Robert Falls 25th Anniversary

In 1986, Robert Falls was named Artistic Director of Goodman Theatre. In the 25 years that have followed, Falls—in partnership with Executive Director Roche Schulfer—has led the Goodman into the national spotlight and helped make it one of the most highly regarded theaters in the country. His tenure has been marked by extraordinary artistic achievement and highlighted by hundreds of accolades and awards for the Goodman—among them a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, a Pulitzer Prize for Lynn Nottage's Ruined, and being named "Top Regional Theatre" by Timemagazine. During Falls' tenure, the Goodman also planned, constructed and moved into its state-of-the-art, two-theater complex on North Dearborn Street.

Recently dubbed "Chicago's most essential director" by the Chicago Tribune, Falls will have staged 35 productions at the Goodman, including 10 world premieres, between 1986 and the close of the 2011/2012 season. Since moving into the new theater complex, he has also produced major play festivals showcasing the works of Edward Albee, David Mamet, Horton Foote and Eugene O'Neill. Below are lists of Falls' Goodman directorial credits, major Broadway/Off-Broadway transfers overseen during his tenure, and notable awards and honors:

* World premiere ** American premiere *** Midwest premiere


  • Red by John Logan (Goodman Theatre)***


  • The Seagull by Anton Chekhov (Goodman Theatre)
  • The True History of the Johnstown Flood by Rebecca Gilman (Goodman Theatre)*
  • Hughie by Eugene O'Neill (Goodman Theatre)


  • Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O'Neill (Goodman Theatre)


  • Shining City by Conor McPherson (Goodman Theatre)***
  • American Buffalo by David Mamet (Belasco Theatre, NY)***


  • Talk Radio by Eric Bogosian (Longacre Theatre, NY)


  • King Lear by William Shakespeare (Goodman Theatre)
  • Frank's Home by Richard Nelson (Goodman Theatre)*
  • Shining City by Conor McPherson (Manhattan Theatre Club/Biltmore)**
  • A Life in the Theatre by David Mamet (Goodman Theatre)


  • Dollhouse by Rebecca Gilman (Goodman Theatre)*
  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (Lyric Theatre, London)
  • Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice (Walt Disney Theatrical Productions/ Germany, Japan, South Korea)


  • Hughie by Eugene O'Neill (Goodman Theatre)
  • Finishing the Picture by Arthur Miller (Goodman Theatre)*


  • The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee (Goodman Theatre)***
  • Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill (Plymouth Theatre, NY)


  • Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan (Goodman Theatre)***
  • The Guys by Anne Nelson (Goodman Theatre/Northlight Theatre co-production)
  • Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill (Goodman Theatre)
  • Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman (Joseph Papp Public Theater, NY)
  • Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice (Walt Disney Theatrical Prods./ Netherlands)


  • Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman (Goodman Theatre)*
  • Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice (Walt Disney Theatrical Productions/Natl. Tour)
  • House and Garden by Alan Ayckbourn (Goodman Theatre)**


  • Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice (Walt Disney Theatrical Productions/ New York)


  • Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice (Walt Disney Theatrical Productions/ Chicago)
  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (Eugene O'Neill Theatre/NY)
  • Susannah by Carlisle Floyd (Metropolitan Opera Company/NY)


  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (Goodman Theatre)


  • Griller by Eric Bogosian (Goodman Theatre)*
  • The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote (Longacre Theatre/New York)
  • The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote (Goodman Theatre)


  • A Touch of the Poet by Eugene O'Neill (Goodman Theatre)
  • The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams (Roundabout Theatre/NY)


  • The Food Chain by Nicky Silver (Westside Theatre/New York)*
  • The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams (Circle in the Square/NY)
  • Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (Goodman Theatre)


  • SubUrbia by Eric Bogosian (Lincoln Center Theater/NY)*
  • Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams (Goodman Theatre)


  • Susannah by Carlisle Floyd (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • On the Open Road by Steve Tesich (New York Shakespeare Festival)


  • The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill (Abbey Theatre/Dublin)
  • Riverview: A Melodrama with Music by John Logan (Goodman Theatre)*
  • On the Open Road by Steve Tesich (Goodman Theatre)*


  • Book of the Night by Louis Rosen and Thom Bishop (Goodman Theatre)*
  • The Speed of Darkness by Steve Tesich (Belasco Theatre/NY)


  • The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill (Goodman Theatre)


  • The Misanthrope by Moliere, adapted by Neil Bartlett (Goodman Theatre/LaJolla Playhouse co-production)
  • The Speed of Darkness by Steve Tesich (Goodman Theatre)*
  • Pravda by Howard Brenton and David Hare (Guthrie Theatre)**


  • Pal Joey by Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart, and John O'Hara (Goodman Theatre)
  • Landscape of the Body by John Guare (Goodman Theatre)


  • Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Adrian Hall and James Schewill (Goodman Theatre)
  • Road by Jim Cartwright (Remains Theatre/Chicago)**
  • The Tempest by Shakespeare (Goodman Theatre)


  • Orchards: Seven American Playwrights Present Stories by Chekhov. Adaptations by Maria Irene Fornes, Spalding Gray, John Guare, David Mamet, Wendy Wasserstein, Michael Weller, and Samm-Art Williams (The Acting Company/NY, tour with off-Broadway opening)


  • In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison by Jack Abbott (Wisdom Bridge Theatre production at Mayfest (Glasgow), Lyric Hammersmith Studio (London), and Ivanhoe Theatre (Chicago))
  • Hamlet by Shakespeare (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)


  • Terra Nova by Ted Tally (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)
  • Careless Love by John Olive (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)
  • Life and Limb by Keith Reddin (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)*


  • In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison by Jack Abbott (Wisdom Bridge Theatre adaptation at Goodman Studio Theatre)*
  • Losing It by Jon Klein (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)


  • We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay by Dario Fo (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***
  • Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Actor's Nightmare by Christopher Durang (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)


  • Standing on My Knees by John Olive (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)*
  • Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)
  • A Sorrow Beyond Dreams by Peter Handke (St. Nicholas Theatre/ Chicago)
  • Bent by Martin Sherman (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***


  • Yentl by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Leah Napolin (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***
  • Getting Out by Marsha Norman (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (Wisdom Bridge Theatre/performed in rotating rep with Travesties by Tom Stoppard)


  • Wings by Arthur Kopit (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***
  • Bagtime by Alan Rosen, Louis Rosen, and Thom Bishop, based on the newspaper columns of Bob Greene and Paul Galloway (Wisdom Bridge Theatre/Drury Lane Water Tower Theatre co-production)*
  • Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard (Goodman Theatre Stage 2)***
  • Tartuffe by Moliere, co-directed with Michael Maggio (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)


  • The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)***
  • Happy End by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (SCT Productions, Athenaeum Theatre/Chicago)
  • Othello by Shakespeare (Oak Park Shakespeare Festival/Oak Park, Illinois)
  • Fits and Starts by Grace McKeaney (Northlight Theatre/Evanston, Illinois)*
  • The Idiots Karamazov by Albert Innuarato and Christopher Durang (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)


  • Ladyhouse Blues by Kevin O'Morrison (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)
  • The Tempest by Shakespeare (Court Theatre/University of Chicago)
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Wisdom Bridge Theatre)


  • The Wax Museum by John Hawkes (Direct Theatre/New York)
  • Moonchildren by Michael Weller (Apollo Productions, St. Nicholas Theatre/Chicago)

Goodman Theatre's Broadway and off-Broadway transfers under Robert Falls

1986 Fences by August Wilson, dir. Lloyd Richards
1989 The Speed of Darkness by Steve Tesich, dir. Robert Falls
1989 Mill Fire by Sally Nemeth, dir. David Petrarca
1990 Eliot Loves by Jules Feiffer, dir. Mike Nichols
1992 On the Open Road by Steve Tesich, dir. Robert Falls
1992 Wings by Jeffrey Lunden and Arthur Perlman, dir. Michael Maggio
1993 Marvin's Room by Scott McPherson, dir. David Petrarca
1994 The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams, dir. Robert Falls
1995 Seven Guitars by August Wilson, dir. Lloyd Richards
1997 The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote, dir. Robert Falls
1998 Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, dir. Robert Falls
2000 Millennium Mambo by Kia Corthron, Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ntozake Shange and Regina Taylor, dir. Henry Godinez
2001 Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman, dir. Robert Falls
2001 Big Love by Charles L. Mee, dir. Les Waters
2002 Galileo Galilei an opera by Philip Glass, libretto by Mary Zimmerman with Philip Glass and Arnold Weinstein, dir. Mary Zimmerman
2002 Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill, dir. Robert Falls
2002 Hollywood Arms by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett, dir. Harold Prince
2003 Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson, dir. Marion McClinton
2004 The Light in the Piazza by Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas, dir. Bartlett Sher
2007 Frank's Home by Richard Nelson, dir. Robert Falls
2009 Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O'Neill, dir. Robert Falls
2010 Ruined by Lynn Nottage, dir. Kate Whoriskey
2011 Chinglish by David Henry Hwang, dir. Leigh Silverman

Notable Awards and Honors

Tony Award (Death of a Salesman)

Joseph Jefferson Award (Death of a Salesman)

Drama Desk Award (Long Day's Journey into Night)

Helen Hayes Award (King Lear)

Obie Award (subUrbia)

O'Neill Medallion (Eugene O'Neill Society)

Artistic Leadership Award (League of Chicago Theatres)

Special Jeff Award (Outstanding Contributions to Theatre)

Chicagoan of the Year Award (Chicago Magazine)

Distinguished Service to the Arts Award (Lawyers for the Creative Arts)

Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (Lake Forest College)

Election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences