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By Thomas Connors | Photo: by Liz Lauren | May 14, 2018
Stacy Keach returns to play Ernest Hemingway at the Goodman Theatre.
Plays don’t often open and close in one night. But when an onstage heart attack hit Stacy Keach at the premiere of the one-man Hemingway bio Pamplona last year, the curtain never went up again. “Naturally, I was devastated,” says the actor. “I wanted to go back onstage and resume the play, but that was out of the question.” Until now. Pamplona and Keach triumphantly return to the Goodman Theatre this summer.
Keach grew up in California, but his actor father was born in Chicago, attended Lake View High School and worked as a soda jerk, once scooping up chocolate ice cream for Al Capone. His son’s first Chicago gig was Goodman’s 2004 production of Arthur Miller’s Finishing the Picture. Two years later, he was back, playing King Lear. Besides the pleasure he takes in performing here, Keach is honored to serve on the advisory board of local nonprofit Genesis at the Crossroads, which uses art and education to foster cross-cultural understanding.
As for Hemingway—whom he previously portrayed in a 1988 miniseries—Keach suggests the macho man persona overshadows other aspects of the writer’s personality. “Hemingway was also extremely vulnerable, especially concerning the women in his life,” he says. “As an actor, it is impossible for me to make value judgments on the character I play. My responsibility is to express and reveal as many facets of Hemingway’s emotional behavior as I can.” Tickets $25-$85, July 10-Aug. 19, 170 N. Dearborn St.