Hoosier native’s return to IU stage a homecoming of sorts

For actor Grant Goodman, performing in “Much Ado About Nothing” during the Indiana Festival Theatre season is a homecoming of sorts.

Not only is the Seymour native close to his Hoosier hometown geographically, he’s also back on the IU Bloomington campus, where he attended choir and music camp as a youngster.

Grant Goodman

Native Hoosier Grant Goodman, right, returns to IU on stage at Indiana Festival Theatre.

“My dad was the football coach in Seymour for 30 years, so I played football,” Goodman said with a chuckle. “Coming here to IU, though, getting used to the campus, being exposed to people from all over the country was a great experience to be in the midst of these world-class artists. That was very eye-opening. And I made a lot of great friends.”

Despite being recruited out of high school for football, Goodman chose acting over sports. He studied at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, got his equity card and embarked on a life on the stage. He specializes in Shakespeare, and has performed with Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Utah Shakespeare Festival and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, among others. (Not a Shakespeare fan? His TV credits include “As the World Turns” and “Sex and the City.”)

Now, he’s performing just about an hour from his hometown, on the campus where he first learned to love the stage. He’s performing the role of Benedick in “Much Ado” and the “seminal role” — as he referred to it with a grin — of Cook in Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker.” The two plays are being done in repertory, playing on a rotating schedule throughout much of July. A full schedule is available online.

“I’m thrilled to be back home, and I really hope this festival continues to grow and thrive and get noticed,” Goodman said. “It’s a great thing for this community, and for all of Indiana.”

Indiana Festival Theatre-goers will be able to see Goodman’s fiancée, Jenny McKnight, in action as well. The two met while performing at Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis. McKnight, an MFA graduate of The University of Alabama, has performed at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and Goodman Theatre and recently participated in the New Harmony, Ind., playwriting workshop.

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