Steppenwolf Announces Full Casting and Directors for First Four Shows of 2018/19 Season

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is pleased to announce the complete casting and directors for the first four shows of its 2018/19 season: Downstate by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris; Familiar by Danai Gurira; La Ruta by Isaac Gomez; and A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath. Directors Danya Taymor (Familiar) and Robin Witt (A Doll’s House, Part 2) are added to the 2018/19 director lineup. Single tickets for Downstate and Familiar will go on sale Friday, August 10 at 11am. Single tickets for La Ruta and A Doll’s House, Part 2 will go on sale Friday, October 19 at 11am. Classic, Black Card, Red Card and Directors Circle Memberships are currently on sale through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or

Downstate by ensemble member Bruce Norris
September 20 – November 11, 2018
In the Upstairs Theatre

In September, Steppenwolf opens its 43rd season with the world premiere of Downstate by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris, directed by Tony Award-winning director Pam MacKinnon in the Upstairs Theatre. This world premiere is a co-commission, co-production with the National Theatre of Great Britain, where it will transfer in spring 2019. The productions share the American and British actors and creative team.

Downstate will feature ensemble members Glenn Davis as Gio, K. Todd Freeman as Dee, Tim Hopper as Andy and Francis Guinan as Fred; also featured will be Cecilia Noble (Ivy), Eddie Torres (Felix), Aimee Lou Wood (Effie) and Matilda Ziegler (Em). Elyakeem Avraham, Maura Kidwell, Nate Wheldon round out the cast (Cops).

In downstate Illinois four sex offenders share a group home where they must negotiate their place in a world that doesn’t want them. A man shows up to confront his childhood abuser–but does he want closure or retribution? This provocative new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris pushes moral boundaries as it questions what happens when society deems anyone unworthy of forgiveness.

Familiar by Danai Gurira
November 15, 2018 – January 13, 2019 
In the Downstairs Theatre

The second play of Steppenwolf’s 2018/19 season is the Chicago premiere of Familiar by Danai Gurira with newly announced director Danya Taymor. Taymor helmed the memorable production of Pass Over at Steppenwolf in summer 2017. 

Familiar will feature previously announced ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper as Nyasha and Ora Jones as Marvelous Chinyaramwira, who appeared together in Steppenwolf’s hit production of The Doppelgänger (an international farce). Completing the cast are Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Anne), Erik Hellman (Chris), Lanise Antoine Shelley (Tendikayi), Luigi Sottile (Brad), Jacqueline Williams (Margaret Munyewa) andCedric Young (Donald Chinyaramwira).

It’s winter in Minnesota, and a Zimbabwean-American family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter. When an unexpected guest arrives and the bride surprises the family by insisting on a traditional African ceremony, pre-wedding stress explodes into a full-on family feud. Fiercely funny, fast-paced and filled with love, Familiar is a brilliant portrayal of a tight-knit family searching to preserve their past while building a new future.

La Ruta by Isaac Gomez
December 13, 2018 – January 27, 2019
In the Upstairs Theatre

The third show of Steppenwolf’s 43rd season is the world premiere of La Ruta by Isaac Gomez, directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez

La Ruta features Charin Alvarez (Marisela), Cher Alvarez (Brenda), Laura Crotte (Musician), Sandra Delgado (Yoli), Mari Maroquin (Zaide) and Karen Rodriguez(Ivonne). Alice da Cunha and Isabella Gerasole play the Women of Juarez.

To the U.S.-owned factories in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, La Ruta is just a bus. But to the hundreds of women who live, work and often disappear along the route, it’s so much more than that. Inspired by real testimonies, and using live music to evoke factory work and protest marches, La Ruta is a visceral unearthing of secrets buried in the desert and a celebration of the Mexican women who stand resiliently in the wake of loss.

A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath
January 31 – March 17, 2019
In the Downstairs Theatre

The fourth show of Steppenwolf’s 2018/19 season is A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath and directed by Robin Witt in the Downstairs Theatre.

A Doll’s House, Part 2 features ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper as Emmy, Sandra Marquez as Nora and Yasen Peyankov as Torvald. Completing the cast is Barbara Robertson (Anne Marie).

As a door slams in 1879 Norway, a young wife and mother leaves behind her family, freeing herself from the shackles of traditional societal constraints. Now, 15 years later, that same door opens to reveal Nora, a changed woman with an incredibly awkward favor to ask the people who she abandoned. Lucas Hnath’s bitingly funny sequel to Ibsen’s revolutionary masterpiece unfolds in a series of bristling stand-offs that reveal in Nora’s world, much like our own, behind every opinion there is a person, and a slamming door isn’t just an end, but also the chance for a new beginning.

Director Bios
Pam MacKinnon (Downstate) was recently named next artistic director of American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco. She is a Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning director for Steppenwolf’s revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (also Broadway, Arena Stage). She garnered Tony and Lucille Lortel nominations along with an Obie Award for excellence in direction for Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park (Broadway, Mark Taper, Playwrights Horizons). She also directed Norris’s The Qualms at Steppenwolf and Playwrights Horizons. Broadway credits include her production of Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman with Uma Thurman; David Mamet’s China Doll; Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles; Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance; and Amelie, a New Musical (Berkeley Rep and Broadway) in addition to Itamar Moses’ Completeness (SCR and Playwrights Horizons); Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid (MTC), and more. MacKinnon is the President of the Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and Board Chair of Clubbed Thumb.

Danya Taymor (Familiar) is a director and translator. Taymor directed both the Steppenwolf and Lincoln Center productions of Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over. Her translations include Alejandro Ricaño’s We Are Getting Better at Saying Goodbye, Luis Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio’s I Hate Fucking Mexicans, and Ettore Scola’s Working on a Special Day. She directed Antoinette Nwandu’s Flat Sam at PlayPenn in Philadelphia. She is an Artist in Residence at Theatre for a New Audience, a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, an Associate Artist at The Flea Theater, New Georges Affiliated Artist and a semi-finalist for the Lange-Taylor Prize with Dominic Bracco. She is a frequent volunteer at Covenant House, where she teaches a master class in directing twice a year and has taught theater in Ecuador and Slovakia. Her recent work includes The Sensuality Party (The New Group), Christina Martinez (Juilliard), Cygnus(Women’s Project), I Hate Fucking Mexicans, My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer and The Place We Built (The Flea), among others.

Sandra Marquez (La Ruta) joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in spring 2016 and most recently appeared in The Doppelgänger (an international farce) and will be featured in Steppenwolf’s upcoming production of The Roommate. Other Steppenwolf credits include Mary Page Marlowe, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sonia Flew, One Arm and an SYA show. At Teatro Vista, where she is a longtime company member, she directed Fade, My Mañana Comes, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and Our Lady of the Underpass and has acted in numerous productions, including A View from the Bridge for which she received a Jeff Award. Last fall she completed a three-year arc playing Clytemnestra in what was billed as Court Theater’s Iphigenia Cycle (Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra and Agamemnon). Film and television credits include Boss, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice and Timer. Marquez is on the theater faculty at Northwestern University.

Robin Witt (A Doll’s House, Part 2) is an American theater director. She is an ensemble member at both the Griffin Theatre and Steep Theatre in Chicago. Witt’s directing credits include Cordelia Lynn’s Lela & Co, John Van Druten’s London Wall (Jeff Awards, 2016 Director and Production), Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep (Jeff Awards, 2015 Director and Production), Terrence Rattigan’s Flare Path, Dennis Kelly’s Love and Money, Amanda Peet’s The Commons of Pensacola, and the U. S. premieres of Simon Stephens’ Motortown, Wastwater, Pornography and Harper Regan. Witt’s productions have been cited as “Best of the Year” by The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut, and Chicago Reader where she has been described as “fearless,” “a powerhouse,” “galvanic,” and “unstinting.” Her international work includes Juliet: A Dialogue About Love at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2013). A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and Northwestern University (MFA), Witt is currently an Associate Professor of Directing at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Remaining 2017/18 Season
Now playing is Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph, a story about the search for beauty in desperate circumstances (through July 22, 2018) directed by ensemble member Amy Morton who returns to direct the cast from the acclaimed Off-Broadway production; and The Roommate, by Jen Silverman, directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show, Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County). In The Roommate, a comically mismatched pair of roommates leads to a surprising and touching friendship (June 21 – August 5, 2018) starring ensemble members Ora Jones and Sandra Marquez.

Visitor Information
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ($12 or $14, cash or card) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance at 1650 N Halsted St starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12 noon 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.

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 from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso is provided by La Colombe and food prepared by 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.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. 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 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. Steppenwolf 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. For additional information, visit and