Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Goodman Theatre's New Education Building, The Alice Is Open!

MAY 19-21


Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we're so excited about "The Alice". As a Chicago mom, theatre critic, and huge arts advocate, I'm beyond excited that these new facilities will enable The Goodman to expand their excellent educational arts programming. 

The children are our future, whether you are pre/post/or non parents of the birth to 18 year old bracket, raising a new generation of creative thinkers benefits us all. Theatre loving, arts loving kids make great problem solvers and assets to society. 

Build a play with your family, try your hand at stage combat, hear Chicago’s finest actors spill stage secrets—and more! Goodman Theatre proudly opens its Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement (“the Alice”) with free opportunities for audiences to sample the variety of programming offered in the theater’s newly dedicated space for classes, lectures, discussions and special performance events. May 19 is “Lorraine Hansberry Day,” with events connected to the critically acclaimed current mainstage production, Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, directed by Anne Kauffman (on stage through June 5). A schedule of events appears below; reservations are recommended as space is limited: or 312.443.3800.

Thursday, May 19 – “Lorraine Hansberry Day” in Chicago
12 Noon | Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed May 19, 2016 “Lorraine Hansberry Day,” in honor of what would have been the Chicago native playwright’s  86th birthday. The company of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window kicks off the special day with a reading of the mayoral proclamation—followed by birthday cake for all.
12:30pm | A conversation with artists about Hansberry’s body of work, the background and themes of the Goodman’s revival of her rarely-produced play, and her significance among American playwrights.
6pm | A screening of the 1961 film A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil and Diana Sands. Jackie Taylor, founder and executive director of the Black Ensemble Theater Company, introduces the film.
Friday, May 20
7pm | Listen to the Poem: Spoken Word and Open Mic
The Goodman Youth Poetry Ensemble delivers an electrifying performance featuring pieces from their past season and the work of other Chicago youth poets. Audience members are invited to share their own poetry works during an open mic session.
8pm | All tickets to this performance of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window are $10 for students.
Saturday, May 21
9am and 10:30am | Play ’N 90 Workshop (two sessions)
An interactive family program in which 5-12 year-olds and their parents/guardians fashion a theatrical creation together—in only 90 minutes.
10am | Insider Access: "How Do Actors Learn All Those Darned Lines?"
Meet acclaimed actor Mary Beth Fisher (star of such Goodman productions as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Luna Gale) and particiate in her creative process, bringing a script from page to stage.
12 Noon | PlayBuild Workshop
Realize your creative potential in this intergenerational collective workshop! Participants will create performance pieces using personal history and storytelling techniques.
2pm | Storytelling Workshop
Master the art of storytelling with teaching artists from the Goodman’s GeNarrations program. In this collaborative ensemble-based workshop, participants learn the basics of writing, editing and performing personal narrative stories.
3pm | Insider Access: “Slap! Kick! Punch!”
Have some energy to burn? Learn the art of stage combat, the technique used to perform physical combats without causing harm to actors, from a professional fight choreographer.
4:30pm | Insider Access: "Not Acting Our Age"
A lively discussion with a handful of Chicago actors age 55+ about their esteemed bodies of work and the thrill of a life in the theater.
In addition to these activities, all pre- and post-performance discussions—“PlayTalks” and “PlayBacks”—for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window and Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976 by Rebecca Gilman will take place in the Alice May 19 – 21, one hour prior to and immediately following each performance. Moderated by a Goodman artist, discussions include cast members and are free of charge for patrons.

About the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement (“the Alice”)
The Goodman becomes the first Chicago theater to establish a facility dedicated to education and engagement programs when it opens the Alice—the next phase in the Goodman’s decades-long commitment to educating Chicago youth and promoting lifelong learning for audiences of all ages. Named for the late Goodman Trustee Alice Rapoport, the Alice is a 10,000 square-foot, LEED certified (upon completion), $15 million expansion effort (of which 80% supports expanded programming) that deepens the theater’s practice of using its art as education—using the process of artistic creation to empower and inspire youth and lifelong learners. The new facility includes classrooms, a hands-on STEM learning lab, rehearsal spaces and more, and will enable the Goodman to impact hundreds more Chicagoans through its myriad education and engagement programs. Patrons access the Alice though the Goodman Theatre, entering at the south end of the mezzanine lobby. The Alice is named for the late Alice Rapoport, a Goodman Trustee, chair of the theater’s Education and Community Engagement Committee and passionate advocate for the theater’s outreach efforts.

Artist, educator and activist Willa J. Taylor, Walter Director of Education and Engagement, has led the Goodman’s programs since 2007. Taylor and her team of associates—Bobby Biedrzycki (Curriculum and Instruction Associate), Elizabeth Rice (School Programs Coordinator), Brandi Lee (Education and Community Engagement Associate) and Adrian Azevedo (Education and Engagement Assistant)—collaborate with the Goodman’s artistic and executive leadership to oversee programmatic efforts in the Alice.

About Goodman Theatre
Called America’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has won international recognition for its artists, productions and programs, and is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. 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), Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including “Outstanding Regional Theatre” in 1992), nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards and more. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s artistic priorities include new plays (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics (including Falls’ nationally and internationally celebrated productions of Death of a Salesman, Long’s Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy), culturally specific work, musical theater (26 major productions in 20 years, including 10 world premieres) and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion have been primary cornerstones of the Goodman’s mission for 30 years; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman’s 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color, and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Each year, the Goodman’s numerous education and community engagement programs—including the innovative Student Subscription Series, now in its 30th year—serve thousands of students, teachers, life-long learners and special constituencies. In addition, for nearly four decades the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago.
Goodman Theatre’s leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Visit the Goodman virtually at, and on Twitter (@GoodmanTheatre), Facebook and Instagram.

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