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Swing State  By  cover art

Swing State

By: Rebecca Gilman
Narrated by: Anne E. Thompson, Bubba Weiler, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Mary Beth Fisher
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Publisher's summary

"A rare piece of storytelling you’ll be talking about for days afterward.” That’s how the Northwest Herald describes Swing State, Rebecca Gilman’s bracing, brilliant play, now brought to life exclusively for audio by the original off-Broadway cast.

When a recently widowed woman in rural Wisconsin notices her husband’s toolbox is missing, she calls the authorities—and unwittingly starts a chain of events that will forever change her community. What begins as a disarmingly simple mystery blooms into an exploration of loss, the fragility of the environment, and what it means to connect and heal.

©2024 Rebecca Gilman (P)2024 AO Media LLC

Up Close & Personal with the team Behind Swing State

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About the Playwright

Rebecca Gilman is an artistic associate at Goodman Theatre. Her plays include Luna Gale; A True History of the Johnstown Flood; Dollhouse; Boy Gets Girl; Spinning Into Butter; Blue Surge (all of which were originally produced by the Goodman); Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976, and The Crowd You’re in With (also at the Goodman); The Glory of Living; The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Gilman is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, The Harper Lee Award, The Scott McPherson Award, The Prince Prize for Commissioning New Work, The Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, The Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, The George Devine Award, The Theatre Masters Visionary Award, The Great Plains Playwright Award, a Global Connections Grant by Theatre Communications Group, an American Scandinavian Foundation Creative Writing Grant, and an Illinois Arts Council playwriting fellowship. Boy Gets Girl received an Olivier nomination for Best New Play. Gilman was named a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for The Glory of Living. She is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America and a board member of the ACLU of Illinois. A graduate of the MFA in playwriting program from the University of Iowa, Gilman is now a professor of playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University as part of its MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage program. In 2016, she was inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

About the Director

Robert Falls' theater and opera work over four decades has included groundbreaking new plays, reimagined classics, large-scale musical works, and more. Falls’ major recent projects include a new production of Don Giovanni (Lyric Opera of Chicago/Dallas Opera); David Cale’s We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time (Goodman Theatre and the Public Theater NYC); The Winter’s Tale; An Enemy of the People; a new adaptation for the stage of Roberto Bolaño’s epic novel 2666; and The Iceman Cometh, starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy (Brooklyn Academy of Music). Two of Falls’ most highly acclaimed Broadway productions— Death of a Salesman and Long Day’s Journey into Night—first staged at the Goodman, were honored with seven Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. Other noteworthy Broadway productions include Desire under the Elms; The Night of the Iguana; Conor McPherson’s Shining City (Tony Award nomination); Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio (Tony Award nomination); The Rose Tattoo at Circle in the Square (Tony Award nomination); Horton Foote's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Young Man from Atlanta; and Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Off-Broadway productions include Beth Henley’s The Jacksonian; Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge; Nicky Silver’s The Food Chain; and Eric Bogosian’s subUrbia at Lincoln Center Theater (Obie Award). For the Goodman, Falls’ extensive credits include King Lear; Uncle Vanya; Measure for Measure; Galileo; The Tempest; Hughie; A Touch of the Poet; The Misanthrope; Landscape of the Body; Three Sisters; his own adaptation of The Seagull; and the Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey for which he wrote a new book. He also directed the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden, and the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s final play, Finishing the Picture. He is the recipient of multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards, as well as such prestigious honors as the O’Neill Medallion (Eugene O’Neill Society) and the Savva Morozov Diamond Award from the Moscow Art Theatre. In 2015, Falls was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

About the Performer

Anne E. Thompson (Dani) makes her off-Broadway debut in Swing State in a role she originated at Goodman Theatre. Additional Goodman credits include: the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s Twilight Bowl; Uncle Vanya; A Christmas Carol; and the New Stages Festival productions of Fires, Ohio and Twilight Bowl. Regionally, Anne has worked with American Players Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Door Shakespeare, and Montana Shakespeare in the Schools. Chicago credits include: work with Writers Theatre, Silk Road Rising, and The Sound. Film and television credits include Chicago Med (NBC), The Bear (FX), and Beth Hyland’s Clambake. She is a graduate of the School of Theatre at Illinois State University and represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.

About the Performer

Bubba Weiler (Ryan) is thrilled to be returning to Swing State after creating the role of “Ryan” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. New York stage appearances include the first American principal cast playing “Scorpius Malfoy” in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, Dead Poets Society (CSC), and The Burnt Part Boys (Vineyard). Films include Puzzle, The Ranger, and Antarctica, and on television he can be seen in Kaleidoscope, Dopesick, Run the World, Pose, Chicago PD, Chicago Justice, The Good Fight, Odd Mom Out, The Mysteries of Laura, The Slap, and Unforgettable.

About the Performer

Mary Beth Fisher (Peg) has been a frequent collaborator at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, appearing in over 20 productions including The Sound Inside, Blind Date, Luna Gale, The Little Foxes, God of Carnage, The Seagull, Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike, and The Clean House. Other Chicago credits include: Domesticated (Jeff Award), Dead Man’s Cell Phone, The Dresser (Steppenwolf); Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (with Harris Yulin), Three Tall Women, TheYear of Magical Thinking (Jeff Award), and others (Court Theatre). She has appeared at TimeLine, Victory Gardens, AboutFace, Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight, Writer’s, and Remy Bumppo theatres. NY credits include: Frank’s Home (Playwrights’ Horizons), Boy Gets Girl (Drama League Honoree, Drama Desk and Lucile Lortel nominations), The Radical Mystique, and By the Sea… (Manhattan Theatre Club); The Night of the Iguana (Roundabout), Extremities (Westside Arts), and others. She has worked at regional theatres all over the country. TV/Film credits include: Saint Frances, Sense8, Chicago Justice, Chicago Fire, Chicago Code, Without a Trace, Numb3rs, Prison Break, NYPD Blue, Profiler, Dragonfly, and Trauma. Ms. Fisher was an Inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellow at the Ten Chimneys Foundation representing Goodman Theatre. She is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent and HCKR Agency.

About the Performer

Kirsten Fitzgerald (Sheriff Kris) is a proud member of the Artistic Ensemble at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago and has served as the Artistic Director since 2008. In addition to Swing State, she’s originated roles in the world premieres of Grey House by Levi Holloway and Traitor, Pilgrim’s Progress, Weapon of Mass Impact by Brett Neveu (A Red Orchid); I Hate It Here by Ike Holter (Goodman); Lettie by Boo Killebrew; and Appropriate by Brandon Jacob Jenkins (Victory Gardens); Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlow; and Bruce Norris’ The Qualms (Steppenwolf). Kirsten earned Jeff Awards for her performance in The Sea Horse and for her direction of The Moors at A Red Orchid. Television credits include Shining Girls, Somebody Somewhere, The Big Leap, The Exorcist, Sirens, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Underemployed, and ER. Films include Widows, Killing Eleanor and Working Man. Kirsten is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent.

What listeners say about Swing State

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5 stars

for only an hour and a half its really engaging, I was hooked almost instantly

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1 person found this helpful

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A Collision of Psyche

Sad yes, true yes. Beautifully narrated and tragically realistic. I went away said, but with eyes wide open.

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Great listen!

Wonerful story and great actors. Leaves you guessing till the end. We'll done!
Definitely recommend.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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A Sweet Tale of Dysfunction

It's difficult to understand how this play was said to have been uplifting during the COVID-19 epidemic. In reality the cast of characters were all very weak. Each one had something they were struggling with. Neither could truly provide support for another. Auntie sheriff represented the worst possible personality for her job, always escalating never calming. In all, it's very depressing.

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Sweet little story

The only weak link was one of the narrators but overall this was a tender little listen.

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The emotional breakdown I had at the end of the book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The rawness of each character. The relationships between characters. Ryan wrapped me around his little finger at Jump Street. It was much more of an extreme roller coaster than I was expecting and I’m not exaggerating when I say, I cried serious tears in this one. I’d most definitely recommend to most anyone…maybe I’d give a bitty warning to some.
Includes beautiful unconditional love and caring. In this world today? You can’t get too much of that.

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Passion of performers

The mix of the environmental issues ,the problem of addiction and recovery from loss in the very short amount of time of the story did not give of these topics enough time to

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Gut wrenching

Excellent but it tore my heart out. I would skip if ur not into feeling wrecked.

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Heartbreaking

I read reviews about it before I listened, and a lot of them said it was morbid. That intrigued me into listening. I thought it was heartbreaking and beautiful. I even cried at the end. Definitely worth a listen.

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Heartbreaking story

It deals well with human emotions. It did feel like the subject matter was a bit too rich for a short story

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