Next-Up-gifPerformances begin in just five weeks for the third annual Next Up, continuing Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s commitment to Chicago’s next generation of theater artists. Next Up features three productions presented in rotating repertory, in collaboration with Northwestern University’s MFA programs in Direction and Design. Next Up 2013 showcases the work of graduates of those programs with casts of professional Chicago actors—including nine alumni of the School at Steppenwolf: Fat Pig by Neil LaBute, directed by David Prete; The Drunken City by Adam Bock, directed by Johnny Michael DiResta; and The Internationalist byAnne Washburn, directed by Erin Murray. The directors and designers make their Steppenwolf debut under the mentorship of Steppenwolf staff and artists, including ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro, director Jessica Thebus, scenic designer Todd Rosenthal, costume designer Linda Roethke and lighting designer Joseph Appelt—all of whom are members of the Northwestern faculty—as well as Steppenwolf Associate Artistic Director Erica DanielsNext Up performances are May 28 – June 16. 2013 (press performances are June 1 at 1, 5 and 8pm) in the Garage Theatre (1624 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20) are on sale now.

“Steppenwolf is thrilled to be able to invest in the future of our form by presenting the debut productions of these talented Northwestern students,” notes Artistic Producer Rebecca Rugg. “It’s especially fun for us on staff because all of them are taught by longtime Steppenwolf collaborators and ensemble members.”

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Third Annual Next Up

Fat Pig                                                                              

By Neil LaBute

Directed by David Prete

May 28 – June 16, 2013 in the Garage Theatre (1624 N Halsted St)
Fat Pig features Josh BywaterBaize BuzanAnne Joy and JJ Phillips.The creative team includes Chelsey Batson (scenic and costume design), Rebecca Barrett (lighting design), Kevin O’Donnell (sound design), Kathleen Petroziello (stage manager) and Brianna Parry (assistant stage manager).

How many insults can you hear before you have to stand up and defend the woman you love? Tom faces just that question when he falls for Helen, a bright, funny, sexy young woman who happens to be plus-sized—and then some. As Tom explains his new relationship to his shallow (although shockingly funny) co-workers, Fat Pig questions whether anyone can really see past the surface.

Director David Prete is excited to work at Steppenwolf Theatre Company again where he last assisted ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro on Three Sisters. David worked as a writer, actor and director in New York City for fifteen years before attending the MFA Directing program at Northwestern University. Chicago credits include Purple Heart and Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop(Northwestern University). He graduated from The New Actors Workshop where he studied with Mike Nichols, Paul Sills and George Morrison. He acted Off-Broadway and co-founded the Water Theatre Company in New York City. W.W. Norton published both his novels Say that to My Face(2003) and August and Then Some (2012).

The Drunken City

By Adam Bock

Directed by Johnny Michael DiResta

May 29 – June 15, 2013 in the Garage Theatre (1624 N Halsted St)

The Drunken City features Audrey FrancisEmjoy GavinoAndrew GoettenBrian KingDarci Nalepa and Sean Parris. The creative team includes Yu Shibagaki (scenic designer), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Rebecca Barrett (lighting design), Kevin O’Donnell (sound design),Jonathan Nook (stage manager) and Mary Hungerford (assistant stage manager).

The sparkle of glittery pink cocktails lures three brides-to-be into the city for an epic bar crawl. After a stirring encounter with a handsome stranger, the evening takes a surreal turn that threatens the very future they came to celebrate. In the ups and downs of modern love, sometimes what looks like a drunken party foul might actually be a new beginning.

Director Johnny DiResta focuses on new play development and theater for social justice. Recent credits include YellowfaceLyle the CrocodileThe Romeo and Juliet ProjectThe Glass Menagerie, The Normal Heart (Northwestern University); The Insurgents (New Dramatists),Favorites (Rising Phoenix Rep); A Crack in the Canvas, Bisexuality is for TeenagersWatching the Thunder (MCC Theater); and Back to Society (Abrons Arts Center). Johnny has assistant directed Skylight (Court Theatre); The Verona Project (American Music Theater Project); Judgment Day (Bard Summerscape); and Killers and Other Family (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater). John was the producer of the MCC Theater Youth Company from 2007 until 2010, and is also a teaching artist and writer.

The Internationalist

By Anne Washburn

Directed by Erin Murray

May 30 – June 16, 2013 in the Garage Theatre (1624 N Halsted St)

The Internationalist features Tony BuzzutoAmy J. CarleAndrew CarterJohn GrayNicholas Harazin and Kelly O’Sullivan. The creative team includes Stephanie Cluggish (scenic designer), Chelsey Batson (costume design), Rebecca Barrett (lighting design), Kevin O’Donnell(sound design), Michelle Medvin (stage manager) and Jennifer McClendon (assistant stage manager).

Lowell, an American on a business trip abroad, is met at the airport by a beautiful colleague. They spend the night together and he thinks he’s in one of those great American movies with travel, romance, adventure and life-changing experience. The next day at the office he discovers that he’s actually in one of those foreign films where nothing is as it seems, there is no moral, and most importantly: no subtitles.

Director Erin Murray is honored to be making her directorial debut at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Northwestern credits include Dark at the Top of the StairsAll My Sons (Assistant Director) and How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes. In addition to being the staff director at Opera Theatre Company in Dublin, other Dublin credits include Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne(Associate Director, Irish National Tour); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Best Production at the Speigeltent, Dublin Fringe, 2005); The Glory of Living (Dublin Tour); and 4.48 Psychosis (The Samuel Beckett Theatre). Seattle credits include The TempestTwo Gentlemen of Verona (Short Shakes at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Centre House Theatre at the Seattle Center); and The Merchant of Venice (Assistant Director, Centre House Theatre at the Seattle Center). Erin received her BA from Trinity College Dublin.


Tickets to Next Up ($20) are on sale now. Passes to all three plays are available for $45. Tickets are available at, 1650 N Halsted St or at 312-335-1650. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available.


Support for Next Up comes through the “Leading for the Future Initiative,” a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding for Next Up has been provided by the Northwestern University School of Communication, the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University and the Northwestern University Department of 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 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. 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 nine Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit, and

Currently on stage are the world premiere of Head of Passes by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau (through June 9, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St), and The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter, directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton (through April 28, 2013) in the Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).The 2012/13 Subscription Season concludes with Belleville by Amy Herzog, directed by Anne Kauffman (June 27 – August 25, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre.