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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Steppenwolf Theatre Company to present Dance Nation

This article shared 2866 times since Tue Dec 17, 2019
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CHICAGO ( December 16, 2019 ) — Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Chicago premiere production Pulitzer Prize FinalistDance Nation by Clare Barron, directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans. Steppenwolf's production features ensemble members Audrey Francis ( The Moms/Vanessa ), Tim Hopper ( Dance Teacher Pat ), Caroline Neff ( Zuzu ), andKaren Rodriguez ( Amina ) with Ariana Burks ( Sofia ), Adithi Chandrashekar ( Connie ), Shanésia Davis ( Ashlee ), Torrey Hanson ( Luke ) and Ellen Maddow ( Maeve ) is now on stage. A success-driven pre-teen dance troupe finds themselves trying to understand their ambition, insecurities, changing bodies, rivalries and friendships while exploring the desires, confusion and sometimes feral nature of adolescence.

Previews began December 12, 2019 ( opening is Thursday, December 19 and press performance is Friday, December 20, 2019 at 7:30pm. ) and the production runs through February 2, 2020 in the Upstairs Theatre ( 1650 N Halsted St ). Single tickets ( $20 - $94 ) are on sale now through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or . Classic and Flex Memberships are currently available for the 2019/20 Season. To purchase a Membership and secure the best seats at the lowest prices, contact Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or

A pre-teen dance troupe navigates ambition, friendship and desire as they claw their way to Nationals in Tampa Bay. Featuring a multigenerational cast of women playing our pre-teen heroines, this Chicago premiere is fiercely funny, theatrically inventive and full of heart.

Playwright Clare Barron shares "I hope that an audience will remember things about their 13-year-old selves that they had forgotten, and that there is a little bit of an awakening of old feral rumbles... There's a strength there that I remember having as a kid that I sometimes miss as an adult. I hope this play is a bit of an archaeology project that allows people to recover their inner teenage girl strength."

Director Lee Sunday Evans on what excites her about this production: "I have always had an art crush on Steppenwolf Theatre so it's a thrill to get to do a new production of this play that I love so much at this legendary theater. Clare is one of my closest collaborators, and I've learned so much about theater and art from her... Also—I love actors and I love designers, and the cast and creative team that's on board for this production is totally extraordinary— Arnulfo Maldonado, our brilliant scenic designer from the first production, and Ellen Maddow, who unforgettably originated the role of Maeve, are coming with us to Chicago. I'm also glad everyone in Chicago will get to know them."

Meet the Cast

The cast features ( Pictured Top, L to R ) Audrey Francis ( The Moms/Vanessa ), Tim Hopper ( Dance Teacher Pat ),Caroline Neff ( Zuzu ), and Karen Rodriguez ( Amina ); ( Pictured Bottom, L to R ) Ariana Burks ( Sofia ), Adithi Chandrashekar ( Connie ), Ellen Maddow ( Maeve ), Torrey Hanson ( Luke ) and Shanésia Davis ( Ashlee ).

Audrey Francis has been an ensemble member since 2017. At Steppenwolf she has been seen in The Doppelgänger ( an international farce ), You Got Older, The Fundamentals, among others. Chicago credits include Kill Floor ( American Theater Company ); Witch, Othello and Another Part of the Forest ( Writers Theatre ); Talking Pictures ( Goodman Theatre ) and Awake and Sing! ( Northlight Theatre ). Audrey also teaches at and is the co-founder of Black Box Acting. Tim Hopper is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble. Recent roles at Steppenwolf include Andy in Downstate and Paul in Linda Vista. He also appeared at the Goodman Theatre in the title role of Uncle Vanya. Caroline Neff joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble in Spring 2016. At Steppenwolf, she has been in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, You Got OIder, Linda Vista ( also at the Taper Forum and Second Stage Broadway ),The Flick, Airline Highway ( also the Broadway production at Manhattan Theatre Club ), among others. Select theatre credits include Lettie ( Jeff Award Best Actor, Victory Gardens Theater ); Uncle Vanya ( Goodman Theatre ), A Brief History of Helen of Troy ( Jeff Award for Best Actress ) and Peerless ( Yale Repertory Theatre ). Karen Rodriguez is a Steppenwolf ensemble member, where she was last seen in La Ruta, The Doppelgänger ( an international farce ) and The Rembrandt. Other credits include Breach by Antoinette Nwandu ( Victory Gardens Theater ), The Way She Spoke by Isaac Gomez ( Greenhouse Theater Center ), The Displaced ( Haven Theater ); Hookman ( Steep Theatre ); Blue Skies Process, Another Word for Beauty ( Goodman Theatre ); good friday ( Jeff nomination for Best Ensemble; Oracle ) and others.

Ariana Burks was last seen in Steppenwolf for Young Adults' The Compass. Other theatre credits include Trevor the Musical ( Writers Theatre ), Urinetown ( BoHo Theatre ), The Nutcracker ( The House Theatre ), Hairspray ( Paramount Theatre & Drury Lane ), among others. Adithi Chandrashekar is making her Steppenwolf debut. Recent Chicago credits include Bull in a China Shop ( About Face Theatre ); We're Gonna Be Okay ( American Theater Company ) and Wit ( The Hypocrites ). Shanésia Davis was last seen on Steppenwolf's stage in The Glass Menagerie, One Arm and The Gift Theater's Richard III. Other Chicago credits include Native Son, Othello ( Court Theatre ); What I learned in Paris, Brothers of The Dust ( BTAA & BEA awards - Best Actress; Congo Square Theatre ); landladies ( Northlight Theatre ) among others. Ellen Maddow is making her Steppenwolf debut. Off Broadway credits include Dance Nation ( Playwrights Horizons ). She is a founding member of Talking Band. Favorite roles include City of No Illusions, The Room Sings, The Golden Toad, Marcellus Shale, Betty and the Blenders, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth ( La Mama ); The Lily's Revenge ( HERE ) and The Peripherals ( Dixon Place ). Torrey Hanson is making his Steppenwolf debut. Chicago credits include Blind Date ( Goodman ); Pericles, Julius Caesar, The Madness of George III, Elizabeth Rex ( Chicago Shakespeare ); Arcadia ( Writer's ); The Nutcracker ( The House ); A Christmas Carol ( Drury Lane ); Cock ( Profiles ) and Paulus ( Silk Road Rising ).

For full cast and creative team bios, visit .

About the Playwright

image014.jpgClare Barron is a New York based playwright. Her play Dance Nation was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, the recipient of the 2017 Susan Smith Blackburn award, and previously received the inaugural Relentless Award ( 2015 ); the play received its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2018 and ran at the Almeida Theatre in London. Barron's play You Got Older ( 2015 Obie award for Playwriting; nominee for 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play; finalist for the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize ) received its world premiere through P73 under the direction of Anne Kauffman and produced at Steppenwolf in 2018. Her play Baby Screams Miracle was recently produced at Woolly Mammoth, after having premiered as part of Clubbed Thumb's 2013 SummerWorks Festival. Her play I'll Never Love Again was produced at the Bushwick Starr in 2016 and was a New York Times Critics' Pick. She is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award ( Vineyard Theater ), the 2014 P73 Playwriting Fellowship; she has received Sloan commissions from MTC and EST, and is also under commission to Lincoln Center Theater, and Playwrights Horizons. She was recently staffed on Maria Semple's upcoming show on HBO, Today Will Be Different, starring Julia Roberts, and is currently developing a project with Gran Via Productions attached for AMC.

About the Director

Lee Sunday Evans is an Obie award-winning director and choreographer and was recently appointed Artistic Director of Waterwell. Recent credits include the world premiere of Dance Nation by Clare Barron ( Playwrights Horizons ); Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew ( Long Wharf Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center ); The Things That Were There by David Greenspan ( Bushwick Starr ); Intractable Woman by Stefano Massini ( The Play Company ); The Winter's Tale ( the Public ); Home ( BAM ); Farmhouse/Whorehouse by Suzanne Bocanegra ( BAM ); Bull In A China Shop by Bryna Turner ( Lincoln Center/LCT3 ); Caught by Christopher Chen ( The Play Company ); [Porto] by Kate Benson ( The Bushwick Starr ); A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of The Great Lakes by Kate Benson ( OBIE Award; Women's Project, New Georges ); All The Roads Home by Jen Silverman ( Cincinnati Playhouse ); Macbeth ( performed by three women; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival ); Wellesley Girl by Brendan Pelsue ( Humana Festival ); D Deb Debbie Deborah by Jerry Lieblich ( Clubbed Thumb ). She additionally creates original ensemble-devised performance work with CollaborationTown. Evans' work has been presented and developed at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Sundance Theatre Festival, CATCH, 59E59, The New Ohio, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, The Culture Project, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, Dixon Place, LaMama. Recipient of the 2017 SDC Breakout Award and the Vineyard Theatre's 2016 Susan Stroman Award.

The Dance Nation production team includes Arnulfo Maldonado ( Scenic Design ), Christine Pascual ( Costume Design ),Heather Gilbert ( Lighting Design ), Mikhail Fiksel ( Sound Design ) and Gigi Buffington ( Company Voice and Text Coach ). Additional credits include Mary Hungerford ( Stage Manager ), Kathleen Barrett ( Assistant Stage Manager ), Jacqueline Saldana ( Assistant Stage Manager ), Tonia Sina ( Intimacy Choreographer ), Mary Williamson ( Special Effects Consultant ), JC Clementz ( Casting Director ) and Greta Honold ( Artistic Producer ).

Ticket and Membership Info

Preview tickets for Dance Nation ( December 12 —18 ) range from $20 — $84. The show opens Thursday, December 19 at 7pm and single tickets for the regular run ( December 20 — February 02 ) range from $20 - $94.

Steppenwolf offers 20 for $20 — twenty $20 tickets available on the day of the performance beginning at 11am ( Mon — Sat ) and 1pm ( Sun ), by phone only at 312-335-1650. Limit 2 per person. Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. There are a limited number of $15 student tickets available online for each show, All groups of 6 or more receive a discounted rate;

While single ticket prices are subject to change, audiences can secure set ticket prices and seats at lower rates with Classic and Flexible Memberships.

Classic Memberships starting as low as $150 guarantee your seats, offer exclusive invitations to behind-the-scenes events and unlock special discounts at the theatre and in the neighborhood. 2019/20 five and six play membership packages are still available; discounted packages for students and teachers and accessible packages are also offered.

Flexible Membership options include the Black Card which starts as low as $180. With a Black Card, you receive six flexible tickets to use whenever and however you want for an entire year. Use all six tickets before that year is up? Reload your card to keep those experiences coming. Under 30? Join Steppenwolf RED for just $100 and enjoy the same six flexible tickets ( that's less than $17 a credit and almost 80% off single ticket prices ). Black and RED cardholders receive exclusive discounts, special perks and access to member-only events. For more information, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or

Plan Your Visit

Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ( $13 or $15, cash or card ) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ( $15 cash ) is available directly in front of the main entrance starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12noon before Wednesday matinees. Limited street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at 312.335.1774.

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and the Downstairs and 1700 Theatres are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theaters feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.

Accessible Performances:

American Sign Language Interpretation: Sunday, January 5 at 7:30pm

Open Captioning: Thursday, January 2 at 7:30pm and Saturday, January 18 at 3pm

Audio Description and Touch Tour: Sunday, January 12 at 1:30pm

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks

Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf's own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, offering a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesdays — Sundays, Front Bar serves locally roasted coffee and espresso by Passion House Coffee Roasters and features food by The Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service.

Year of Chicago Theatre

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there's always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at .

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation's premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago's diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf's Board of Trustees.

Steppenwolf's Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.

For additional information, visit,, .

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