Friday, September 28, 2012
Steppenwolf Theatre's Good People is a Great Play
It's a very good sign when after watching a play, you think to yourself, "I would love to see this again." And that is how I felt recently upon viewing Steppenwolf Theatre's current production of David Lindsay-Abaire's Tony-nominated play, Good People. The writing, the direction, the performances - all of these elements come together so incredibly well to make one memorable evening of theater. It is that great of a show, which deservedly received a standing ovation on the night that I saw it.
The story of Good People centers around Margie Walsh, who - after losing her job at a South Boston dollar store - pays a visit to an old flame Mike, who has become a successful doctor. She ends up finagling an invitation to a party at his home in hopes of finding a new position through one of his guests. Unfortunately, this plan does not go accordingly. Now this description might sound a bit down and depressing, but I can assure you that there are many laugh-out-loud moments during the play. Mr. Lindsay-Abaire brilliantly balances the comedy and drama in his relevant tale, which is expertly directed by K. Todd Freeman.
And you couldn't ask for a better cast, whose amazing performances are worthy of every accolade (and I'm talking to you, Jeff Awards Committee). Keith Kupferer as Mike, Alana Arenas as Mike's wife, and Will Allan as Margie's young boss are all excellent, but Lusia Strus (whom I've previously liked on the web series, Jack in a Box) and Molly Regan steal the show as Margie's best friend and landlady. The two of them are hilarious as they continually antagonize each other. However, the star of this production is Mariann Mayberry, whom I've enjoyed as an actress since her first Steppenwolf show, The Geography of Luck, in 1989. But in Good People, she is giving the best performance of her career - in my opinion - and one that definitely should not be missed. Her Margie commands the stage with her poignant desperation, sharp tongue and delicious sense of humor. The character is far from perfect and not always likable, but in Ms. Mayberry's highly capable hands, she is someone we can all relate to and understand (except maybe Mitt Romney). Margie represents many Americans right now who are struggling during these difficult economic times - and as personified by the amazing Mayberry, she succeeds in winning over the audience despite her tough exterior.
So obviously I'm recommending that you go see Good People - and who knows, maybe I will be sitting next to you, revisiting one of the best plays I've seen this year.
Good People runs through November 11 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre (1650 N. Halsted). For tickets and further information, call the box office at 312-335-1650 or go to www.steppenwolf.org.
The photos are by Michael Brosilow, and below you can watch a teaser for Good People.