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Swing State | Goodman Theatre

"Deserves a broadway run"

Chicago Tribune

Oct 7 - Nov 13, 2022 in Goodman's Owen Theatre

Around 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission

Swing State "is perhaps the first of the great American post-COVID plays" (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune).

It's hard to know who your friends are in a world that's more divided than ever.

Recently widowed, Peg tends to the native plants in her 40-acre rural Wisconsin prairie backyard, her solitary days interrupted only by visits from a family friend with a checkered past. When a mysterious theft alerts the authorities, a string of events unfold that forever changes their lives. Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Rebecca Gilman and her longtime collaborator, Tony Award-winning director Robert Falls, team up again for their sixth Goodman production—a contemporary portrait of America's heartland in a time when it feels like everyone's way of life is in danger of disappearing.

Read Content Advisory Info
  • Swing State is suggested for ages 14 and up. Please be aware that this production contains a gun shot and depictions of police violence and suicide. For more information contact the box office at 312.443.3800

Swing State is SOLD OUT. Tickets to upcoming performances may be returned, and a handful of standby tickets are available for purchase. Contact the box office (312.443.3800, 12noon – 5pm) for up-to-date availability.

Please Note: Masks are currently recommended, but not required, while in the theater. Policies may change based on prevailing medical guidance. Learn more about Goodman’s current Health and Safety Protocols at

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Critical Praise
  • "★★★★ (out of 4) extraordinary new play"

    - Chicago Tribune

  • "Gilman, Falls and this enormously talented cast are a winning combination"

    - Daily Herald

  • "The performances are superb"

    - Chicago Sun-Times

  • "a rare piece of storytelling that you’ll be talking about for days afterward"

    - Northwest Herald

  • Falls "brings out the best in his actors"

    - Chicago Sun-Times

  • Gilman "has morphed into a great poet of the Upper Midwest"

    - Chicago Tribune

  • Fisher “[is] doing the best work of her career”

    - Chicago Tribune

  • "moves audiences from laughter to tears "

    - Daily Herald

  • Swing State "blew me away"

    - Chicago Tribune

Audience Feedback
  • It was excellent! A collective visceral reaction from the audience!

    Becky B. via Facebook

  • Standing ovation for the new production of Swing State by Rebecca Gilman! Talented cast, brilliant writing.

    @JBing215 via Twitter

  • Stunning performances for all...a wonderful new play.

    @svargato via Instagram

  • This show was so well done and brilliantly acted!

    Rick S. via Facebook

Enhanced Performances

Join us for any of the following accessible & enhanced performances.

Questions? Please contact 312.443.3800 (voice), 312.443.3829 (TTY/TDD) or email

Touch Tour and Audio Described performanceTouch Tour* and Audio-Described Performance
Saturday, November 5
12:30pm Touch Tour & 2pm Performance
Use code AUDIO for $20 tickets

American Sign Language Interpreted PerformanceAmerican Sign Language-Interpreted Performance
Friday, October 28 at 8pm
Use code SIGN for $20 tickets

Open Caption Performance Open-Captioned Performance
Sunday, November 6 at 2pm
Use code OPEN for $20 tickets

Spanish Caption Spanish Subtitles Performance
Saturday, November 5 at 8pm
Use code SPANISH for $20 tickets

Learn More About Accessible & Enhanced Performances for Swing State

*Touch Tours for the 2022/2023 Season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.

Special Events
  • Swing State: Scene Night

    Swing State: Scene Night

    Thursday, October 27 at 6pm

    Join Goodman Theatre’s Scenemakers Board for an evening of networking and mingling with other Chicago young professionals, followed by a performance of Swing State.


Recommended Reads
  • Swing State Review, Chicago Tribune

    Review: Swing State at the Goodman is the best play yet to tap into our current divided nation

    By Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

    "Swing State is perhaps the first of the great American post-COVID plays, the first work I’ve seen not just to wrestle with what happened during the pandemic but also to explore, and call out, the fundamental changes it has wrought on our collective psyche..."


  • Mary Beth Fisher

    Speaking with Mary Beth Fisher

    A few weeks before rehearsals began for Swing State, Resident Dramaturg Neena Arndt sat down with actor Mary Beth Fisher to talk about her previous roles at the Goodman and why she loves performing in plays by Rebecca Gilman...


  • Rebecca Gilman

    A Goodman Field Guide to Rebecca Gilman

    In just over 25 years of collaboration, Rebecca Gilman is the Goodman Theatre’s most produced living playwright, with, as of Swing State, 10 mainstage productions, including eight world premieres...


  • Swing State preview, Chicago Sun-Times

    Rebecca Gilman achieves milestone at Goodman Theatre with politically charged Swing State

    By Catey Sullivan, Chicago Sun-Times

    Swing State is set in summer, 2021, in a tiny Wisconsin town, not wholly unlike the one Gilman calls home in a rural area near New Glarus. The plot follows neighbors on opposite ends of the political spectrum, all trying to survive in a post-pandemic world where something as small as a bumper sticker can spark vicious, futile discord — or worse.


  • Swing State preview, American Theatre Magazine

    Gilman and Falls: A Match Made at the Goodman

    By Jill Grant, American Theatre Magazine

    “Rebecca is my real soulmate,” said Falls. “We fight about things similarly, like how we both view the theatre, how actors should tell stories, and the subject matter.” Fights aside, he said, “We respect each other, knowing we are working toward a common goal.”


Season Overview

Daring. Dynamic. Iconic. The 2022/2023 Season

Bold voices and vivid stories you won’t find anywhere else await you in our 2022/2023 Season. From world premieres to reimagined classics, a direct-from-Broadway smash hit and an epic revival of a Grammy Award-winning rock opera.


Swing State Sponsors