Goodman’s 90th celebration brings on major star power

SHARE Goodman’s 90th celebration brings on major star power

The hundreds of Goodman Theatre supporters who packed the ballroom at the Standard Club in the Loop Monday night were treated to a wonderful evening, as one of Our Town’s major artistic institutions was toasted on its 90th anniversary. As Andre DeShields so aptly put it: “This is a toast to one of the world’s cultural gems — 90 years strong”

Speaking of “90 years strong,” the entire party jumped to their feet to give Goodman’s founding board chairman Stanley Freehling a standing ovation for his decades of dedicated support for the theater company.

For such a major event, kudos need to go to the Goodman team for keeping the evening’s program well-paced and never dragging. Executive Director Roche Schulfer was on-target with his comments, as was Artistic Director Robert Falls, who read congratulatory letters from Stephen Sondheim and Carol Burnett, who poignantly recalled the staging of her daughter Carrie Hamilton’s “Hollywood Arms” play — based on Burnett’s early life — shortly after Hamilton’s untimely death from cancer.

Special moments enjoyed by the guests was when Goodman mainstays David Henry Hwang and Mary Beth Fisher paid tribute to the evening’s two honorees: longtime theater supporter James E. Annable and Albert Goodman, heir to the family who founded the theatre nine decades ago.

However, the highlight of the night clearly was the unbelievably spectacular rendition of Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King,” sung by Tony Award winner Heather Headley.

Not only did we feel the love, we all felt chills, simply listening to Headley’s gorgeous four-octave range!

Among artists with longtime Goodman connections on hand to honor the theater’s big birthday were Gary Cole, Cherry Jones, Stacy Keach, Henry Godinez, Rebecca Gilman, William Norris, Steve Pickering, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Lois Smith, Howard Witt, Henry Wishcamper, Mary Zimmerman, Ernest Perry Jr., Tonya Pinkins, Constanza Romero and Tanya Saracho.

Congrats to the gala’s chair Sondra Healy and Goodman’s board chair Joan Clifford for their hard work in leading the charge for that great evening.

Here’s to the next 90!

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