Goodman Theatre announced today that Artistic Director Robert Falls will direct its 2018/2019 season opening production, We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time, written and performed by David Cale—Obie Award-winning “spellbinding storyteller” (Los Angeles Times). Falls, who first invited Cale to the Goodman in 1988 (The Redthroats in the Goodman Studio), replaces previously-announced director Tony Speciale. A musical memoir of hope, family and transcendence, Cale’s newest solo performance piece features songs he has written, with arrangements and underscoring composed by Matthew Dean Marsh—performed live by Marsh and a quintet of musicians at each performance. We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time appears September 15 – October 21 in the Albert Theatre. Tickets ($20-75; subject to change) are on sale now at Goodman Theatre.org/Alive, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Abbott is the Major Production Sponsor.
“We are thrilled to open our new season with We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time—a strikingly beautiful new work from one of the most gifted artists I’ve been privileged to collaborate with over the course of 30 years,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Highly personal and unusually intimate, David’s play is a complex journey of survival and transformation—and we are grateful to Tony Speciale for the role he played in the process of its development. I look forward to sharing this extraordinary story with Chicago audiences—many of whom first welcomed him here, so many years ago.”
David Cale’s work, which combines "reality, fantasy and an almost clairvoyant insight into personality" (New York Times), was most recently seen Off-Broadway (Harry Clarke featuring Billy Crudup). He returns to the Goodman for his seventh work, following previous productions of The Redthroats (1988), Smooch Music (1989), Deep in a Dream of You (1991), Somebody Else’s House (1993), Lillian (1997) and Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky (2005).
We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time is a musical memoir told with humor and wit in Cale’s unique style. Growing up in an industrial English town, Cale escaped his parents’ fraught marriage by singing in his bedroom and tending to birds in the animal hospital he built in a garden shed—until a tragedy changed everything. Lushly arranged songs and an intimate portrait of his mother—a charismatic woman trapped by her circumstances—unite in a vivid testament of connecting to life when adversity is suddenly everywhere. We're Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time was developed, in part, at SPACE on Ryder Farm; Weston Playhouse Theatre Company (Weston, VT); the 2018 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA; Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater; and Goodman Theatre’s New Stages festival.
Cale’s other solo shows include The History of Kisses, Palomino and A Likely Story; his duet works include The Blue Album (in collaboration with Dael Orlandersmith) and Betwixt. He composed the songs for 600 Highwaymen’s Employee of the Year (Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater, Bessie Award nomination) and has written lyrics for songs sung by artists including Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello. A show of his songs--Songs for Charming Strangers, performed in collaboration with Marsh—is ongoing. As an actor, Cale’s film and television credits include The Slaughter Rule, Pollock and The Good Wife. He has performed in plays on Broadway and off, including The Total Bent (Public Theater).
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 four-decade annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which 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 in 1925 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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