Get to Know the Playwrights of Goodman Theatre New Stages Festival

The Goodman Theatre 2015 New Stages Festival is underway. If you aren’t familiar with New Stages, it's like a workshop—but with way more bells and whistles. Several playwrights will have staged readings during the festival, and others even have the luxury of putting on “development productions,” including two weeks of rehearsal, budget and technical support from the Goodman.

Watching videos of the playwrights, directors and dramaturgs discuss the New Stages process makes me excited just to have the standby tickets I scored. Even if I don’t get in, though, I'm excited that we have many of the playwrights’ earlier works to get a feel for the diverse voices New Stages celebrates. Below are some highlights, and I made a list of even more of their plays and those of other 2015 New Stages playwrights for a deep dive.

Rebecca Gilman’s Rödvinsvänster (Red-Wine Leftists): 1977 gets a staged reading this year. The Chicago playwright is a favorite among CPL patrons, and Spinning Into Butter confronts race with a frankness that leaves you rethinking all your assumptions.

Octavio Solis has imagined a sequel to The Grapes of Wrath with his Mother Road, exploring the Mexican-American descendants of Steinbeck’s Joads. In his 2011 play Bethlehem, Solis explores violence and danger and the very nature of evil.

Dael Orlandersmith combines Billie Holiday’s jazz and Scandinavia with Lady in Denmark (and I for one can’t shake the suspicion that Hamlet will touch this production, inextricable as he is from thoughts of Denmark and the stage). Lady in Denmark is about a woman getting through grief; the theme of surviving and escaping runs throughout her plays, including Beauty's Daughter, Monster and The Gimmick (collected in this volume).