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  The White Snake at Goodman Theatre

The White Snake

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

The White Snake chronicles the tale of a gentle serpent spirit who lives for centuries coiled on a mountaintop. One day, she transforms herself into a beautiful young woman and, with her feisty companion, Green Snake, travels down to the world of humans. There, she unexpectedly finds love, happiness and family, and vows to remain a human forever. But when a vengeful monk discovers her true identity, he becomes determined to destroy the life that she's built-and break apart her marriage to her one true love.

Thru - Jun 8, 2014

Price: $25-$86

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 1hr, 40mins

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  The White Snake Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Visually, the show is bold and quite beautiful — the usual Zimmerman crew of designers, Daniel Ostling, Mara Blumenfeld and T.J. Gerckens, know each other so well by now, they create cohesive pictures with ease. Ostling's shrewdly sparse work is especially lovely here. There are many snakes in the show, as you might expect: One particularly huge, coiled one is quite the showstopper. That snake scared me plenty, but a few moments of the show risk unconscious parody: One scene put in mind of Monty Python's "The Knights Who Say Ni," which I know borders on a sacrilegious observation at a Zimmerman production. But there my head went."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"....The story is a beguiling fable: Two restless snakes - the bookish, enlightenment-seeking White Snake (patrician Amy Kim Waschke), and her friend, the wild, mischievous, adventure-seeking Green Snake (the galvanic, hilarious Tanya Thai McBride) - decide to slither down from their remote mountain home for a daylong taste of mortal life. By the time they reach the city, each snake has lost her tail and assumed the form of a young woman, with the White Snake as the aristocratic mistress, and "Greenie" (much as in a Shakespeare play), playing her servant."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Zimmerman takes the romantic tack too. Her White Snake is an avid self-improver who's been studying the Tao for 17 centuries, accruing such enormous spiritual power that she can defeat demons, make her own weather, fly-and, of course, manifest herself in different corporeal forms. She hasn't managed to cross over into the most sublime state of being, however, because she owes a karmic debt to the man who saved her life when she was just a wee snakelet."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Composer Andre Pluess' incidental score, which a trio of stageside musicians executes, duly enhances the action, even as his songs tend to disrupt it. At no time are the actors eclipsed, however-not with Tanya Thai McBride's peppery Green Snake, Matt DeCaro's dogmatic Fa Hai and Amy Kim Waschke's steadfast White Snake at the vanguard of a multiethnic ensemble as supple and protean as their herpetological namesakes."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...The play’s two main characters, The White Snake (portrayed by Amy Kim Waschke) and Xu Xian (Jon Norman Schneider) are at the heart of a love story which matches the supernatural spirit with a humble human. It’s a love that should not work (at least, so we’re told), and yet, love triumph’s over all. Generally, the actual content of the play doesn’t flow as well as it could. The ending comes along abruptly, and the lesson imparted at the final moments seems unsupported by the action prior. And overall the performances are dwarfed by the effects. One has to wonder if the same play, produced in a smaller venue with a smaller budget, would actually be better. The story and the characters could then really shine."

Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Zimmerman’s White Snake is ultimately both moving and engaging in its inventive but not overwhelming visual and conceptual devices—see the embodiment of doubt as a creature with long, clickety-clackety claws clipping at our outsides, or a stunningly realized depiction of a sudden rainstorm that steers entirely clear of plumbing. It’s enough to win you over well in time for the unexpectedly melancholy turn at the tale’s end."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Unlike Ms. Zimmerman’s Metamorphosis or even her more recent work, The Jungle Book in which the artistic vision equaled the melodramatic, the balance to push The White Snake forward to fruition is inherently missing."
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Michael Roberts

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...As effortlessly propelled as a driven dream, the legend is told, as Zimmerman delights to do, in pictures—vintage charcoal landscapes with distant pagodas that conjure themselves before our eyes, a tug-of-war with a red sash and giant bole, dragon-boat races seen in miniature, the woodland realm protected by a giant crane and “canopus,” a lantern-lit marriage processional. Less magical and evocative, Zimmerman’s terse to sensuous dialogue suffers from occasionally abrupt tonal shifts. But it preserves a tried and seemingly inevitable love story. Equally honest to domestic and epic challenges, The White Snake is a play that plays, words turned to music that matters by an impeccable eleven-member ensemble."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The complete production is a master work of art, both theatrically and as storytelling. No one makes theoretical spectaculars better than Mary Zimmerman. The White Snake is another fabulous Zimmerman production. Don’t miss it! Take your kids, they’ll love it and its message of self acceptance."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Zimmerman’s script and direction benefit from longstanding collaborations which enrich the entire experience: Mara Blumenfeld’s costumes are rich and full of lovely touches like the snake print borders on the White Snake’s silken suit. Set Designer Dan Ostling creates a simple set full of surprises: a forest sprouts, silk unfurls like rain streaks. The most fascinating part of the production was the projections designed by Shawn Sagady, which create calligraphy and tidal waves and a lantern parade—all evolving subtley. The sound score is marvelous—a pastiche of world music composed by Andre Pluess and brought to life by the onstage band of Tessa Brinckman, Ronnie Malley and Michal Palzwicz."

Angela Allyn

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...In the role of The White Snake, Amy Kim Waschke wins us over. She glides over the stage and brings us a character that we feel good about, despite the knowledge that she is ,in fact a serpent. Her co-hort The Green Snake is deftly handled by the adorable Tanya Thai McBride. She is hysterical. Xu Xian, the lover is played to perfection by Jon Norman Schneider and the evil Fa Hai ( and others) by the always reliable Matt DeCaro."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...In “The White Snake,” Mary Zimmerman has created a brilliant hybrid of styles and sensibilities, taking some major risks along the way. In particular, the character of Greenie could be an anachronistic distraction in a performance less skillful than McBride’s in your face comic turn. Once the show’s engine gets in gear, everything works, from the broad comedy to the tensions introduced by the brutal Fa Hai. Unusual for a first night audience, the crowd did not give the cast a unanimous standing ovation at the curtain call. I think most people were still so caught up in the spell by the play’s final scenes that the knee jerk standing receptions that plague so many opening nights would have been a violation of the magical mood the show bestows on each attentive viewer."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Not Recommended

"...THE WHITE SNAKE wants to be “The Little Mermaid” but it needs to commit to the complete metamorphosis. In its current stage, I fear Zimmerman’s THE WHITE SNAKE doesn’t have the legs to stand on… especially without the Goodman design team to transform it."
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Katy Walsh

  The White Snake Photo Gallery

   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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