Windy City east? Chicago's theater stars working in NYC

November 17, 2010

There are so many Chicago directors working in New York this season, it should be called "Windy City East." Goodman Theatre resident director Chuck Smith is there now directing "Knock Me a Kiss" by Charles Smith (different person/no relation) for the New Federal Theatre (opens Nov. 21). Playwright Smith is a member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. Then MacArthur "Genius" Fellow David Cromer begins rehearsals in January for a Broadway revival of William Inge's "Picnic" (cast and opening date TBA). Next, veteran Gary Griffin returns to the Encore! series at New York's City Center for a concert staging of "Lost in the Stars" by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson (Feb. 3-6).

Then, Steppenwolf's Anna D. Shapiro will stage "You Can't Take It With You" for an April Broadway opening. Finally, it's Cromer again next fall with the Broadway production of a new musical "Yank," about a gay soldier in World War II (previously seen in a successful Off-Broadway production at the York Theatre with a different director). Cromer's attachment to "Yank" is surprising because (1) he isn't associated with musicals and (2) he's also committed to directing a revival of Tennessee Williams's "Sweet Bird of Youth" next fall, starring Nicole Kidman. Maybe all them Chicagoans finally will teach New Yawk what a decent slice of pizza should taste like.