Robert Falls is the Artistic Director of The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. His production of Red which started there is now playing at Arena Stage through March 11th. A few years ago Mr. Falls was represented here at Shakespeare Theatre Company with an incredible King Lear starring Stacy Keach, which also transferred from The Goodman. Broadway credits include Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy, Shining City, Talk Radio with Liev Schreiber and Desire Under The Elms again with Dennehy. At the Goodman he has staged The Night of The Iguana with Cherry Jones and The Young Man from Atlanta with Rip Torn and Galileo also with Dennehy. He will be back at The Goodman in the spring for The Iceman Cometh starring Nathan Lane and again Brian Dennehy. I am hoping this one transfers to NYC. An amazingly talented director indeed.
You have directed Brian Dennehy in a number of productions. Why do you think your collaboration has been so successful?
Brian and I have a very similar world view and a passion for doing serious work, especially the plays of Eugene O’Neill. Aside from being a very astute, deep-thinking artist he’s also hilariously funny. He’s a wonderful collaborator.
You directed Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida on Broadway which was your first, and to date, your only musical. If you had the chance to direct another musical, would you do it?
I love musicals and would be thrilled to find another one I respected as much as Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, which played on Broadway for almost five years. I’ve been offered a few but have not felt the passion for them that I need to feel to engage in any project. Hopefully, I’ll find one in the future.
You have directed the works of some of our greatest playwrights. Who are some of your favorite writers?
I have been very lucky to work with both Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams on new plays. Those were experiences I’ll never forget. Some of my other favorite writers include John Logan, Rebecca Gilman, Richard Nelson and Beth Henley, all of whom I’ve loved working with.
This production at Arena Stage of Red started at Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Were there any adjustments that had to be made in the staging for Arena Stage, and how have the performances grown?
Yes, adjustments had to be made in the physical production because the Kreeger Theater is almost half the size of the Goodman Stage in Chicago. As a result, it’s a more intimate experience for the audience, which I think is wonderful.
You have directed for Shakespeare Theatre Company and now Arena Stage here in D.C. Why do you enjoy working in the nation’s capital?
I’ve found D.C. audiences wonderfully discerning, very involved, intelligent and enthusiastic. A real pleasure. Because of the increasing excellence of the city’s theaters and their great work, the audiences come expecting work of very high quality. That’s a wonderful thing.