STEPPENWOLF FOR YOUNG ADULTS EXTENDS GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984

Credit: joe mazza / brave lux inc.)
Credit: joe mazza / brave lux inc.)

Credit: joe mazza / brave lux inc.)

Due to popular demand, Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) extends the critically acclaimed production of George Orwell’s 1984, adapted by Andrew White and directed by SYA Artistic and Educational Director Hallie Gordon. Hailed as “highly recommended…chilling, hard-hitting” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “a skillful blend of grimy proletariat despair and slick multimedia collage” (Chicago Tribune), 1984 adds three additional public performances, extending the run through November 21, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre with the original cast. Tickets ($20; $15 with student ID) to the added performances are now on sale through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) at 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.

Added public performances of 1984 include:

Friday, November 20 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 21 at 3:00pm
Saturday, November 21 at 7:30pm (closing performance)

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth located in the nation of Oceania, part of a vast empire in a constant, shifting war against other superstates. Dissent is not tolerated (not even in thought), and Winston and his fellow citizens are under perpetual electronic surveillance by their ever-watchful ruler Big Brother. When Winston falls in love with a co-worker, their illegal affair pushes them to rebel and face the darkest and most dangerous corners of the regime. On the heels of last year’s gripping Animal Farm, Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece in a multi-media production that is a haunting, shockingly timely look at a future that seems disturbingly present.

The 1984 cast of professional actors features Matthew Abraham as Young Winston, Atra Asdou as Julia, Lance Baker as O’Brien, Elizabeth Birnkrant as Syme and others, Manny Buckley as Parsons and others, Dennis Grimes as Tillotson, Martin and others, Tyrone Phillips as Ampleforth and others and Adam Poss as Winston.

Andrew White won a 2004 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Adaptation for 1984. He is a founding member of Lookingglass Theatre Company, where he currently serves as Artistic Director. As a Lookingglass Ensemble Member and performer, he has participated in the workshop and development of more than 30 Lookingglass original adaptations and world premieres. He wrote and directed the company’s 1989 production of Of One Blood, about the 1964 murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman in Mississippi. White wrote the book and lyrics for the musical Eastland produced at Lookingglass in 2012.

Hallie Gordon serves as Artistic and Educational Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults. Along with selecting the young adult productions each season, she has created the Young Adult Council, a group of high school students who collectively help to create innovative programming for their peers. As Educational Director, Gordon has worked closely with the Chicago Public Schools to create an environment in which all students and teachers have access to the theater. For Steppenwolf, she has directed Animal Farm, Leveling Up, The Book Thief, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, To Kill a Mockingbird,The House on Mango Street and Harriet Jacobs. A new premiere of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond, won a Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and also transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. Gordon is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Time Meier Achievement Award.

The production team for 1984 includes Collette Pollard (scenic design), Sally Dolembo (costume design), Amanda Clegg Lyon (lighting design), Andrew Rovner (sound design), Joseph A. Burke(projection design) and Ryan Bourque (fight choreography). Additional credits include Jessamyn Fuller(casting), Deb Styer (stage manager) and Joel Moorman (director of photography).

SYA presents 1984 by George Orwell (Copyright, 1949) by permission of Bill Hamilton as the Literary Executor of the Estate of the Late Sonia Brownell Orwell. This adaptation of 1984 was originally developed and produced by the Lookingglass Theatre Company in 2004 at their theater in Chicago’s Water Tower Water Works.

Public performances of 1984 take place Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 3 and 7:30pm and Sundays at 3pm through November 21, 2015. 1984 is recommended for ages 14 and up. A study guide created by SYA is available online. School performances (Tuesday – Friday at 10am) are reserved for school groups only and are sold-out. Contact Jared Bellot at jbellot@steppenwolf.org or 312-654-5643 for more info.

The Scene, an event specifically for teens and curated by the Young Adult Council, takes place Saturday, November 7 at 758 W North Ave., following the 7:30pm performance. For tickets or more information, call312-335-1650 or contact SYA Education Assistant Jared Bellot at jbellot@steppenwolf.org.

UP NEXT: The Compass February 24 – March 12, 2016

From one classic story to one cutting edge experience, SYA’s 2015/16 season investigates how your past decisions, actions and even thoughts, inform your future. SYA concludes the season with the world premiere of The Compass developed and directed by Michael Rohd, a groundbreaking, live interactive performance that explores the intersection of technology and decision-making. Performances runFebruary 24 through March 12, 2016 in the in the Downstairs Theatre; the press performance is Saturday, February 27 at 3pm. Tickets to public performances ($20, $15 with student I.D.) are on sale through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted) at 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.

At the center of The Compass is a trial, determining the fate of a young person who used an app to make a life-altering decision. When you join us as audience members for the show, you become the Jury. In this play, every show will end differently, depending on what you, the Jury, decide. Join us as we navigate the question: When someone else, or something else, tells you what to do, what exactly are you responsible for?

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a participant in the Audience (R)Evolution Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and administered by the Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre.

Major foundation support for Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by Allstate Insurance Company, Alphawood Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and United Airlines. Steppenwolf for Young Adults is also supported in part by contributions from The Crown Family, Sage Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Northern Trust Company, Field Foundation of Illinois,

Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, Philip H. Corboy Foundation, ITW Foundation, Siragusa Foundation, Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc. and Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; as well as Steppenwolf Associates, a community of dynamic young professionals.

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

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 16,000 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, First Look, a new play development series and Visiting Company engagements. 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, Galway 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.

Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Managing Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.