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Editorial: Chicago theaters ready for Al Pacino closeup

Al Pacino attends premiere  'StUp Guys' Thursday openiing night 48th Chicago International Film Festival Harris Theater Chicago.  |

Al Pacino attends the premiere of "Stand Up Guys" on Thursday, the openiing night of the 48th Chicago International Film Festival at the Harris Theater in Chicago. | Timothy Hiatt~Getty Images

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Updated: November 16, 2012 6:14AM

Al Pacino says he’d like to do a play in Chicago.

Or so he told Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Bill Zwecker on Thursday.

What an excellent idea. So many great Chicago playwrights, directors and actors have dazzled on Broadway, from David Mamet to Robert Falls to Amy Morton to Tracy Letts. To this day, we’re still trying to convince our speechless New York friends that Letts’ “August: Osage County” was even better in Chicago.

Cosmic balance requires that an occasional Al Pacino wander back our way.

The cool thing is that this could happen. Pacino says he has made a serious pitch to a couple of theaters in town, or “anybody who would have me,” to do something here. He’s thinking Shakespeare, O’Neill or Mamet. And when on Friday we bounced the idea off folks at the Goodman Theatre, we discovered they were way ahead of us.

“We’ve been keeping a list — what plays would have great roles for Al Pacino,” said Henry Godinez, the Goodman’s resident artistic associate. “Just this morning I thought of another play not on the list, one with an incredible role for Al Pacino.”

That would be “The Royal Hunt of the Sun,” a 1964 play by Peter Shaffer, in which Pacino would play the world-weary conquistador Francisco Pizarro, a man who struggles with his conscience — more Michael Corleone than Tony Montana.

“It’s right where Al Pacino is right now, agewise and emotionally,” Godinez said. “There hasn’t been a major revival of this play in a long time.”

Other plays on the Goodman’s Pacino list include Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” in which Al would play Joe Keller, the conscience-racked maker of faulty plane engines; “The Lion in Winter,” in which Al would play Henry II, “and Romeo and Juliet,” in which he would play Friar Laurence.

Somebody should really make Al Pacino an offer he can’t refuse.

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