Thursday August 16 9:54 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

The Goodman's "Blind Date" offers a Glimpse into the Reagan White House

BlindDate-vert.jpg

The story is narrated by Ronald Regan’s Secretary of State, George Schultz (Jim Ortlieb) and Edmund Morris (Thomas J. Cox), President Reagan’s biographer. As the action unfolded, Schultz was a moving force whereas Morris was more of an observer.

One day, Schultz had lunch with Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs. In the midst of a discussion about the origin of the word kangaroo as the name of a cocktail made with Russian vodka. A bet was made, and it was hinted that a meeting between their two bosses might be possible.

In a meeting with President Reagan (Rob Riley), Caspar Weinberger (Torrey Hanson) railed against a summit, recommending military action instead. Schultz left the meeting almost positive that there would be no summit.

Soon after, Schultz was called into a meeting with Nancy Reagan (Deanna Dunagan), a woman who terrified him. After a polite conversation about insignificant topics, Nancy told Schultz that she’d been on the telephone with her astrologer, who recommended a mid-November date for a summit, rather than the October dates which had been discussed. This was the first Schultz knew that the summit was on!

After much persuasion from Shevardnadze, Mikhail Gorbachev (William Dick), General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, decided the meeting was on, his wife, Raisa (Mary Beth Fisher) had a new, more glamorous wardrobe made.

Once in Geneva, both President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev were both surrounded by their retinues, making any substantive discussion difficult. Only after Reagan invited Gorbachev to go for a private walk, did anything get accomplished.

Meanwhile, Nancy and Raisa sat down for a very stiff, formal tea. The two wives loathed each other, which was evidenced in the one or two word answers they gave each other. I think the tea was the funniest part of the whole play. I loved watching them fire zingers at each other with clenched jaws!

While Deanna Dunagan looked and sounded like Nancy Reagan, Rob Riley might have sounded a bit like Ronald Reagan, but he sure didn’t look much like him. Although I don’t remember very much about Mikhail Gorbachev, I think Steve Pickering nailed him.

Although the men are in boring suits and/or tuxedos, Nancy and Raisa both have some gorgeous clothes! I loved the revolving set designed by Riccardo Hernandez.

“Blind Date” runs through February 25th at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, Chicago. Most reasonable parking options for the Goodman:
• Valet parking garage on Randolph between Michigan and Wabash (across from the Cultural Center) at $15
• Government Center garage on Lake between LaSalle and Dearborn, online advance payment at www.interparkonline.com/goodmantheatre, $17.00.
Running time is 2 hours, no intermission. Performances are:
• Wednesdays at 7:30 pm
• Thursdays at 2:00 and 7:30 pm
• Fridays at 8:00 pm
• Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 pm
• Sundays at 2:00 and 7:30 pm
• There is a special performance at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, February 13th.
• No evening performance on February 11th or 18th.
Tickets range from $20-$75. FYI (312) 443-3800 or www.goodmantheatre.org.