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  Two Trains Running at Goodman Theatre

Two Trains Running

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

The civil rights movement is sweeping across Pittsburgh's Hill District in 1969-but the promise of a better tomorrow hasn't quite reached all the city's residents. Folks gather daily at Memphis Lee's once-prosperous diner to gossip about the neighborhood, blighted by the missteps of urban renewal and decimated by crime and poverty, and dream about the future. Memphis must decide if he should allow the government to take over his building or sell it to a ruthless businessman.

Thru - Apr 19, 2015

Price: $37-$80

Stage: Albert Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs, 45mins; one intermission

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  Two Trains Running Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...It is, of course, an exceptional play and wholly indicative of how Wilson constantly wrote not just about history but about history passing by people on its hurried way. And in these fractious times of strife and violence, it's worth noting that humor permeates "Two Trains Running" as it does all Wilson's plays. Both Smith's direction — clever but mellow — and Linda Buchanan's richly hued set, at once playful and severe, capture that unique Wilson understanding of compassion, realism and revolutionary fervor. He wanted you to understand how that diner trapped everyone within its walls, and yet he also wanted you to want nothing so much as a regular spot in one of its booths, listening to the poetry of everyday conversation."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...For anyone still in need of an explanation of why August Wilson should be on the very shortest list of the greatest American playwrights of the past century, I offer Exhibit A: Director Chuck Smith's stellar revival of "Two Trains Running," now at the Goodman Theatre. Among the finest works in Wilson's 20th Century Cycle - a 10-play meditation on African American life in each decade of that turbulent time - the production is serving as the centerpiece of a citywide celebration of the playwright on the 10th anniversary of his death. And it does him proud."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Director Chuck Smith re-creates this existential nightmare exceedingly well. The pace of the play replicates the feel of daily life, communicating routine without letting us get bogged down in it. In fact, we're fascinated."
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Jack Helbig

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...This entry in Wilson’s opus, which premiered in 1992 when the moment it depicted was at hardly a generation’s remove, backs off from grand figures and gestures for a more on-the-ground pulse check of the civil rights movement. Chuck Smith’s new production, the centerpiece of a citywide August Wilson Celebration marking the tenth anniversary of the playwright’s death, is markedly grounded and extraordinarily funny, with strong, moving work from the whole ensemble. In depicting seven distinct characters with seven differing visions for the future, Two Trains is a vivid reminder that every movement runs on multiple tracks."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...We need a new word to describe the quality that makes every August Wilson play a red-letter event of any theater season. This single new descriptor would meld the two features that Wilson always mixes with such ineffable ease: charm and poignancy. They are the stuff of “Two Trains Running” at the Goodman Theatre, a beguiling portrait of the human condition as an uphill battle – and the difference a leap of faith can make."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Along the way Smith's superb septet regale us with neighborhood gossip teeming with telling anecdotes (full of the "N-word") that make the Hill District as palpable as Faulkner's Oxford, Mississippi. Debates erupt about how much responsibility people can assume if individual merit doesn't matter and group action backfires. The shared experience of these voluble dreamers is greater than their showcase soliloquies. Wilson remains unsurpassed at catching people in the act of anything, so authentically that it's no act at all. He makes theater honest all over again."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Somewhat Recommended

"...“Two Trains” is not Wilson’s best play, though it is a smart play. You have to be in the right kind of mood coming into the theatre to sit through this for almost three hours. This is not a play that you can just sit back and enjoy, it’s one you have to take an active interest in and think. It’s definitely not a play for everyone. If you come in anticipating a high-stakes drama you will probably be sorely disappointed. While Wilson’s loyal theater-going admirers will be fascinated by this play; most everyone else will probably be bored out of their minds. It’s not bad; it’s just very slow-moving at times. And, judging by the vast amount of yawns I heard on opening night, I can’t help but feel that Wilson has far superior works to introduce newcomers to."
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Justin LeClaire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Two Trains Running is quintessential August Wilson, for everything you like or dislike about him. The Goodman's production shows his work at its finest, and should not be missed by anyone with any interest in theatre."
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Jacob Davis

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...August Wilson is a name very familiar to the theater audiences of Chicago. Between the Goodman Theatre and The Court Theatre, countless productions of his award winning works have brought smiles, tears and understanding to those who were able to witness his words and ideas. The Goodman is now bringing back an amazing ride in his classic “Two Trains Running”, one of his “20th Century Cycle” stories. Last seen on the Goodman stage in 1993, this is an amazingly taut story of small dreams that fueled some of the social revolutions that are now in our history books."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This exciting revival, produced by the theatre that first staged the entire Century Cycle, is a stunning production of a masterpiece. It’s gloriously presented with humor and dignity, once again reminding audiences why August Wilson is considered one of the nation’s finest, most intelligent and accessible playwrights. As part of Chicago’s celebration in commemorating this playwright’s genius, not only is the Goodman offering this fully produced production, but all ten of Wilson’s plays are receiving staged readings throughout the city in March and April. Information can be found in the show’s playbill and on the Goodman website. But to fully understand and appreciate the power and humanity of August Wilson’s plays, this is the must-see production."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"..."Two Trains Running" can be viewed as an authentic slice-of-life view of struggling African Americans at a certain time in our history. That would be accomplishment enough, but there is a deceptive complexity to these apparently open and above board characters that gives the play a reach beyond the authenticity of a certain time and place. "Two Trains Running" may not be the greatest play in the Wilson cycle (I'd split the vote between "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson") but it still ranks way up there in modern American drama."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...TWO TRAINS RUNNING is a smooth ride through the aftermath of the civil rights movement. What I especially appreciated about Wilson's story is the camaraderie of the characters and their conflict resolution. There was an opportunity to go for a more sensational outcome between a few characters. Instead, he gives them an overarching respect for each other. That choice brings a an unexpected dignity and realism to this play."
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Katy Walsh

  Two Trains Running 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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