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Helen Hunt and ‘Inherit the Wind’

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A new production of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” starring Helen Hunt, a staging of “The Color Purple” and a revival of the American classic “Inherit the Wind,” perhaps with Broadway aspirations, are all part of the Goodman Theatre’s 2024-25 season, announced Wednesday by the theater’s new artistic director Susan Booth.

The mainstage Albert Theatre season begins in the fall with “Inherit the Wind,” the famous 1955 play about the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, as penned by the late Jerome Lawrence and the late Robert E. Lee, to be directed at the Goodman by Henry Godinez. Casting has not yet been announced but, in a telephone interview, Booth described the likely actors as “exciting.” The show will run from Sept. 14 to Oct. 13.

Also in the fall, the Goodman will stage “Primary Trust” by Eboni Booth in the smaller Owen Theatre, under the direction of Malkia Stampley. The play is about a Black man who finds himself adrift after the provincial bookstore where he has worked for 20 years closes. It premiered off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theater Company in New York and will run at the Goodman from Oct. 5 to Nov. 3.

Following the annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” which Booth’s arrival has not changed, the Goodman will stage the hit Broadway play “Fat Ham” by James Ijames, in collaboration with the Definition Theatre Company and directed by the rising director Tyrone Phillips. A riff on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and a critical hit on Broadway, “Fat Ham” will play in the Owen from Jan. 11 to Feb. 23, 2025.

The famously tense, sexy and prismatic “Betrayal,” directed by Booth and starring Hunt, follows in the Albert Theatre from Feb. 8 to March 16, 2025. The rest of the cast has not yet been announced.

“BUST, An Afrocurrentist Play,” a new play by Zora Howard, follows in the spring. This co-production with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta (Booth’s former theater) is an edgy comedy and will be directed by the prominent Lileana Blain-Cruz. Following a world premiere at the Alliance, the play will run in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre from April 19 to May 18, 2025.

Also in the spring in the Owen Theatre, the longtime Chicago director David Cromer will come to the Goodman to direct a new contemporary play by Jordan Harrison, the author of “Marjorie Prime” and other works. Precise dates have yet to be announced and the work is as yet untitled.

The Goodman’s summer slot in the Albert Theatre will be taken by Lili-Anne Brown’s new production of “The Color Purple,” from June 21 to July 27, 2025.  The Broadway musical has been produced in the Chicago area several times before, including a long run at the Cadillac Palace of the original Broadway production and a Drury Lane Theatre staging, also directed by Brown. Booth said the Chicago-based director was enthusiastic about returning to this musical, which was released last year as a new movie.

Various other events will take place during the season, including a yet-to-be announced special show for pre-schoolers (no dates yet), a summer 2025 “celebration of local Indigenous artistry,” in partnership with the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, and a fall 2024 takeover of the Goodman’s Magic Parlour space by Latine magicians as part of Destinos Festival.

The Goodman also said that Booth has retained the prior artistic collective at the theater. At the start of the 2024-25 season, John Collins assumes the role of executive director as Roche Schulfer retires.

Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

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