The Goodman: Chicago’s ‘Flagship’ Theatre?


Is the Goodman Chicago’s “flagship” theatre?

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune theatre critic, seems to think so.

This comment comes from his recent post, where Jones basically prints a retraction to his original review of Rebecca Gilman’s A True History of the Johnstown Flood — a show nearly every critic in the city had significant issues with (including Jones).

I’d be curious to know what criteria he’s using to determine what makes a theatre a “flagship”? History in the community? Budget? Grants? Cultural impact? What? It’s a pretty bold statement to make, and I feel he needs to back it up in some way.

As for the play, I haven’t seen it, so I (sadly) can’t comment on it or Jones’ retraction. However, I find it strange that he would feel the need to write such a fangirly post about the Goodman and Johnstown‘s director Robert Falls. I mean, Jones uses “ravenous,” “crashing-theatricality” and “essential” to describe the man.

Does Falls have some blackmail material on Jones? Lord. Calm down. I think it’s especially ridiculous when a critic’s main job is to remain objective.

Oh — and why haven’t I seen this play about the flood? Mostly because I’ve left the Goodman underwhelmed one too many times. And since I see theatre on my own limited time, I like to pick and choose things that I feel are worthwhile, amusing and/or unique.

Also — and a big also — I’ve contacted Goodman’s PR team multiple times to review shows either representing this blog or the EDGE network, and haven’t gotten a single response. Not even a “sorry, we can’t honor your request.” Apparently I wasn’t worth the time or effort to hit “reply.”

[EDIT: 4/15/10]: Goodman’s PR team recently contacted me and explained their blogger policy and outreach plans (they’re in development) and apologized for overlooking my previous review requests. All is good, and I look forward to seeing their next show(s).

Anyway…the Goodman = Chicago’s flagship theatre? I don’t know. It’s been around since 1925, so it’s deeply steeped in Chicago’s cultural history. But then again, they also produced Turn of the Century — a show that resulted in people paying to see Jeff Daniels sing and dance, so…

(Monica, over at Fragments, has some interesting things to say on this topic, too.)

4 thoughts on “The Goodman: Chicago’s ‘Flagship’ Theatre?

  1. I heard that this play wasn’t so great – I know people who walked out!! There must be blackmail involved somewhere… As for the Goodman being Chicago’s “flagship” theater…. I don’t know. I’m not sure I would go that far. As much theater as I see, I’ve never actually been to a Goodman production. I think that is more my fault than the fault of the Goodman.

  2. Bob and Kristen,

    Frankly, don’t judge your response to a show based on rumors. See it!

    I’ve seen the show twice, and while, yes, there are problems with the script, the show itself is still fantastic. I strongly urge you see the play and judge for yourself.

    1. Thanks, Anon –

      However, at $75 a ticket, with nearly every review being negative, and with so much other stuff to see, I’m not sure I’ll make an extra effort to fit it in.

      But, we’ll see.

      Glad you enjoyed it, though!

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