Oct 9 - Nov 4, 2021 in the Alice Center

After two years and a pandemic, seven plays written by members of the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit cohorts are showcased at in-person readings this autumn.

The process of creating a play, from inception to fully realized production, is often long and arduous, even without a virtual shut-down of all in-person entertainment. Goodman is proud to present in-process readings of seven plays developed in the Goodman Playwrights Unit over the past two years.

Among the many ways the Goodman currently supports and develops new plays is the Playwrights Unit, a program in which local writers meet twice a month to read and discuss their plays-in-process. Each writer possesses a unique voice, and each approaches writing differently; it is precisely this diversity that leads to fruitful discussions. Playwrights Unit plays are strongly considered for production in the Goodman’s New Stages Festival and/or mainstage programming. In recent years, audiences have seen Playwrights Unit works in the Owen Theatre such as Andrew Hinderaker’s The Magic Play, Seth Bockley's Ask Aunt Susan, Kristiana Rae Colón's florissant & canfield, Martín Zimmerman's The Solid Sand Below, and Ricardo Gamboa’s The Wizards.

Read Content Advisory Info
  • These plays contain adult language, and some include mentions of sexual situations, violence, and/or self-harm. For more information contact the box office at 312.443.3800


Please note: Proof of full vaccination with an FDA-authorized vaccine is required for all guests over 12 and a recent negative test must be presented for children under 12. Patrons must wear face coverings at all times while inside Goodman Theatre. Please review details before your performance at GoodmanTheatre.org/Protocols.

Introducing the 2021/2022 Playwrights Unit


2021/2022 PWU

The Goodman welcomes four Chicago-based writers to its 2021/2022 Playwrights Unit: Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom, Susan H. Pak, Andrew Rosendorf and Omer Abbas Salem.

Staged Readings
  • The Madness of Mary Todd

    The Madness of Mary Todd

    By Terry Guest
    Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

    Saturday, October 9 at 7:30pm

    It has been a decade since the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and Mary Todd Lincoln is NOT. DOING. WELL. Not only is she high on opium and torturing her wait staff (like usual); now she is being haunted by a specter of Nancy Reagan who lives within her walls. Terry Guest’s new play is violent, romantic, macabre, and altogether unbelievable. It is a play about America, after all.

  • La Fuente De Cascabeles

    La Fuente De Cascabeles

    By Exal Iraheta
    Directed by Denise Yvette Serna

    Thursday, October 14 at 7:30pm

    When their eldest sister helps them to migrate from El Salvador to the U.S., Olga and Iris unexpectedly find themselves at her mercy as her desire for financial security stands in the way of their freedom. Exal Iraheta’s new play examines the darker side of pursuing the American dream, as inflicted on some of society’s most vulnerable.

  • Expatriate


    By Steve Pickering
    Directed by Sandra Marquez

    Friday, October 15 at 7:30pm

    An historical thriller weaving fact and fable. Spain, 1936: General Francisco Franco and a cabal of military officers revolt against the duly elected Madrid government, and set off the Spanish Civil War. Fourteen years later, FBI agents interrogate a decorated WWII veteran who may have illegally joined the anti-Franco resistance.

  • Rust


    By Nancy García Loza
    Directed by Laura Alcalá Baker

    Thursday, October 21 at 7:30pm

    Güera, a young pocha, is trying very hard to be a perfect Mexican daughter and contain her glaring imperfections. The hot Chicago summer has her climbing trees, fighting with her brothers, and melting like a paleta under her parents’ searing gaze. Suddenly, when Abuelo moves in, Güera wonders if she really has to be perfect at all. Why be perfect when you can be free?

  • You Deserve to Be Here

    You Deserve To Be Here

    By Alex Lubischer
    Directed by Jess McLeod

    Saturday, October 23 at 7:30pm

    Meet the “Tragedy Cohort”: Memo’s a veteran. Oona lost her sister. And Chase? Well, he must have tragedy somewhere. Only one can win their grad school’s top prize: the Otto Frank Award for Bravery in Drama. But as Oona, the newbie, advances through the school year, she can’t shake the feeling that something is off. Her writing is better, so why is she worse? And did that mural of Anne Frank just move? A horror comedy about artistic tragedy.

  • Boxing Play

    Boxing Play

    By Marisa Carr
    Directed by Steph Paul

    Thursday, October 28 at 7:30pm

    In a rust belt city boxing gym, Coach instructs a group of amateurs how to throw straight rights and left hooks and block in between timer bells. Told in twelve rounds, Marisa Carr’s new play investigates why we fight and what we fight for.

  • Rack Up

    Rack Up

    By Eliza Bent
    Directed by Jessica Fisch

    Thursday, November 4 at 7:30pm

    Elsie’s taking tennis lessons. Actually, “Elsie” isn’t her real name, but it’s who she is when she rallies, volleys, and hits. As Elsie, her classmates, and instructor look for the meaning of life during water breaks on and off the courts, an exploration about the elasticity of time and the nature of identity emerges.