Sep 21, 2021 - News

Chicago's theater icon Robert Falls on why he's stepping down

Robert Falls sits in a chair
Robert Falls. Photo: Flint Chaney/Goodman Theatre

Last week, Tony Award-winner Robert Falls announced he was stepping down as artistic director of the Goodman Theatre after a 35-year career there.

  • We talked to him about his time at the helm of one of the most influential theaters in Chicago.

Why now: "After 35 years at the Goodman, and 10 before that as artistic director of a small theatre on Howard St. called Wisdom Bridge, I simply felt, 'Well…that's 45 straight years of running theater companies — that's enough.'"

His favorite moments: "All of my collaborations with the great late Brian Dennehy were wonderful! ... I am especially proud of 'Death of a Salesman,' for which we both won Tony Awards."

On the future of the Chicago theater scene: "After every terrible event of our century — including other pandemics, the depression and wars — there have been extraordinary new plays that were created in response to those events."

On choosing to build a career here: "Over the years, I have been offered many opportunities to run theaters in other cities, including New York City and Los Angeles. But I love Chicago, and its audiences and its remarkable community of theater-makers."

The Chicago food he misses the most when out-of-town: "Such a cliché, but true. Pizza! For some reason, New York's pizzas are terrible. I do admit that I'm not a fan of deep dish. I prefer crispy thin crust; especially bar pizza cut in little squares."

What's next: Robert Falls will stay on through the 2021/2022 season. The play "American Mariachi" by Jose Cruz Gonzalez runs at the Goodman through October 24th.

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