Steppenwolf Releases Rehearsal Photos: THIS IS MODERN ART by Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin (Feb 25 – Mar 14)v

Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) presents This Is Modern Art (based on true events) written by acclaimed playwright and hip-hop artist Idris Goodwin (Blackademics, How We Got On) and “Louder Than A Bomb” founder Kevin Coval. Directed by Lisa Portes, this world premiere production concludes SYA’s 2014/15 season, which explores the theme, “Create a Movement: The Art of Revolution.”

 

This Is Modern Art (based on true events) runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in the Downstairs Theatre. The press performance is on Saturday, February 28 at 3pm. A Sticker Writing Event with local graffiti artists will take place in the lobby between the 3pm and 7:30pm performances on February 28. School group performances are offered during the week at 10am; full schedule enclosed below. School group tickets are available by contacting Education and Community Programs Coordinator Lauren Sivak at 312-654-5643. Public performances are scheduled for Friday at 7:30pm (except February 27) and Saturday at 7:30pm. Single tickets ($20) to public performances are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Steppenwolf also offers $15 student tickets to every public performance with valid ID.

 

“I believe young people are systematically denied voice and agency. This is a story about fighting back against invisibility and dehumanization. Especially in light of what continues to happen to young people of color in this city and around the country – stories like these are essential,” shares co-writer Kevin Coval. “I hope this show inspires audiences young and old to get excited about something in their own lives, and follow it regardless of who sanctions it or not.”

 

The crew of Made U Look (MUL) is willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, these Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when the crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? This Is Modern Art (based on true events) provides a glimpse into the lives of anonymous graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art.

 

“This year we investigate what makes us create movements and start revolutions. In working on This Is Modern Art, I came to understand that graffiti art is part of a larger cultural movement, one that encompasses hip-hop culture and includes music, dance and poetry. Just like other artistic movements, graffiti art reflects and responds to the times in which it takes place – it is in dialogue with its cultural moment. What’s interesting about This is Modern Art is that it uses graffiti to help us think and talk about art. Help us make art a priority and a more inviting canvas for young people to participate in. Join the revolution, create art with us!” shares SYA Artistic and Educational Director Hallie Gordon.

 

The cast of features Brittani Arlandis Green (ensemble), Jerry MacKinnon (Seven), J. Salomé Martinez Jr (Jose/JC), Kelly O’Sullivan (Selena), Jessie D. Prez(Dose) and Chris Rickett (ensemble) 

The production team includes Brian Sidney Bembridge (scenic design), Elsa Hiltner (costume design), J.R. Lederle (lighting design), Thomas Dixon (sound design) and Liviu Pasare (video design). Additional credits include Erica Daniels (casting) and Jonathan Nook (stage manager).

 

Tickets to public performances of This Is Modern Art (based on true events) are $20 and available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) or by calling312-335-1650. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket.

 

A special post-show discussion between Playwright Kevin Coval and a panel of graffiti artists will take place Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm in the Downstairs Theatre. Steppenwolf hosts The Scene, an event specifically for teens, and curated by the Young Adult Council on Saturday, May 7 after the 7:30pm performance.

School Performances are currently on sale: performances Tuesday through Friday at 10am are reserved for school groups only (contact Education and Community Programs Coordinator Lauren Sivak at 312-654-5643). Public performances are scheduled Fridays at 7:30pm (except February 27) and Saturdays at 7:30pm. Adult Groups: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups.

Accessible performances are as follows: Audio-described performance only (no touch tour): Saturday, February 28 at 7:30pm; Sign language-interpreted performance: Saturday, February 28 at 7:30pm (public performance),student performance date TBA; and Open-captioned performance: Saturday, February 28 at 3pm.

This Is Modern Art (based on true events) was first presented as a rehearsed reading in May 2014 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as a part of New Visions/New Voices 2014.

Allstate is the Leading Corporate Season Production Sponsor of Steppenwolf for Young Adults.

JPMorgan Chase is the major corporate supporter of Steppenwolf’s career readiness and professional leadership program.

Major foundation support for Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Alphawood Foundation.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults is a citywide partner of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) School Partner Program.

Biographies

Idris Goodwin is a playwright, spoken word performer and essayist recognized across mediums by The National Endowment for the Arts and The Ford and Mellon Foundations. His play How We Got On, developed at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, premiered at The 2012 Humana Festival of New Plays. How We Got On(Playscripts, 2013) is being remounted in theaters across the country and was nominated for an ATCA Steinberg New Play Award. His play Blackademics, also nominated for a Steinberg award, was named best play of 2012 by the Chicago Tribune. He is currently developing new stage works with Denver Center Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, StageOne and Actors Theater of Louisville. He has enjoyed writing residencies with Berkeley Rep Theatre and New Harmony Project. Goodwin is a Core Writer with The Playwrights’ Center. These Are The Breaks (Write Bloody, 2011), his debut collection of essays and poetry, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has performed on HBO, The Discovery Channel, Sesame Street and National Public Radio. He teaches performance writing and hip hop aesthetics at Colorado College.

Kevin Coval is a writer, performance artist and educator.  He is the author of numerous poetry collections and chapbooks, including the American Library Association Book-of-the-Year finalist Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica and L-vis Lives! Racemusic Poems, described as a “stunning, and very personal, piece of literary work that should be required reading in every high school in America” by Impose magazine. In his early twenties, Coval founded “Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival,” now one of the largest youth gatherings on the planet, recently the subject of an award-winning documentary of the same name. Coval currently serves as Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, the non-profit home of “Louder Than A Bomb,” and numerous other youth writing and hip hop programs. He is a native of Chicago, teaches at the School of the Art Institute and is a frequent contributor to WBEZ: Chicago Public Radio.  His latest critically acclaimed collection isSchtick: Jewish Assimilation and Its Discontents.

Lisa Portes is a Chicago-based director and educator.  Past projects for Steppenwolf include: Ski Dubai by Laura Jacqmin and Spare Change by Mia McCullough (First Look, Steppenwolf Theatre) and Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue by Quiara Alegría Hudes (Teatro Vista and Rivendell at Steppenwolf Garage). Other directing credits include:  Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West (Timeline Theatre), Ghostwritten (Goodman Theatre) and After a Hundred Years (Guthrie Theatre) all by Naomi Iizuka, Highway 47 by KJ Sanchez (Yo Solo Festival, H.E.R.E.), Night Over Erzinga by Adriana Sevahn-Nichols (Silk Road Rising), Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons (Northlight Theatre), and Wilder by Erin Cressida Wilson and The Red Clay Ramblers (Playwrights Horizons), among others. Primarily a director of new American plays and musicals, Portes has developed new work at Goodman’s Latino Theatre Festival and First Stages, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theatre, Soho Rep and the Sundance Theatre Lab, among others. She serves as Head of the MFA Directing Program at the Theatre School at DePaul University and Artistic Director for Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. SYA creates two full-scale professional productions each season specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, SYA annually ensures access to the theater for more than 12,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in more than 30 classrooms in 14 public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after-school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 44 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and two repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work and Garage Rep. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and 12 Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Managing Director. Nora Daley is the Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

Currently on stage: Airline Highway, a world premiere by Lisa D’Amour, directed by Joe Mantello (December 4, 2014 – February 14, 2015) in the Downstairs Theatre.The 2014/15 subscription season also includes Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi, directed by Robert O’Hara (February 5 – May 10, 2015) in the Upstairs Theatre; The Herd by Rory Kinnear, directed by ensemble member Frank Galati (April 2 – June 7, 2015) in the Downstairs Theatre; and Grand Concourse by Heidi Schreck, directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov (July 2 – August 30, 2015) in the Downstairs Theatre.

 

This Is Modern Art Rehearsal Photo Captions (Credit: Joel Moorman)

TIMA-Reh. 1: (left to right) Jessie D. Prez, Kelly O’Sullivan, J. Salomé Martinez Jr. and Jerry MacKinnon in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 2: (left to right) Jerry MacKinnon and Kelly O’Sullivan in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 3: Jerry MacKinnon in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St)

TIMA-Reh. 4: (left to right) Chris Rickett and Brittani Arlandis Green in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 5: (left to right) Kelly O’Sullivan and Jerry MacKinnon in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 6: Director Lisa Portes in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 7: (left to right) J. Salomé Martinez Jr. and Jerry MacKinnon in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 8: Jessie D. Prez in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 9: (left to right) Jessie D. Prez and Kelly O’Sullivan in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 10: (left to right) Jessie D. Prez, J. Salomé Martinez Jr. and Jerry MacKinnon in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

TIMA-Reh. 11: Kelly O’Sullivan in rehearsal for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This Is Modern Art (based on true events), a world premiere by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Lisa Portes. This Is Modern Art runs February 25 – March 14, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).