Steppenwolf’s Straight White Men begins Feb 2
Steppenwolf Theatre Company welcomes internationally acclaimed playwright and director Young Jean Lee this winter as she directs the Chicago premiere of her play, Straight White Men. The fearless and entertaining play features ensemble member Alan Wilder as the patriarch, Ed, who welcomes home his three sons—Madison Dirks (Jake), Ryan Hallahan (Drew) and Brian Slaten (Matt) for the holidays.Elliott Jenetopulos plays the role of Stagehand-in-charge through March 4; Syd Germaine will take over the role from March 5 – 19. Previews begin February 2, 2017(press performances are Saturday, February 11 at 3pm and Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30pm; opening night is Sunday, February 12) and the show runs through March 19, 2017 in the Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 – $89) are available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
As Ed, a widower, prepares to celebrate Christmas, he calls his three grown sons back to the family home. Games are played, Chinese food is ordered, and brotherly pranks and trashtalk distract them from the ongoing issue that threatens to ruin the festivities: when personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do? Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son play narrative, shedding new and often hilarious light on a story we think we know all too well.
Director and playwright Young Jean Lee shares, “Straight White Men isn’t about me trying to reveal anything new about privilege or solve it. It’s about me asking myself, ‘If I woke uptomorrow as a straight white man, what would I do?’ I think that as a straight white man, I probably wouldn’t feel so righteous about my personal journey of conquering obstacles to get what I want. Straight White Men is about what happens when that hero’s-journey narrative falls apart.”
Photos: Joel Moorman
Young Jean Lee is Korean-American playwright, director and filmmaker. She has written and directed ten shows in New York with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and toured her work to more than 30 cities around the world. Straight White Men premiered at the Public Theatre in 2014 to critical acclaim. Hailed by The New York Times as “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation,” Young Jean Lee is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN Literary Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a Doris Duke Artist Residency. Her first short film, Here Come the Girls, was presented at The Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and BAMcinemaFest.
The Straight White Men production team includes David Evans Morris (scenic design),Enver Chakartash (costume design), Sarah Hughey (lighting design), Jamie McElhinney (sound design) and Chris Giarmo (original music and composition). Additional credits include Laura Glenn (stage manager), Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director), and Jonathan Berry (artistic producer).
About the Cast
Alan Wilder, an original ensemble member, has appeared in more than 60 Steppenwolf productions, including Steppenwolf’s current world premiere of Erika Sheffer’s The Fundamentals (through Dec 31, 2016). Madison Dirks was last seen in Steppenwolf’s production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which later transferred to Broadway. Ryan Hallahan makes his Steppenwolf debut in this production, and was last seen in Jackalope’s production of Octagon. Elliott Jenetopulos, who originated the role of Stagehand-In-Charge in the premiere of Straight White Men at The Public Theater in 2014,makes their Steppenwolf debut in this production. Syd Germaine also makes their Steppenwolf debut with this production and was last seen in Julius Caesar at Writers Theatre. Brian Slaten, who previously performed the role of Matt in the Center Theatre Group production, also directed by Young Jean Lee, joins the Chicago cast in the same role.
Tickets & Production Info
Single tickets ($20-$89) to The Christians are available at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.Previews: $20 – $54 and Regular Run: $20 – $89. Prices subject to change. 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; steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season; steppenwolf.org/groups. Flex Card Memberships: Black Card memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility with six tickets for use any time for any production. Black Card ticket credits are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts for pre- and post-show socializing. Red Card memberships are available for theatergoers under 30. To purchase a Card Membership, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org.
This holiday season, Steppenwolf offers a gift that is never boring—the Steppenwolf Black Card. An all-access pass with six tickets to any shows, anytime. If purchased during the holiday season, a $25 restaurant gift card is included. To purchase, visit steppenwolf.org/gift or 312-335-1650
Accessible performances include an American Sign Language interpretation on Sunday, February 26 at 7:30pm, Open Captioning on Saturday, March 4 at 3pm, and a Touch Tour on Sunday, March 12 at 1:30pm touch tour, Audio-Described performance at 3pm. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/access.
Full performance schedule included at end of the release. Curtain times are Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm; Wednesday matinees at 2pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm.
Steppenwolf’s 2016/17 Season opened with the world premiere of Visiting Edna by David Rabe, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro, followed by the world premiere of The Fundamentalsby Erika Sheffer, which was extended through Dec 31, 2016 in the Upstairs Theatre. Currently playing is the Chicago premiere of The Christians by Lucas Hnath, directed by ensemble member K. Todd Freeman (now – January 29, 2017); followed by the Chicago premiere of Straight White Men, written and directed by Young Jean Lee (February 2 – March 19, 2017); the world premiere ofLinda Vista by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard (March 30 – May 21, 2017); and the Chicago premiere of Hir by Taylor Mac, directed by Hallie Gordon (June 29 – August 20, 2017); and an additional summer show, Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu (June 1 – July 9, 2017).
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater—redefining the landscape of acting and performance. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble has grown to 47 members
who represent 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 programing 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 14,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks serves coffee, cocktails and a menu curated in partnership with the Boka Restaurant Group day and night. 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 steppenwolf.org,facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.