theater, TimeLine Theatre. She also performed in Stage Left Theatre’s Jeff nominated production of Insurrection: Holding History. Bakari is currently an ensemble member with The Story Theatre. Television credits include Chicago PD and a recurring role on ShowTime’s The CHI. She graduated with a BFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University and is currently represented by Stewart Talent.
Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche) returns to Goodman Theatre where she previously appeared in A Christmas Carol. Chicago credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Chicago Dramatists. Regionally, she has worked with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Resident Ensemble Players and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Bracey has toured with The Acting Company and appeared in several independent films and commercials.
Bernard Gilbert (Stokes) returns to Goodman Theatre where he previously appeared in Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Additional Chicago credits include Skeleton Crew (Northlight Theatre), Our Lady of 121st Street (Eclipse Theatre Company), Man in the Ring (Court Theatre) and a tour of Letters Home (Griffin Theatre). Regional credits include Two Trains Running at the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in Vermont, and productions of The Royale at City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh and the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Television credits include Chicago P.D. Gilbert received his MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and Morehouse College.
Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) Chicago credits include productions with Goodman Theatre, Definition Theatre Company, Pegasus Theatre Chicago and Teatro Vista. She is a recent MFA acting graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds a BA in drama from Spelman College. Prentiss is originally from Richmond, Virginia.
Keith Randolph Smith (Griffin) returns to Goodman Theatre, where he was previously in The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove and Jitney. Broadway credits include Jitney, American Psycho, Fences, Come Back Little Sheba, King Hedley II, Salome and Piano Lesson. Recent Off-Broadway credits include The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d, Paradise Blue, First Breeze of Summer and Tamburlane the Great. Regional credits include the Alliance Theatre in The C.A. Lyons Project by Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert, The Old Globe, City Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre, among others. Smith is a company member of Quick Silver Theater Company and The Actors Center. He is also the recipient of acting fellowships from TCG/Fox Foundation and the Lunt-Fontanne Foundation; and a graduate of the conservatory of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE
AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic 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 (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle;” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which marks its 41st production this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.
Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.
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 of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.
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