Robert Falls, the gifted stage director who also runs Chicago’s Goodman Theater, had one crazy week. As his remarkable 5-hour production of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy, wraps a sold-out run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Goodman announced  Falls’ next 5-hour  project: An adaptation of Spanish author Roberto Bolaño’s apocalyptic novel 2666, published in 2004, the year after his death. In scope and breadth, the book’s multiple storylines trace a Boschian global time of physical and spiritual entropy across the 20th Century, in locales as disparate and far flung as Mexico and the battlefields and ruined towns and cities of World War II. The adaptation is being written by Seth Bockley, the Goodman’s playwright-in-residence.

13artsbeat-bolano-articleInlineSuch a project calls for large-scale underwriting (not to mention equally large-scale optimism), which the Goodman found in the unlikeliest of places, according to the New York Times: The project will be financed by Roy Cockrum, an “actor and stage manager turned Episcopal monk who pledged last year to give away much of his $153-million Powerball jackpot to support the performing arts.” The first grant, announced this week, will be the anticipated 2015-16 premiere of 2666. The Roy Cockrum Foundation, established to support projects at nonprofit theaters that “reach beyond their normal scope of activities and undertake ambitious and creative productions” is giving what the theater characterized as an amount “in the high six or low seven figures.” How can you not love this story?

Read Jennifer Schuessler’s Times report here:


Bolaño’s ‘2666’ Coming to the Stage, Thanks to a Powerball Jackpot