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Goodman Theater staging pre-Broadway ‘Garden of Good and Evil’

Fresh from the success of “The Who’s Tommy,” a musical now liked headed to Broadway, the Goodman Theater has switched gears for next summer and will stage the pre-Broadway tryout of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” a musical based on the phenomenally successful 1994 nonfiction book by John Berendt, a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list for more than four years. Berendt’s story of a respected and socially prominent Savannah, Georgia, antiques dealer who was tried, and then retried, for the murder of a local prostitute became a 1997 Clint Eastwood movie.

The musical, long known to have been in development, will feature a book written by the MacArthur “genius” grantee Taylor Mac, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (“Parade”) and will be directed by the highly experienced Tony Award winner Rob Ashford. Choreography will be by Tanya Birl.

Producers Hal Luftig, Craig Haffner and Sherry Wright and the Goodman have not announced casting for Chicago or Broadway and changes are likely. However, an invite-only industry reading took place in May with stars J. Harrison Ghee (”Some Like it Hot”) as Lady Chablis and well as Steven Pasquale (”The Bridges of Madison County” and Lyric Opera’s “Carousel”) as Jim Williams. Also cast were Austin Colby, Amber Gray, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Harriet Harris, Paul Alexander Nolan, Miss Dirty Martini, Bailee Endebrock, Jessica Molaskey, Shanel Bailey, Grace McLean and Lance Roberts.

The show is scheduled to run June 25 to August 4, 2024, on the Albert mainstage. To make way for the project, the Goodman has postponed its previously announced summer 2024 production of the musical “Female Troubles,” subtitled “a period comedy about female reproductive rights,” until 2025.

Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

cjones5@chicagotribune.com

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