CHICAGO, Monday, October 1, 2012. Working-class South Boston meets tony Chestnut Hill in Steppenwolf Theatre’s 2012-13 Season Opener “Good People” and BINGO!…get ready for the fireworks.
“Good People”, the Pulitzer Prize-winning David Lindsay-Abaire’s tale of class, which opened last week in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre is surprising, funny and witty. The finely-crafted play makes the audience look at many questions that often get swept under the carpet: “Are we responsible for the outcome of our lives or does privilege and luck trump personal integrity?” ” What does it mean to be a ‘good person’ in the face of another’s need?” “Is it luck or the choices we make that make us who we are?”
Each season, Steppenwolf picks a theme to explore. This season’s theme, The Reckoning, explores the moment when we are called to account. Will our deeds be repaid? Will our secrets be revealed? Will we get what we deserve?
“Good People” is the first of five stories that look at what happens when the past comes knocking. The story is especially timely as the discourse during this year’s Presidential race rages on as to whether we, as a country, are providing a level playing field for all of our citizens to achieve the American Dream…and questions if that dream even exists for today’s middle class.
“Good People” is set in the South Boston neighborhood affectionately known as “Southie”. Southie is a close-knit, blue-collar, predominately Irish-American community that is home to some of the oldest housing projects in the U. S. The story follows a small group of people whose lives were intertwined as they grew up together in Southie and now look back at their lives from different perspectives.
When life-long “Southie” resident and middle-aged single mom Margie Walsh (in a Jeff-worthy performance by Mariann Mayberry) is fired from her cashier’s job at the Dollar Store by Stevie (Will Allan, who plays the Store manager and truly is a good person), becomes threatened with eviction from her apartment by her landlord and childhood friend, Dottie (Molly Regan), she reaches out to old flame Mike (Keith Kupferer) to help her find a job.
It seems, her old-flame and former Southie, Mike has escaped the neighborhood to become a successful doctor who lives in the wealthy Chestnut Hill enclave. With a little nudging from another Southie friend, Jean (in a hilarious performance by Lusia Strus) Margie decides to visit the renown fertility specialist at his office. Although the good doctor does his best to try to rebuff Margie, she manages to wangle an invite to a party at his home.
When the doctor calls to tell Margie the party is off because his daughter is sick, she thinks she is being lied to so shows up at door anyway. She is met by the doctor’s African American wife, Kate (played with a cool demeanor by Alana Arenas) who at first mistakes her for the caterer then invites her in even though there is no party. From there, the at first p.c. conversation, escalates to out of control verbal exchanges and accusations.
Director K. Todd Freeman has orchestrated a top-notch production from the well-chosen cast with its great chemistry to designer Walt Spangler’s creative sets from the opening scene in the alley behind the Dollar Store to the elegant surroundings of Dr. Mike’s Chestnut Hill digs.
The play will make you think, it will make you laugh and provide you with an evening of outstanding theater. If you are not a regular theater-goer and can only choose one play to see in Chicago this fall, this may be the one.
Tickets to Good People ($20 – $86) at 1650 N Halsted St. or by phone at 312-335-1650 or online. Discount twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11a.m. on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online using promo code “PEOPLE15”. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket. Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Through November 11, 2012.
Street parking is available along Halsted or at the parking garage just south of the Theater.