Date Night Pick: Smokefall at the Goodman Theatre

For Hennacornoelidays first ever Date Night Pick things did not go exactly as planned. For starters Corey wasn’t able to go (it’s hard to get a sitter on a Monday night). So I took my dad which was nice. But the traffic was really bad. In fact it was so blizzard-like bad we had to take to the back roads in order to make it downtown in less than an hour. And even then we barely had enough time to shove a fast food meal down our throats before briskly walking down Randolph in search of the theater. It was such a tiring excursion getting there that moments before the show began I was wondering if it was worth all the effort.

Mike Nussbaum in Smokefall (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Mike Nussbaum in Smokefall (Photo by Liz Lauren)


It was. In fact it would have been worth a seven hour mule ride alongside a sewer canal just to see Mike Nussbaum read his lines during recital. The man is pushing ninety-one years old! Or to put it a different way, he is almost the exact same age as the Goodman Theatre. And he is simply amazing to watch at work. Smokefall is pretty amazing too. A quirky look at four generations muddling along, it offers philosophizing fetuses, a teenage girl who thrives on paint, dirt, and other inedible objects, a person who does not age, and a narrator who narrates via footnotes. There are some truly funny moments (especially in the oh-so-self-aware asides) but it is the poignant ones that might make you tear up. In the hard-core theater loving opening night crowd I spied several ladies crying at the ending. And the ending is more hopeful than sad. Smokefall played on the Goodman Theatre’s smaller stage a year ago and set a box office record there. I can see why.

So I highly recommend this for date night. I also recommend this for going with a friend or a family member or both. Just leave plenty of time to get to the theater.

Katherine Keberlein and Catherine Combs in Smokefall (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Katherine Keberlein and Catherine Combs in Smokefall (Photo by Liz Lauren)


Smokefall is playing at the Goodman Theatre (170 North Dearborn Street) through October 26th. A lot of people are going to want to see this play so buy your tickets now. Click here for more information.

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