Niegel Smith Directs The World Premiere With An Ensemble Cast Featuring Karen Aldridge, Ayanna Bria Bakari, Jasmine Bracey, Bernard Gilbert, Maya Vinice Prentiss And Keith Randolph Smith
(Chicago, IL) “I’m preparing. I’m expecting. I haven’t figured out the path to creation yet.” Christina Anderson’s bold, imaginative portrait of three artist/intellectual couples exploring personal and professional legacy, How to Catch Creation makes its world premiere at Goodman Theatre. A playwright of note for more than a decade, with previous works at The Public Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, Anderson makes her Goodman debut. Niegel Smith, who most recently directed the smash sensation Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) last season at the Goodman, directs Anderson’s play, which appeared as a reading in the Goodman’s 2017 New Stages Festival.
Tickets ($20 – $70; subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Creation, by telephone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn). The Goodman Theatre Women’s Board is the Major Production Sponsor and WBEZ 91.5 is the Media Sponsor.
“When I first read Christina Anderson’s poignant, witty new work, I was struck by her ability to capture one of humanity’s most basic—and most profound—desires: to leave behind something of lasting import. As an artist and father of three, I felt a kinship with these characters and their uncertain journeys, travails and joys,” said Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls. “We are thrilled to welcome back Niegel Smith, a director whose vibrant visual style and sensitive approach to text and character make him an ideal match for this masterful play.”
A young writer’s life turns upside down when her girlfriend drops some unexpected news. Fifty years later, four artists feel the reverberations of that moment—and its unexpected consequences—as their lives intersect in pursuit of creative passion and legacy. The ensemble cast includes Karen Aldridge (Tami), Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Bernard Gilbert (Stokes), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Keith Randolph Smith (Griffin). The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (Set), Allen Lee Hughes (Lighting), Jenny Mannis (Costumes), Joanna Lynne Staub (Sound) and Justin Ellington (Composer).
Playwright Christina Anderson’s body of work includes the plays Blacktop Sky, pen/man/ship, The Ashes Under Gait City and Man in Love. Her plays have appeared at The Public Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Penumbra Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, among others in the United States and Canada. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and Epic Theatre Ensemble, a DNAWORKS ensemble member and the interim head of playwriting at Brown University. Awards and honors include the inaugural Harper Lee Award for Playwriting, two Playwrights of New York nominations, three Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominations and a Woursell Prize finalist. Anderson received her BA from Brown University and MFA from the Yale School of Drama’s playwriting program.
Director Niegel Smith is a Bessie Award-winning theater director and performance artist. He is the artistic director of New York’s The Flea; board member of A.R.T./New York and ringleader of Willing Participant, an artistic activist organization. His theater work has been produced by Alley Theatre, HERE, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, Mixed Blood, New York International Fringe Festival, New York Live Arts, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Playwrights Horizons, Pomegranate Arts, The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Summer Play Festival and Under the Radar Festival, and his participatory walks and performances have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, The Invisible Dog Art Center, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute and Visual AIDS. He often collaborates with playwright/performer Taylor Mac and with artist Todd Shalom. Smith was co-director of the critically acclaimed A 24 Decade History of Popular Music, winner of the Kennedy Prize in Drama, the Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. NiegelSmith.com.
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender.