Goodman Theatre will mark Artistic Associate Regina Taylor’s 20 season with the theater this spring with the Chicago premiere of stop. reset. Taylor’s 12th Goodman production, which she authors and directs, centers on the shifting ground of the digital age, asking: what do we need to fight for in terms of what we believe in and know? What do we need to release? Taylor is the only member of the theater’s esteemed Artistic Collective to generate work in all three creative capacities as playwright, director and actor. The Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee currently stars in DIG, a new television series on USA Network. She was the first African American to play Romeo and Juliet’s title young lover on Broadway, and gained wide public recognition for her performance on the television series I’ll Fly Away.
“Uniquely gifted, fearless and boundlessly curious, there is no other artist with the vision, scope and perspective of Regina Taylor,” noted Goodman’s artistic director, Robert Falls. Falls invited Taylor to join the theater’s Collective in 1995 following the premiere of her original work The Ties that Bind. “Regina has made invaluable contributions as a member of our Artistic Collective with eloquent, provocative works that explore tradition and probe the depths of the human experience. I am grateful Regina has chosen to spend her life in the theater with the Goodman, and I am excited to continue our collaboration with stop. reset.”
In stop. reset., e-books and digital technologies are transforming the literary world, and Chicago businessman Alex Ames (Eugene Lee) must try to save his long-standing African American book publishing company from extinction. While his employees Jan (Jacqueline Williams), Chris (Eric Lynch), Deb (Lisa Tejero) and Tim (Tim Decker) fret over losing their jobs, Ames finds unlikely inspiration from a mysterious teenager, J. (Edgar Sanchez), who seems to be plugged into the future. The aging Ames is forced to discover how far he’s willing to go to survive.
Taylor is innovative and provocative in how she emphasizes the ways in which theater unites communities through a curated series of collaborations and live events—dinner conversations, symposia and artist presentations—around the themes of the play. The content generated will appear on a special microsite giving audiences the opportunity to engage with the play prior to attending, while they are at the theater, and post-show.
To complement the play, Taylor also developed a series of beyond-the-stage events/collaborations with Chicago individual artists/institutions. The first was a March 3 dinner party themed “Soul Food for a New Century,” at the Currency Exchange Café in Washington Park. Three featured speakers discussed changes in methods of communications and transmitting information/stories.
Events to come include two more dinner parties, symposia and collaborations with DuSable Museum, WVON Radio, the Arts Incubator, Columbia College, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Art and Lake Forest College. Details are expected to be announced at a later date.
stop. reset. made its world premiere in 2013 at Signature Theatre Company in New York, where Taylor is a Residency Five playwright. The play will get its Chicago premiere in Goodman’s Owen Theatre this spring May 23 through June 21. For more information or for tickets, call 312.443.3800 or visit goodmantheatre.org.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
From the 2013 World Premiere of Regina Taylor's stop.reset., (from left) Teagle F. Bougere, Carl Lumbly and La Tanya Richardson Jackson (photo by Joan Marcus).