CHICAGO’S STEPPENWOLF ENSEMBLE MEMBERS BRING THEIR TALENTS TO NEW YORK THIS SUMMER
Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow
Steppenwolf Theatre Company began producing ensemble-driven plays in a church basement in the suburbs of Chicago in 1976. Today the company is a leader in the American Theater proudly based in Chicago with more than 50 groundbreaking actors, directors and playwrights who call Steppenwolf their artistic home. While deeply rooted in the Chicago community, the impact of Steppenwolf’s work is felt nationwide.
Last night, original Steppenwolf ensemble member Laurie Metcalf took home her second Tony Award in a row for her performance in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women and ensemble member Tina Landau was honored with a Tony nomination for her direction of the musical SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. This summer several more Steppenwolf ensemble members are bringing their remarkable talents to New York.
- Steppenwolf ensemble members Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood are starring in Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu in its New York premiere at LCT3. The production received its world premiere at Steppenwolf in the summer of 2017, directed by Danya Taymor. Amazon Studios hired Steppenwolf to film the production at the theater, under the film direction of Spike Lee with stage direction by Taymor in September 2017. The film debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January 2018, and Amazon released in widely in April 2018.
- Steppenwolf Artistic Director and ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro has just begun rehearsals for Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee, making its Broadway debut.Steppenwolf presented the Chicago premiere of Straight White Men in the Upstairs Theatre in February 2017.
- Ensemble member and playwright Tracy Letts’s play, Mary Page Marlowe, makes its New York premiere at Second Stage Theater. Steppenwolf presented the world premiere production of Mary Page Marlowe in March 2016.
- Ensemble member and director Tina Landau’s Spongebob Squarepants: The Musicalcontinues to rock at the Palace Theatre. Landau was recently at Steppenwolf directing the hit production of The Doppelgänger (an international farce) by Matthew-Lee Erlbach. The 12-member cast featured Rainn Wilson from NBC’s The Office. The production closed its extended run June 2, 2018.
- David Zinn won a 2018 Tony Award for his set design of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. Zinn, a frequent collaborator with Steppenwolf, recently set designed ensemble member Tracy Letts’s The Minutes this season.
Currently playing at Steppenwolf is the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Guards at the Taj, now through July 22, 2018 in the Upstairs Theatre. Ensemble member Amy Morton, who directed the Atlantic Theatre world premiere, returns to her artistic home to direct Guards at the Taj with original cast members Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur). Metwally and Moayed were last seen on Steppenwolf’s stage together in Homebody/Kabul in 2003, which also featured Morton. Guards at the Taj won the Obie Award for “Best New American Play” in 2016. More info here.
Closing out Steppenwolf season is the Chicago premiere of The Roommate by Jen Silverman. Directed by Tony winner Phylicia Rashad and featuring ensemble members Ora Jones and Sandra Marquez. The production runs June 21 – August 5, 2018 in the Downstairs Theatre. More info here.
Phylicia Rashad also directed the current acclaimed production of Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen Adly Guirgis at the Signature Theatre in New York, now extended through June 17th.
More details about Steppenwolf ensemble member’s NYC work here:
Three Tall Women
By Edward Albee | Directed by Joe Mantello
Running on Broadway at the Golden Theatre
Featuring ensemble member Laurie Metcalf
Tickets on sale through June 24
Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Three Tall Woman make its Broadway debut two decades after it premiered in 1991. The play features a powerhouse cast of Glenda Jackson, Allison Pill, and Steppenwolf ensemble member Laurie Metcalf. The New York Times calls the production “torrentially exciting” and the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones raves: “it’s the best Albee staging I’ve ever seen.” Learn more about the play here.
By Antoinette Nwandu | Directed by Danya Taymor
Featuring ensemble members Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood
Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater
Runs June 2 – July 15
Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over has enjoyed terrific success since its world premiere at Steppenwolf in Summer 2017, notably in its filmed version by Spike Lee that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Now the play makes its New York premiere, featuring original cast member Jon Michael Hill with fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Namir Smallwood. This provocative mashup of Waiting for Godot and the Exodus saga exposes the unquestionable human spirit of young black men who dream about a promised land they’ve yet to find. Learn more about the play here.
Mary Page Marlowe
By ensemble member Tracy Letts | Directed by Lila Neugebauer
Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre Company
Runs June 19 – August 12 (with possible extension)
Another Steppenwolf world premiere, Mary Page Marlowe makes its New York premiere at Second Stage Theater. In this sweeping but intimate play, ensemble member Tracy Letts creates a haunting portrait of a complex woman, demonstrating how a series of forgotten moments can add up to one memorable life. TheChicago Tribune called it “deeply moving” and “intoxicatingly thrilling” in its 4-star review of the 2016 Chicago production. Learn more about the New York production here.
Straight White Men
By Young Jean Lee | Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro
Broadway debut at Second Stage Theater Company
Runs June 29 – September 7
Following its critically acclaimed run at Steppenwolf in Spring 2017, Straight White Men makes its Broadway debut at Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theater, this time under the direction of artistic director Anna D. Shapiro. On Christmas eve, a widower gathers his three adult sons to celebrate the holidays with matching pajamas, trash-talking, and Chinese takeout, but the fun is interrupted when they confront questions they can’t answer about their own identities. The celebrity cast features Armie Hammer, Josh Charles, and Tom Skerritt. WithStraight White Men, Lee becomes the first Asian-American female playwright to be produced on Broadway. Learn more about the play here.
Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical
Co-conceived and directed by ensemble member Tina Landau
Running on Broadway at the Palace Theatre
Tickets on sale through September 2
Based on the hit Nickelodeon series of the same name, Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical delighted Chicago in Summer 2016 during its run at the Oriental Theatre with its inventive staging and infectious songs. Now the musical wows New York audiences with silliness, spectacle, and offbeat charm on Broadway. The productions leads the 2018 season in Tony nominations, with 12 nominations including one for ensemble member Tina Landau as Best Director of a Musical. The New Yorker calls it an “inspired Broadway musical extravaganza” and the New York Times praises it as “brilliant.” Learn more about the musical here.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with its home in Chicago, Ill. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble represents a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County and Pass Over—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 programming 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, more than 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. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, Twitter: @SteppenwolfThtr and Instagram: @steppenwolfthtr.