Maria Manuela Goyanes will take over as Woolly Mammoth’s new Artistic Director next season, and her first season itself will be full of familiar Woolly friends — Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Rajiv Joseph, The Upright Citizens Brigade, Mike Daisey, and the Second City.
Even before the season begins, the Upright Citizens Brigade’s Damned if You Do will do some of its world-famous improv in the cause of good — in particular, in the cause of your good, Mr. and Ms. Audience Member. Do you have an important decision to make, such as should you tell your boss that the guy in the next cubicle is snoring so loudly he’s keeping you awake? The Upright Citizens Brigade, which helped Amy Poehler and Bobby Moynihan, among others, launch their careers — will help you make that decision by acting out its likely consequences. Then, when, years later, you are the President of the United States, you can say you owed it all to the UCB. From July 10-29, 2018.
For a few days after that, Woolly will offer a special non-subscription show — a return of monologist Mike Daisey. From July 31 to August 5, Daisey will give us The Story of the Gun, which will talk about guns in America.
McArthur Genius Grant Awardee Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon) starts out the regular season with Gloria, which asks the question: when an office full of writers becomes the site of a shooting, what’s the central dilemma? If you guessed “who gets to write the book” you are a winner. Ben Brantley of the New York Times calls Gloria a “whip-smart satire of fear and loathing in a beleaguered industry under siege”. From September 3-30 of this year.
The Second City comes to town for the holiday season once again, this time to present She the People, an offering from an all-women sketch team. Since a certain amount of improv is involved, your results might vary, but The Real Chicago’s Zak Buczinsky found that “She the People is both a zany and poignant survey of all things girl. With sketches ranging from one-minute-long scenes between daughters and mothers made to look like an exchange between an Uber driver and passenger to longer musical numbers about grandmothers who hate how their son-in-law raises their grandchildren, the show seeks to present everyday situations that women deal with in an over-the-top way.” December 8, 2018 to January 6, 2019.
Three young African American women try to make sense of their lives in Aziza Barnes’ BLKS, which will come to Woolly on February 4 of next year. “It would not be fair to this terrific play…to see it merely as conversational or reactive,” says the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones. “There is a deep longing for connection in the writing — a touching romanticism, actually, and the whole play often feels like a cry for the urban world to just be kinder and better and easier.” Through March 3.
When a plane crashed in Smolensk, killing the Polish President and many other leaders of the Polish Government, you would think that was the top story, wouldn’t you? But Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo; Guards at the Taj) imagines an even more extraordinary development — that secreted in the wreckage of that crash is a journal kept by the great Russian writer Isaac Babel, who was executed following a Soviet show trial in 1940. Describe the Night closes the Woolly season with a wild and woolly tale, involving the head of Stalin’s secret police, Babel’s granddaughter, and a mysterious KGB agent who might be the man who ends up being a Russian politician our President admires very much. From May 27 to June 23, 2019.
Woolly Mammoth will be producing one more show in its season, TBA at the date.
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