STEPPENWOLF THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF DAVID ADJMI’S “MARIE ANTOINETTE” FEBRUARY 5 – MAY 10, 2015
Steppenwolf Theatre Company continues its 2014/15 Subscription Season with the Chicago premiere production of Marie Antoinette, a modern, witty portrayal of the young queen of France by David Adjmi and directed by Robert O’Hara. The cast features ensemble members Alana Arenas as Marie Antoinette, Tim Hopper as her husband Louis XVI and Alan Wilder as Sheep. Ericka Ratcliff takes on the role of Yolande de Polignac and Mrs. Sauce replacing previously announced ensemble member Ora Jones who had an artistic scheduling conflict. Marie Antoinette begins previews February 5, 2015 and runs through May 10, 2015 in Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 – $82) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.
Before Britney Spears and Justin Bieber, there was Marie Antoinette. In David Adjmi’s contemporary take on the young queen of France, Marie is a confection created by a society that values extravagance and artifice. But France’s love affair with the royals sours as revolution brews, and for Marie, the political suddenly becomes very personal. From the light and breezy banter at the palace to the surging chants of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!” in the streets, Marie Antoinette holds a mirror up to our contemporary society that might just be entertaining itself to death.
“David Adjmi gives us a Marie both set in her historical moment with references to the events of her time, but with anachronisms that point to our current cultural moment,” shares Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey. “The ‘spoiled rich girl’ of which Marie Antoinette is a prototype lives in the current celebrity pantheon. Why does this image seize the collective imagination? Why is the inevitable that a public figure in this image becomes a figure of scorn?”
Marie Antoinette received a critically acclaimed world premiere co-production with American Repertory Theatre and Yale Rep in 2012 and won three Connecticut Critics Circle Awards. The play received its New York premiere at Soho Rep in fall 2013 in a sold-out run.
“I think we’re in love with train wrecks. And Marie was a glorious train wreck,” says Robert O’Hara. “Watching someone who we put up on a pedestal fall down is thrilling. It says something about our own humanity actually. So I want people to walk into this world of royalty and make it a sort of high-end event. It will be beautiful—we’re going to wreck it, but you’re going to enjoy it.
David Adjmi is an award-winning playwright and recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mellon Foundation Playwrights Residency, the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Kesselring Prize for Drama, the Steinberg Playwright Award and the Bush Artists Fellowship, among others. Adjmi’s play 3C received its world premiere at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2012 and was dubbed “the most divisive and controversial play of the season” by the New York Post. 3C was selected as one of the top ten plays of 2012 by the Post, Time Out New York and the Advocate. Elective Affinities, which premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company, received a U.S. premiere at Soho Rep (“Top 10 of the Year” in Time Out New York and New Yorker.) Other plays include Stunning (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), The Evildoers(Sundance, Yale Repertory Theatre), Caligula (Soho Rep Studio Series) and Strange Attractors (Empty Space). He is a member of New Dramatists, the Dramatists Guild, MCC Theater Playwrights’ Coalition, and Soho Theatre’s “The Hub.”
Director Robert O’Hara received the NAACP Best Director Award for his direction of Eclipsed by Danai Guiria. He received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for Antebellum and an OBIE Award for his direction of the world premiere of the critically acclaimed In the Continuum by Danai Guiria and Nikkole Salter. He wrote and directed the world premieres of Bootycandy and Insurrection: Holding History, the latter of which received the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play. He directed the world premieres of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo’s Wild With Happy and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians. He has worked at various theaters around the country including Playwrights Horizons, Arena, Public Theater, Primary Stages, McCarter, ACT, City Theater, Woolly Mammoth and Goodman. He is currently an adjunct professor at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts and the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
The cast features ensemble members Alana Arenas, Tim Hopper and Alan Wilder along with Matthew Abraham, Tim Frank, Keith D. Gallagher, Mark Page, Tamberla Perry, Ericka Ratcliff and Ariel Shafir.
The design team of Marie Antoinette includes Clint Ramos (scenic design), Dede Ayite (costume design), Dave Bova (hair and wig design), Japhy Weideman (lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound and composition) and Jeff Sugg (projection design). Deb Styer is the stage manager and Cassie Calderone is the assistant stage manager.
Tickets to Marie Antoinette ($20 – $82) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket. For additional student discounts, visit steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups. For subscription packages and flexible pass options available, call 312-335-1650.
Full performance schedule included at end of the release. Accessible performances include an American Sign Language interpretation on Sunday, April 12 at 7:30pm, Open Captioning on Saturday, April 11 at 3pmand an Audio Description and Touch Tour on Sunday, May 3 at 3pm. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/access.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Ameriprise Financial is the Corporate Production Sponsor of Marie Antoinette.
Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance in the Subscription Season. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street, lot and valet parking are available. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance.
Steppenwolf’s 2014/15 season explores the question, How did I get here?, through five stories about losing—and finding—your way. Do you ever catch yourself in the rearview mirror and think: How did I get here? A jolt of fear. A flash of inspiration. The past may be a mystery, but the future is up for grabs. Are you completely lost? Or are you exactly where you are supposed to be?
The 2014/15 Subscription Season also includes The Night Alive by Conor McPherson, directed by Henry Wishcamper (September 18, 2014 – November 16, 2014) in the Downstairs Theatre; Airline Highway by Lisa D’Amour (December 4 – February 8, 2015); 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.
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, 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. Martha Lavey 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 andtwitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.