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  Good People at Steppenwolf Theatre

Good People

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

When Margie Walsh loses her job at a South Boston dollar store, she reaches out to her old friend and flame Mike, a Southie boy who made good when he became a successful doctor. What begins as an attempt to hit Mike up for a job takes on a threatening cast when Margie realizes the power that secrets from Mike's past life hold over his current one. Penned by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, Good People is an incisive and funny character study of old friends, old flames and the question of whether you can ever leave the old neighborhood behind.

Thru - Nov 18, 2012

Price: $20-$86

Stage: Downstairs Theatre

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

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  Good People Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...These kinds of class-driven, realistic plays are tough to write in a way that the plot holds together, but you won't ever find yourself ahead of events in "Good People," which Lindsay-Abaire has structured with a mystery that unravels and then closes up, only to unravel again, and then again, in an entirely different direction. Unpretentious in its structure and compassionate in notion, this is a well-made play, in the best sense of the term, driven by wrenching confrontations. Those conversations are blistering throughout, whether it's Mayberry taking on Arenas, an actress who can hold her fire for long, long minutes only to unleash ballistic-type weapons when pushed, or the lower-key Kupferer turning beet-red in the face when cornered, or Strus fighting almost to the death for a friend she serves better than that friend realizes."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"... K. Todd Freeman, a superb actor, has clearly mastered the director’s trade, too. There is not a false note in this expertly cast production which also features designer Walt Spangler’s brilliant, photo-realist sets (from a Catholic school basement bingo hall to a chic modern interior). But the play’s the thing here, and it will either confirm your prejudices, prick your conscience or both."
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Hedy Weiss

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Are these people good or bad, or are they simply hungry for the security that permits such moral judgments? Whatever level of sanctimony its audiences may have achieved—at whatever price—there is no hiding from the arguments raised by Mariann Mayberry's unflinching Margie (pronounced with a hard "g") leading an ensemble who cheerfully watches us squirm in reawakened recognition of our own social vulnerability."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Lindsay-Abaire’s tightly plotted script, which has Margie seeking out the former flame who got out of Southie and is now a wealthy doctor, confronts class mobility efficiently and cleverly, managing to be provocative without feeling manipulative. Mayberry’s surrounded by nuanced, thoughtful performances, including Alana Arenas’s carefully measured turn as the doctor’s comfortable wife and Lusia Strus’s steamroller take on Margie’s mouthy best friend. Perhaps the only thing marring Freeman’s staging is a minor doozy: An intrusively jaunty music cue as the final scene fades suggests a more hopeful ending than Margie’s found, leaving a sour, sitcom-y aftertaste to an otherwise honest production."
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Kris Vire

Chicago Theatre Addict - Highly Recommended

"...Good People is, simply said, a damn good play. Using a story that’s both straightforward and immensely compelling, Lindsay-Abaire presents the notions of class and the power one actually has in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps in a society where the cards already seem firmly stacked against you. “You’ve made some wise choices,” Margie fires back at a smug Mike as he sits in his leather Herman Miller chair, “But you’re wrong if you think everyone has them.”"
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Bob Bullen

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"... Lindsay-Abaire’s play is intimate stuff, and its unfiltered power is magnified by designer Walt Spangler’s narrowly focused, naturalist set and by Kevin Rigdon’s graphic lighting. Dialect coach Eva Breneman deserves a bow as well for an accent that’s consistent among the Southies and just hinted at in Michael’s carefully reconditioned speech. Arenas’ Kate, on the other hand, speaks in the perfect voice of a perfect place where red wine is poured, and Margaret can never be at home."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"... Good People is one of those rare to be treasured occasions when a superb script connects with an impeccable production to present audiences with a playgoing experience filled with humor, humanity, and mind-churning drama. There isn’t a false note struck anywhere in this engrossing tale about one person who left the neighborhood and another who stayed, and the life-changing consequences that followed for both."
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Dan Zeff

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"... Good People is a funny, honest and vividly naturalistic slice-of-life comic drama that intelligently defines the nature of just what a ‘good person’ actually is. Smartly, playwright David Lindsay-Abaire presents the complex, contradictorily nature of human behavior that has the key characters struggling with the affects of all their life decisions. Mariann Mayberry and Keith Kupferer anchor a fine cast with their nuanced performances. Good People is a good choice for Steppenwolf Theatre. Plays about class warfare in America need to be mounted; kudos to Steppenwolf got selecting. this work."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"... While "Good People" does not plum the emotional depth's of Lindsay-Abaire Pulitizer Prize-winning "Rabbit Hole" or exhibit the comic genius of "Fuddy Meers," it is a terrific contemporary play that holds a mirror to the current discussion of life today in our America. Don't miss it."

David Zak

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Under the direction of K. Todd Freeman and perfectly casted by Erica Daniels, this ensemble is sublime! They captivate on arrival. I feel like I stepped off of Halsted and into Boston. From the garbage infused alley behind the Dollar Store to the stunning physician’s home in Chestnut Hills, Scenic Designer Walt Spangler aids our East Coast visit with dynamic backdrops that seamlessly roll in and out of the action. Spectacular! And perfectly matching the multiple settings, the cast invites you in for coffee, bingo, or cheese. The welcome may not always be honest but the personal performances are."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... In these economic times, many Americans are out of work and having to adjust to hard times, are forced to look and review their lives and the choices they made. In David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People”, now on the stage at Steppenwolf Theatre, we get a very thought provoking glimpse into the life of a single mother, Margaret, who loses her job and finds that her high school sweetheart is back in town and is now a highly respected doctor. Margaret ( supremely played by Mariann Mayberry) while talking with her friends decides to pay him a visit to see if he can offer her a job. When she visits the office of Mike ( deftly handled by Keith Kupferer) it turns out that he wants nothing to do with his past, but she does convince him to invite her to a party that his wife is hosting. He calls to advise that his daughter is ill and that the party is called off, but in her mind, this is a lie, so that he will not have to deal with their past, so she decides to go anyway."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...If ever there were a time when you yourself were poor, caught in the clangor of economic oppression, dodging sleuthing land lords and stumbling into one minimum wage job after another, Good People is one of the few plays in the city doing you justice. If you haven’t gotten the chance to experience these turmoils first hand, then Steppenwolf’s production of Good People will do a little more than bring you up to speed. It will unravel for you the complex inner workings of the isolated, tired, often ignored poor, and the desperate singles mothers that you may often drift by on your daily commutes on the L-Train to work. If you do see them, at least, be sure to keep the door open behind you."
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Shawn L. Price

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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