Stage Door News

Chicago: Previews begin tonight for “Life After” by Britta Johnson at the Goodman Theatre

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Goodman Theatre has announcesdcasting for Life After—the award-winning “luminous new musical…lush, poetic and surprisingly funny” (The San Diego Union-Tribune) by rising star writer/lyricist/composer Britta Johnson, directed by Annie Tippe. Leading the cast of nine is Samantha Williams (Broadway’s Caroline, Or Change and Dear Evan Hansen) as teenaged Alice—a young woman who, in search of facts, uncovers a more complicated truth as she pieces together events of the fateful night that changed her family forever. The Chicago-premiere production also features Canadian Paul Alexander Nolan (Frank), Lucy Panush (Hannah), Bryonha Marie Parham (Beth), Jen Sese (Mrs. Hopkins), Skyler Volpe (Kate), Chelsea Williams (Fury), Lauryn Hobbs (Fury) and Ashley Pérez Flanagan (Fury). The production features Choreography by Ann Yee and Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by Lynne Shankel

Life After appears June 11– July 17; opening night is Wednesday, June 22. Tickets ($25 - $80, subject to change) are now available at or by phone at 312.443.3800. The Goodman is grateful for the support of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (Lead Corporate Sponsor) and Winston & Strawn LLP (Corporate Sponsor Partner).

“It’s rare and special to encounter a new musical with the depth, beauty and heart as Life After—complete with such an elegant original score. Britta Johnson is one of the most exciting new talents to emerge on the international theater scene, and it’s a joy to produce her extraordinary new work—and to welcome back director Annie Tippe and this wonderful company,” said Robert Falls. “Over the past 35 years as Goodman Theatre Artistic Director, some of our most memorable productions have been new works of musical theater. I can’t wait for Chicago audiences to experience Britta’s thrilling new musical this summer.”

Its Chicago premiere at Goodman Theatre continues the ascent of Life After, marking the third major production in five years. The play made its American debut at San Diego’s The Old Globe (2019) on the heels of an extended, multiple Dora Award-winning world-premiere with Toronto’s Musical Stage Company and Canadian Stage (2017).

Toronto-based playwright/composer/lyricist Britta Johnson said, “I could not be more excited to be working at this legendary theater with this astounding creative team and incredible cast; it feels like a dream come true. This is my first major project after such a challenging few years, and I’m so moved to get to do it with such a talented, compassionate and inspiring group of artists. I can’t wait to discover what we can create together.”

"The minute I heard Britta's exquisite score for Life After, I knew I'd be lucky to have the privilege of working with her. And we are about to work with an absolute dream cast—overflowing with talent, empathy and curiosity about the people they’re portraying,” said Lucille Lortel Award-winning director Annie Tippe. “In these uncertain times, I can't imagine audiences won't relate to Britta's deeply human work, and relish the opportunity to collectively breathe into our challenges.”

Johnson’s other writing credits include, with her sister Anika Johnson: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/MSC, Dora nomination), Brantwood (Theatre Sheridan, Dora Award), Jacob Two-Two (YTP, Dora nomination), Trap Door (Theatre Sheridan). With Sara Farb: Kelly v. Kelly (MSC/Canadian Stage; winner of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada best new musical award), Reframed (MSC/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 the inaugural Crescendo Artist with Toronto's Musical Stage Company which included a commitment to produce three of her shows in three years.

Tippe returns to the Goodman after directing Continuity by Bess Wohl in the 2017 New Stages Festival. Her recent theater credits include the premiere of Dave Malloy’s Octet (Signature Theatre Company), for which she won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Direction and was named an SDC Callaway Award Finalist. She also directed the premiere and subsequent tours of Dave Malloy’s award-winning Ghost Quartet. Other credits include the premieres of The Hombres (Two River); Leslye Headland’s Cult of Love (IAMA Theatre Company); Cowboy Bob (Village Theatre; New York Stage + Film); James and Jerome’s Ink (co-directed with Rachel Chavkin; Under the Radar/Met Museum) and The Conversationalists (Bushwick Starr). She is a former Ars Nova Director-in-Residence, a Drama League Directing Fellow and an alumni of the Williamstown Directing Corps. Upcoming shows include COWBOY BOB (Alley Theatre ’23).

Photo: Britta Johnson.