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Gloria Brings Eye-Opening Satire to Goodman Theatre College Night

By John Hounihan

Our program is all about the cross between arts and industry – how we as leaders can relate to both artists and professionals. Last week, however, a group of MSCLE traveled to the Goodman Theatre to see a show that exposed the underbelly of the professional world.

On the surface, the latest Goodman production Gloria, which was nominated for the 2016 Pulitzer prize in drama, is a workplace comedy that takes a sharp edge to the American workplace. Upward mobility, clashing personalities, and the effects of the 9 to 5 grind are all tackled in the fast paced first act of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ satirical script. With that as the backdrop, the play takes a chilling twist midway through, and opens the eyes of about a thousand audience members each performance. On the Goodman’s college night, 10 of those were MSCLE students.

We were welcomed with a free meal and remarks from a cast member, and felt the vibrant community of the Goodman ripe with the future leaders and stars of the Chicago theatre scene. As we discussed the play after, the shared experience and questions raised resonated with us as we contemplated internships, career, and a future in arts offices everywhere.

As MSLCE student Kat Hudson said, “Gloria brings insights on how to navigate a group that you spend 40 hours a week with, but whose stories you don’t really know.”

No matter what audiences think of the play, it brings to light questions and warnings about the modern workplace that we as managers, and professionals everywhere, would benefit from heeding.

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