After more than three decades leading creative operations for Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Tony winner Robert Falls will end his tenure as artistic director at the completion of the current 2021–2022 season.
Falls will program the 2022–2023 season, in which he will direct two productions. Over the coming months, the Goodman will conduct a search for his successor.
Goodman Theatre Executive Director Roche Schulfer said, “When Robert Falls became artistic director in 1986, he brought a host of ideas that would transform our theatre and our industry. Bob believed that the Goodman should be a place where all members of our community could see themselves and their experiences reflected on stage. He created an ‘Artistic Collective’— theatre artists whose varied cultural and aesthetic identities ensured a variety of visions would be evident in every season. Bob’s artistic sensibility and commitment to producing powerful, provocative work have earned the Goodman unparalleled artistic distinction—from a Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre to a Time magazine citation as ‘outstanding professional resident theatre’ to, most recently, a ground-breaking Live theatre series broadcast to audiences at home—and have made the Goodman one of the nation’s most respected theatres. As an artist, colleague, friend, and leader, his vision and generosity are unrivaled; working in partnership with him has been an experience for which I will be forever grateful.”
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Falls added, “For more than three decades, I’ve had the honor, privilege, and pleasure of service as artistic director of Goodman Theatre. After what has been a thrilling and rewarding journey, I feel it’s time for us both to move on to new adventures. For me, a new chapter of professional opportunities awaits—including creative projects I’ve previously been unable to accept. I love this theatre with all my heart; it’s been an artistic home, and it will be a bittersweet departure.
I am deeply grateful to all those who have supported and believed in my work at the Goodman: the trustees, the artists and artisans, the staff, and a hugely loyal audience—all of whom have made the theatre one of the finest in the world. It's been a joyous experience to have been part of this wild and wonderful Chicago theatre community that I have watched grow and flourish over these past decades, and I look forward to continuing to work and collaborate with my friends and colleagues here and throughout the country after stepping down as artistic director in the summer of 2022…In my last year as artistic director, as the Goodman welcomes audiences back into our theatre, I will be overseeing an exciting line up of shows that exemplify the range and diversity of our programming. I will also put together the 2022-2023 season, in which I will direct two new productions. This will provide the theatre with ample time to prepare for a smooth transition and allow my successor the time to plan their own first season.”
Two of Falls’ most highly acclaimed Broadway productions—Death of a Salesman and Long Day’s Journey into Night—first staged at the Goodman—were honored with seven Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. Other noteworthy Broadway productions include Desire under the Elms; The Night of the Iguana; Conor McPherson’s Shining City, Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio, The Rose Tattoo, Horton Foote's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Young Man from Atlanta, and Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida.
For the Goodman, Falls’ credits include Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale and Dollhouse, King Lear, Measure for Measure, Galileo, The Tempest, Hughie, A Touch of the Poet, The Misanthrope, Landscape of the Body, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, his own adaptation of The Seagull, and the Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey, for which he wrote a new book. He also directed the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden and the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s final play, Finishing the Picture.
The Goodman was also the first theatre in the country to produce all 10 plays of August Wilson’s cycle of works chronicling the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century. The Goodman’s relationship with the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright began with Fences (1986) and, under Falls’ leadership, included two world-premiere productions: Seven Guitars (1995) and Gem of the Ocean (2003).
Falls is the recipient of multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards as well as the O’Neill Medallion (Eugene O’Neill Society) and the Savva Morozov Diamond Award from the Moscow Art Theatre. In 2015, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.