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Steppenwolf Theatre announces 2022-23 season in its expanded campus
-- From a press release
2022-04-20

This article shared 685 times since Wed Apr 20, 2022
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CHICAGO (April 19, 2022)—Steppenwolf Theatre Company Artistic Directors Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis and Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan announced the 2022-23 season today. With six Steppenwolf Membership Series productions and two Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) productions, the 47th season is the storied company's first full season in its expanded home—welcoming audiences back to experience the next chapter of Steppenwolf's bold, visceral and muscular work, while celebrating a dynamic range of exciting new voices and Steppenwolf legends.

Artistic Director Glenn Davis shares, "Steppenwolf and the ensemble of artists that call our theater home are thrilled to share plans for our most robust in-person season since emerging from the pandemic. With six extraordinary works for adult audiences in the Ensemble and Downstairs Theaters, two world-premiere adaptations developed for teens in our Steppenwolf for Young Adults Series, and performances by countless local artists and itinerant companies continuing in our 1700 Theater, we are activating our expanded campus with an amazing spectrum of voices that reflect the vibrant city we call home."

This year, Steppenwolf unveiled its 50,000-square-foot Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and featuring the new in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue. Steppenwolf's first-ever dedicated education space, The Loft, encompasses the entire fourth floor of the new building, and two new full-service lobby bars designed by fc STUDIO, inc. offer additional spaces for socializing alongside the popular Front Bar. The 2022/23 Season continues this transformative moment with four world premieres and three Chicago premieres bursting with vital stories and questions for our times.

"Chicago formed who I am as an artist, and my goal is to do for Chicago what Chicago has done for us," shares Artistic Director Audrey Francis. "The newly expanded Steppenwolf campus was created as a love letter to our city—a space where audiences from across our 77 neighborhoods can share in the work on our stages and engage in conversations about it. The 2022/23 Season honors that commitment with wide-ranging programming that will activate not only our stages, but the spaces between. We can't wait to see how these plays catalyze conversation and inspire self-reflection and learning across our café and bars and throughout The Loft. This is the work of the modern American Theatre—to knit back together the threads of a divided society and illuminate that there is more that unites us than divides us."

World premieres for the 2022/23 Season include: Vichet Chum's Bald Sisters, a story of sisters reconciling their family's Cambodian heritage with its complicated American present, directed by Patricia McGregor; ensemble member Kate Arrington's playwrighting debut with Another Marriage, an intimate and beautifully rendered portrait of marriage that upends the typical romantic comedy, directed by ensemble member and co-founder Terry Kinney; the SYA production of 1919, adapted by J. Nicole Brooks from Eve L. Ewing's collection of luminous and searing poems about the killing of Black teenager Eugene Williams off the segregated 1919 Chicago lakeshore and how this tragedy reverberates today, directed by Gabrielle Randle-Bent and Tasia A. Jones; and the SYA production of Chlorine Sky, directed by Ericka Ratcliff and adapted by Mahogany L. Browne from her popular young adult novel of the same title, an intimate coming-of-age story about two friends told in verse.

Three Chicago premieres bring more exciting new voices to Steppenwolf: James Ijames' fantastical play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington, a fever dream about the dying "Mother of America," directed by Whitney White and featuring ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper; ensemble member Rajiv Joseph's Describe the Night, a sweeping and arresting epic that follows the unlikely lives of seven Russians as they unearth mysteries buried by decades of history and fiction; and Donnetta Lavinia Grays' stunning, poetic and heartbreaking portrait of Black love, Last Night and the Night Before, directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton and featuring ensemble member Namir Smallwood.

Concluding the 2022/23 Season, Steppenwolf returns to Harold Pinter's modern masterpiece No Man's Land, directed by Obie Award winner Les Waters and featuring ensemble member Austin Pendleton and ensemble member and co-founder Jeff Perry in an alcohol-fueled evening that is at turns a generational power struggle, a tug of war between expert wordsmiths, and a maze of murky meaning—or perhaps just two old English sots waxing nostalgic and waiting for the sun to rise.

"Steppenwolf has long served as both a launching pad for new work and a place where our ensemble can daringly explore classics from a contemporary lens. The 2022/23 Season is no exception—and we are energized by the community of extraordinary artists whose collective work will animate our stages," shares Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan. "This is Steppenwolf at its finest—lightning in a bottle. We invite audiences to dive into these poignant and irreverent stories and are hopeful that as we double down on our commitment to Chicago, Chicagoans will join us as members in supporting the collection of artists whose work illuminates our 47th season. By participating in the full ride ahead, audiences will explore our complex world and reconnect to the heartbeat of our shared humanity."

2022/23 Classic Memberships are now on sale starting as low as $125 and include all six Membership Series productions—three plays in the Downstairs Theater and three plays in the new Ensemble Theater. Classic Members get to choose their seats along with full membership benefits, including unlimited ticket exchanges. Flex Memberships offer six ticket credits that allow patrons flexibility in when and how they see shows at Steppenwolf. For patrons under 30, RED Card Memberships offer six ticket credits for just $100. All members can secure their seats to Steppenwolf for Young Adults performances before they go on sale to the public. Discounted packages for students and teachers and accessible packages are also available. For more information and to purchase Memberships, visit Audience Services at 1650 N. Halsted Street, call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org/memberships.

Steppenwolf's LookOut Series also returns to the 1700 Theater in the 2022/23 Season for a full year of eclectic and genre-defying performance. A home for Chicago's resilient storytellers, comedians and musicians, LookOut recently relaunched with a bold slate of comedy, storytelling and music for Summer 2022 and beyond. Highlights include talk show That Shit's Trans: Live! hosted by Irregular Girl; a burst-out-of-quarantine celebration from storytelling series You're Being Ridiculous; an evening of hilarious comedy from Chicago favorites BAPS, and more. The LookOut series is ongoing, with full programming at steppenwolf.org/lookout.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2022/23 Season

(All plays, artists and dates are subject to change)

Chicago Premiere

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington

By James Ijames

Directed by Whitney White

Featuring ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper

September 1 — October 9, 2022

In the Downstairs Theater

The recently widowed "Mother of America" lies alone in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and attended to by the very same enslaved people who will be free the moment she dies. The form-shifting fever dream that follows takes us deep into the uncomfortable and horrific ramifications of this country's original sin. Dizzying and fantastical, this skewering Chicago premiere from James Ijames' daring voice puts the American myth on trial.

World Premiere

Bald Sisters

By Vichet Chum

Directed by Patricia McGregor

December 1, 2022 — January 15, 2023

In the Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell

Ma is dead; now what happens? Vichet Chum's world premiere follows two sisters—at odds since birth—as they settle the affairs of their strong-willed, wise-cracking mother while reconciling their family's Cambodian heritage with its ever-so-complicated American present. Where's the will? A burial or cremation? And what do we do with Ma's teeth? Bald Sisters is an irreverent, comic and ultimately poignant examination of the ties that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together: history, spirituality, and humor.

Bald Sisters was developed at Steppenwolf as part of the SCOUT new play development program, which also developed La Ruta by Isaac Gómez.

Chicago Premiere

Describe the Night

By ensemble member Rajiv Joseph

March 2 — April 9, 2023

In the Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell

Truth is lie; lie is truth. Russia, 1920: Jewish writer Isaac Babel begins a journal while serving in war. Ninety years later, this same journal is found in the wreckage of a suspicious plane crash. What did Babel write, and why does it matter? Ensemble member Rajiv Joseph's sweeping and arresting epic follows the unlikely lives of seven Russians—soldiers and poets, KGB agents and babushkas—as they unearth mysteries buried by decades of history, fiction and blood.

Chicago Premiere

Last Night and the Night Before

By Donnetta Lavinia Grays

Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton

Featuring ensemble member Namir Smallwood

April 6 — May 14, 2023

In the Downstairs Theater

Monique is on the run. From what, she will not say. Showing up on the doorstep of her sister's Brooklyn brownstone with her timid daughter Sam—and without her husband—their arrival raises more questions than it answers. As the specter of their abandoned life in Georgia creeps back into focus, the family is forced to consider what must be sacrificed to break a cycle of despair. Poetic and heartbreaking, Donnetta Lavinia Grays' stunning portrait of Black Love explores what it takes to nurture family in an often-cruel world.

World Premiere

Another Marriage

By ensemble member Kate Arrington

Directed by ensemble member Terry Kinney

June 15 — July 23, 2023

In the Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell

You meet. You marry. You have kids. That's the way it always goes. Or is it? What if your story changes? What would it cost? Another Marriage is an intimate and beautifully rendered portrait of an ever-evolving relationship that may never be quite finished. Ensemble member Kate Arrington's playwrighting debut upends the typical romantic comedy to explore the liabilities of falling in and out of love—and time.

No Man's Land

By Harold Pinter

Directed by Les Waters

Featuring ensemble members Austin Pendleton and Jeff Perry

July 13 — August 20, 2023

In the Downstairs Theater

In the drawing room of his stately Hampstead mansion, the wealthy, aging Hirst hosts his newfound acquaintance, the enigmatic Spooner, for an evening of endless beer, scotch, and vodka. The night winds on, the drinks keep pouring and the ground keeps shifting—until two sinister younger men arrive and interrupt the bacchanal. Steppenwolf returns to Harold Pinter's modern masterpiece: a generational power struggle, a tug of war between expert wordsmiths, a maze of murky meaning. Or perhaps it's just two old English sots waxing nostalgic and waiting for the sun to rise. In No Man's Land, you can never be certain, and nothing is at is seems.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults

2022/23 Season: Finding the words to speak your truth

Steppenwolf for Young Adults performances will be held on weekdays at 10 a.m. for school groups and on weekends for the public. In addition to 100 CPS classrooms receiving free workshops that explore the themes of each play, classroom teachers will receive free professional development and curricular support, allowing them to build upon content from the source books and plays.

World Premiere

1919

By Eve L. Ewing

Adapted by J. Nicole Brooks

Directed by Gabrielle Randle-Bent and Tasia A. Jones

October 4 — 29, 2022

In the Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell

On July 27, 1919, Chicago erupted following the killing of seventeen-year-old Eugene Williams in treacherous waters off the segregated Lake Michigan shoreline. The days that followed made an indelible mark on the city—its sense of boundaries, of relationships between neighbors, and of the underlying systems of inequity and racism that persist today. Adapted by J. Nicole Brooks from Eve L. Ewing's collection of searing and luminous poems, this world premiere is a hopeful, lyrical exploration of Black Chicagoans' resistance, fortitude, and endurance: past, present and future.

World Premiere

Chlorine Sky

By Mahogany L. Browne based on her book

Adapted by Mahogany L. Browne

Directed by Ericka Ratcliff

February 14 — March 11, 2023

In the Downstairs Theater

"Ok, so boom. / We ain't friends anymore." Sky and Lay Li were always in sync. But now their rhythms are changing; Sky likes swimming, and Lay Li is all about beauty. Sky, basketball; Lay Li, boys. Things just make more sense underwater and on the court. A world premiere adaptation of Mahogany L. Browne's popular young adult novel, Chlorine Sky is an intimate coming-of-age story told in verse about two girls who are best friends—until they aren't. Sometimes, growing up means growing apart.

Along with two exciting Steppenwolf for Young Adults world premieres in the 2022/23 Season, Steppenwolf Education will offer free workshops and programming for educators and students throughout the year in The Loft, the company's first-ever dedicated education space encompassing the entire fourth floor of the new Arts and Education Center—including open hours each Thursday from 4-7 p.m. in which teens (ages 14-19) can come to do homework, listen to music, practice a monologue or just hang out! Steppenwolf was founded more than 46 years ago by a circle of students who craved a space to call their own, and the Arts and Education Center continues and amplifies that vision, growing the reach of Steppenwolf's education programming from 20,000 to 30,000 students annually. For more information on The Loft and Steppenwolf for Young Adults programming, visit steppenwolf.org/education.

The expanded Steppenwolf campus

Steppenwolf Theatre Company's trailblazing new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, with construction by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new Arts and Education Center is the new 400-seat in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell—one of its kind in Chicago—with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue.

The expanded Steppenwolf campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, offering bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility, and arts-driven learning for Chicago youth in The Loft, Steppenwolf's first-ever dedicated education space. The campus expansion also features bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The $54 million new building is part of Steppenwolf's multi-phase, ongoing $73 million Building on Excellence expansion campaign. Learn more about Steppenwolf's campus expansion at steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.


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