Chicago: The Goodman Theatre will present the Chicago premiere of Britta Johnson’s musical “Life After”

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Goodman Theatre on Wednesday announced several schedule changes to its 2021-2022 season.

The world premiere and pre-Broadway run of the musical adaptation of The Outsiders, based on the S.E. Hinton novel and Francis Ford Coppola movie, has been postponed. A new date has not been announced. In its place will be the Chicago premiere of composer/lyricist Britta Johnson’s new musical Life After (June 11-July 17) directed by Annie Tippe.

Heralded by the Toronto Star as “Canadian musical theatre’s next great hope”, Britta Johnson is a writer, composer and lyricist based in Toronto. She made her American debut when Life After opened at the Old Globe in San Diego in 2019 following an extended, multiple Dora award-winning run at Canadian Stage in Toronto. Her other writing credits include: With her sister Anika Johnson: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March, Dora nomination), Brantwood (Theatre Sheridan, Dora Award), Jacob Two-Two (YTP, Dora nomination), Trap Door (Theatre Sheridan). With Sara Farb: Kelly v. Kelly (Canadian Stage; winner of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada best new musical award), Reframed (Art Gallery of Ontario, Dora nomination). With Katherine Cullen: Stupidhead! (Dora nomination). She was the librettist for choreographer Robert Binet’s adaptation of The Kreutzer Sonata with Ballet Moscow and was recently named one of 50 Women to Watch by the Broadway Women’s Fund of America.

The Story: Frank Carter famously authored self-help books. But Alice, his 16-year-old daughter, finds cold comfort in his positivity platitudes when he tragically never comes home one night. As she puzzles out the events of the day that changed her family forever, Alice’s relentless search for the facts reveals a more complicated truth. With big humor and bittersweet wit, this “luminous new musical…lush, poetic and surprisingly funny” (The San Diego Union-Tribune) explores how we move through and live with loss.

In addition, artistic director Robert Falls, in his final season at the helm of the Goodman, will direct the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s Swing State (April 1-May 1), his sixth time directing one of her works.

The rest of the season’s lineup of plays (with one more to be announced at a later date), is scheduled to continue as originally planned: Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson, directed by Chuck Smith (Jan. 22 – Feb. 27); The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman (Feb.11 – March 20); and Good Night, Oscar by Doug Wright, directed by Lisa Peterson (March 12 – April 17).

Membership tickets are currently available at www.goodmantheatre.org. Individual tickets for will go on sale at a future date.

By Miriam Di Nunzio for chicago.suntimes.com with information from www.goodmantheatre.org.

Photo: Dan Chameroy and Ellen Denny in Life After. © 2017 Michael Cooper.