Goodman Theatre Grants Sophia Ferraza’s Wish

by Jacob Coakley

Sophia Ferraza will rehearse with the cast of A Christmas Carol as well as appear onstage with the company for two nights.Chicago’s Goodman Theatre will host Make-A-Wish Foundation recipient Sophie Ferraza, giving her training and rehearsal time before having her appear onstage in The Second City’s holiday satire Twist Your Dickens, or Scrooge You!, followed by performing multiple roles in the Goodman’s own production of A Christmas Carol on two nights.

GOODMAN THEATRE GRANTS 18-YEAR-OLD SOPHIA FERRAZA’S WISH TO PERFORM ON STAGE IN THE THEATER’S 8TH ANNUAL PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MAKE-A-WISH® FOUNDATION, DECEMBER 16-19
***FERRAZA TO APPEAR IN TWO PERFORMANCES OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL PLUS A CAMEO IN TWIST YOUR DICKENS (THE SECOND CITY’S HOLIDAY SEND-UP), PARTICIPATE IN CASTING SESSIONS, ACTING WORKSHOPS AND MORE***

(Chicago, IL) Goodman Theatre is proud to grant Make-A-Wish® beneficiary Sophia Ferraza’s wish to appear in a professional theatrical production. A budding “triple-threat” (actor/singer/dancer) from University Place, a suburb of Tacoma, Washington, Ferraza was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life- threatening medical condition that makes her eligible for Make-A-Wish. In her first-ever trip to Chicago, the 18-year-old Ferraza will experience hands-on professional theater training opportunities December 16-19 including—rehearsal with the cast of A Christmas Carol under director Henry Wishcamper; a professional headshot photo shoot with Brian McConkey Photography; sessions with the Goodman’s casting team and Paskal Rudnicke Casting; movement and music workshops and an improv workshop with The Second City Training Center. Her experience culminates on stage—first as a cameo in the December 17 performance of Twist Your Dickens, or Scrooge You!, The Second City’s holiday send-up in the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, and as multiple roles in two performances of A Christmas Carol on December 18 and 19 in the Goodman’s mainstage Albert Theatre.

“It hasn't quite hit me yet that this is happening, but I am very excited to do something I love on such a large scale at Goodman Theatre,” said Sophia Ferraza, whose previous non-professional theater credits include Les Misérables and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Tacoma Musical Playhouse); Alice in Wonderland and Annie Jr. (Tacoma Little Theater). “Les Misérables was the best experience I’ve had with theater thus far—but the ‘aha’ moment came a few years later when I was performing in Annie Jr. Being on stage just fit—and I don’t think I get the same feeling from anything else. I’ve only been in a few shows, but theater is something I enjoy all aspects of, and hope I never lose touch with that.”

Ferraza’s appearance marks the 8th year in which the Goodman has partnered with Make-A-Wish Illinois—but its first time granting a wish and deepening the beneficiary’s experience beyond a one-night-only appearance. Previous years’ partnerships were considered “wish enhancements,” in which the Goodman brightened the lives of local wish children through a walk-on role in A Christmas Carol coupled with a sports hero or local celebrity.

“We are excited to welcome Sophia and her family to Chicago,” said Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s Executive Director who established A Christmas Carol as an annual event in 1978. “Our cast counts our annual Make-A-Wish Night among the most special, meaningful annual traditions, and we’re proud to enhance the experience for Sophia.”

The Goodman’s partnership with Make-A-Wish Illinois began in 2007, inspired by the themes of goodwill in A Christmas Carol and the holiday season. Previous years’ appearances have featured:
2013 – Kenneth Schumacher (Lemont, age 17) with retired Chicago Bears linebacker #54 Brian Urlacher

2012 – La’Ren Kimble (Rockford, age 8) with Special Advisor to the President and C.O.O. Chicago Bulls Scottie Pippen
2011 – Emily Beazley (Chicago, age 11) with Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura

2010 – Charles Finch (Markham, age 13) with Chicago Blackhawks Ambassador and Hall of Famer Bobby Hull

2009 – Maria Stavropoulos (Frankfort, age 17) with NBC-5’s LeeAnn Trotter

2008 – Emma Cohen (Evanston, age 17) with WGN-9’s Dean Richards

2007 – Michael Urbanik (Orland Park, age 21) with WGN-9’s Dean Richards

Now in its 29th year, Make-A-Wish Illinois continues to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since 1985, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 12,000 wishes to children across Illinois. Illinois.Wish.org.

Goodman Theatre’s 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol, featuring an all-Chicago 28-member cast led by the acclaimed Larry Yando in his seventh turn as Ebenezer Scrooge, runs through December 28 in the Albert Theatre. Director Henry Wishcamper blends new magic with familiar moments in Tom Creamer’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella in a long-running production that has introduced nearly four generations of young people to theater. More than 1.2 million theatergoers have attended “the crown jewel of the holiday season” (Daily Herald) since the Goodman established it as an annual offering in the 1977/1978 Season—a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production. Dickens’ holiday classic is the iconic tale of greedy British businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his hatred of the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future, helping him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship. Former cast members include stage and screen notables Jessie Mueller, Del Close, Harry J. Lennix, Felicia P. Fields, Raul Esparza, Sally Murphy and Frank Galati. The Goodman dedicates the 2014 production to Robert Christen (1949-2014), its beloved Resident Lighting Designer who was the only artist to work on all 36 previous productions of A Christmas Carol.

Tickets for A Christmas Carol ($31 - $101; subject to change) are available online at GoodmanTheatre.org/Joy, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its production sponsors. Fifth Third Bank is the Major Corporate Sponsor, PepsiCo is the Official Beverage Sponsor, Aon Corporation, Johnsonville Sausage, LLC and KPMG LLP are the Corporate Sponsor Partners, and Chicago Tribune is the Media Partner for A Christmas Carol. Visit the Press Room—newly integrated onto GoodmanTheatre.org with no login and new features—for production photos and broadcast quality video.

Equal parts naughty and nice, Chicago’s famed The Second City brings their version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, beginning December 5. Entitled Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You!, this send- up of Dickens’ classic Written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort and directed by Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Matt Hovde, Twist Your Dickens—a “riotous havoc” (Los Angeles Times) that blends legitimate theater, parody, sketch comedy and improvisation, including the integration of audience “misdeeds” that are written in the lobby preceding the show—finds Scrooge and Tiny Tim hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the Island of Misfit Toys and even Little Orphan Annie. Nightly cameo roles feature a special Chicago-based celebrity guest; while audiences won’t know who appears from night to night, expected appearances include comedian and Vocalo host Brian Babylon; WBEZ’s Niala Boodhoo; WXRT’s Lin Brehmer; Senator John Cullerton; actor Allen Gilmore (Scrooge alternate in A Christmas Carol); chef Stephanie Izard; Chicago Tribune’s Candace Jordan; Chicago Cubs’ Len Kasper; WBBM-TV’s Bill Kurtis; author Sara Paretsky; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, B96’s Showbiz Shelly; sommelier Alpana Singh and more. While the set and costumes reflect The Second City’s minimalist aesthetic, audiences can expect to see backdrops of their favorite holiday television specials and the ensemble sporting “business casual Dickensian” wear inspired by ugly sweaters and other pop culture icons.

Tickets for Twist Your Dickens ($15 - $45; subject to change) are on sale now, available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Twist, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Please be advised that the show incorporates the use of strobe lights, smoke and haze. Twist Your Dickens is appropriate for adults and savvy teens age 16+.

About Goodman Theatre

Now celebrating its 90th year as Chicago’s flagship theater, Goodman Theatre is an artistic and community institution dedicated to the art of theater and to civic engagement in the issues of the contemporary world. The Goodman has transformed over the past 35 years into a world class theater and premier Chicago cultural institution distinguished by the quality and scope of its programming and its culturally and aesthetically diverse creative leadership; artistic priorities include new plays, reimagined classics, culturally specific works, musical theater and international collaborations. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, achievements include the Goodman’s state-of-the-art two-theater complex in the heart of the downtown Theatre District. Over the past three decades, the Goodman has generated more than 150 world or American premieres, and nearly 30 new-work commissions. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.

“A mainstay of Chicago and beyond” (Chicago Sun-Times), the Goodman is internationally acclaimed for its “fresh work of magnitude and ambition (and) bold, risky theatrical choices” (Chicago Tribune). From new plays to “first-class revivals” (The New York Times), the Goodman has earned numerous awards for its productions: two Pulitzer Prizes; 22 Tony Awards, including Outstanding Regional Theatre (1992); and nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards.

The 90th Anniversary “Season to Celebrate” programming is rooted in the same spirit that launched the Goodman in 1925—an array of dramatic fare, from classics to noteworthy contemporary works, innovative and often controversial, embracing genres from farces to searing social dramas—honoring the theater’s past and envisioning its future. The nine-play season begins with an All-New Fall of works fostered and developed in the Goodman’s new play development programs followed by an “August Wilson Celebration” in spring 2015, the 10th anniversary of the playwright’s death and the 70th anniversary of his birth. This city-wide Celebration honors the longstanding collaboration between Wilson and the Goodman, the first theater in the world to produce all 10 works in his “20th Century Cycle.”

Visit the special anniversary website, GoodmanTheatre.org/90, to see famous faces who’ve worked at the theater, browse photos of classic productions and read interviews with noted artists.