Dear Audience Member,
Each fall for the last 11 years, the Goodman’s artistic staff has had the opportunity to pull back the curtain and invite audiences to see the new projects we’ve been researching, developing and dreaming about behind the scenes. Featuring a handful of the best new plays we’ve read over the course of the last year, the annual New Stages Festival serves as a testing ground, drawing our audiences into a conversation about the works we’re considering for future seasons. New Stages also functions as a laboratory where accomplished theater artists from Chicago and around the country can experiment with new and ambitious ideas on a larger scale than many new play development processes allow. The goal is to create a pathway for new plays to move to full productions at the Goodman and the work has paid off: each year since its inception, at least one play from New Stages has gone on to be presented as part of the Goodman’s regular season, including this season’s Feathers and Teeth, Another Word for Beauty, Carlyle and the special theatrical event 2666.
Moving a new play from words on a page to full production is a labor-filled and time-intensive process. The writer often begins in isolation, but by definition a play relies on a group of collaborators–actors, designers, a director–for it to take shape. In spite of the months, sometimes years, of work that goes into the creation of a new play, playwrights often aren’t truly able to see what they’ve created until the moment the play is in front of an audience. With this in mind, the Goodman expanded New Stages in 2011, adding three fully staged developmental productions to its existing lineup of staged readings. These productions, which offer three weeks of rehearsal, modest production values and multiple performances, provide playwrights with all the elements of a full production without some of the pressures of a world premiere–such as the scrutiny of critics.
This year’s plays are wildly ambitious in terms of the scope of stories being told and the theatrical language used to tell them. Full descriptions of the New Stages developmental productions and staged readings can be found here: Mother Road, King of the Yees, Objects in the Mirror, Readings. Remember, tickets to all New Stages readings and productions are free. We hope to see you at the theater, where you will be among the first to see these compelling new stories and take part in the conversation about the future of American theater.