Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced its 2020/21 Reset Season today featuring a truncated four play lineup (originally six plays) with flexible dates to allow for greater agility in the time of COVID-19, accompanied with a robust slate of original virtual programming. Still kicking off the season, now in mid-December, is world premiere Good Night, and Good Luck by Matt Charman, based on the Academy Award-winning screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov and directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. The Reset Season includes the return of last season’s sold-out hit, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, based on The New York Times bestselling novel by Erika L. Sánchez, adapted by Isaac Gómez and directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez. This marks the first time in Steppenwolf history a Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ production has transferred to the main stage. It is followed by Last Night and the Night Before, a poetic and heartbreaking portrait of Black Love by Donnetta Lavinia Grays directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, and closing out the 20/21 season is Choir Boy by Academy Award-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney. Members will receive priority access to a fifth play—Seagull, translated, adapted and directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov, which opens the new theater building in Fall 2021.
Steppenwolf is offering an exciting way for audiences to stay connected and engaged with “Steppenwolf NOW” – a new virtual programming stream available to those who purchase a 20/21 Classic Membership, Black Card or RED card. Featuring original, provocative content commissioned from some of the top playwrights in the country specifically for the virtual platform, this next season features thrilling new work from ensemble members Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) and Bruce Norris (Downstate, Clybourne Park - Pulitzer Prize), along with Mia Chung (Catch as Catch Can), Isaac Gómez (La Ruta), Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Last Night and the Night Before), James Ijames (Kill Move Paradise, The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington), and more to be announced.
Knowing that the future of the theater relies on an investment now, Steppenwolf offers Risk Free Membership—a guarantee that should the theater not be able to perform or patrons don’t feel comfortable attending due to COVID-19, it will be easy to receive a refund.
“Steppenwolf is the longest-standing ensemble-based theater company in the country; everything we do is about the collision of human experience. Acknowledging the uncertainty that lies ahead, we made the difficult decision to cancel our production of Bess Wohl’s Barcelona and to move the world premiere of Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters to our 21/22 Season, to allow for greater flexibility. It is important to us that when we do return, we do so with a selection of productions that allow for large ensemble participation, which is the core of who we are,” shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro.
“Our Reset Season lets us stay true to our ensemble-driven mission while remaining as nimble as possible during this unsure time. Our risk free membership makes it easy for our loyal audiences to continue to invest in us, which in turn makes it possible for us to carry on. When we are back, the celebration will be big onstage and off.”
Steppenwolf NOW – A Virtual Stage
Steppenwolf NOW is a new virtual programming stream offering opportunities to generate innovative and provocative art. The programming launched this May with the all-ensemble cast virtual reading of Seagull followed in June with an epic radio play production of Arthur Miller’s The American Clock featuring more than 30 ensemble members including Jon Michael Hill, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, Molly Regan and Lois Smith. Later in the summer, members receive an online incarnation of Academy Award-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water directed by longtime collaborator and ensemble member Tina Landau. These offerings have made it possible for Steppenwolf to bring more ensemble members together in one production and season than ever before in its 45-year history.
As virtual projects continue into next season, Steppenwolf NOW announces newly commissioned work created exclusively for the virtual platform from ensemble members Rajiv Joseph and Bruce Norris, as well as commissions from Mia Chung, and James Ijames and thrilling plays by Isaac Gómez and Donnetta Lavinia Grays with more to follow. Steppenwolf Members receive special access to all content.
“While you can’t recreate the feeling of live theater, you can evoke the feeling it brings. That’s why I’m so excited about Steppenwolf NOW and all the incredible opportunities it presents—already with our virtual offerings of the Seagull table read and the radio play of The American Clock we’ve had more ensemble member participation in one season than ever before. The upcoming commissions created specifically for this digital platform from notable playwrights including our ensemble members Rajiv Joseph and Bruce Norris are rare and special works,” adds Shapiro.
Risk Free Membership
Membership has never meant more—the future of the theatre depends on it. Recognizing the many concerns and questions about what a return to the theater might look like—and that committing to a 20/21 membership might cause more pause than one would wish—Steppenwolf is offering the opportunity to renew today to restore tomorrow with a Risk Free Membership guarantee.
If COVID-19 circumstances impede the 20/21 season by either NOT allowing performances or by making patrons feel uncomfortable returning to the theater, Steppenwolf offers its members three alternatives: 1) Call Audience Services for a full refund of your ticket value 2) Put your membership dollars on account to be used for a future Steppenwolf production 3) Donate your ticket value in your continued investment in Steppenwolf's future, and continue to receive access to our ensemble-driven virtual programming. The best way to support Steppenwolf is to renew or purchase a membership now. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/membership.
Steppenwolf will now produce four of its originally announced six plays in the 2020/21 Season. The two plays no longer in the season are Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters and Bess Wohl’s Barcelona. The world adaptation of Yasen Peyankov’s Seagull will still open the new theater building, which has shifted its opening from Summer 2021 to Fall 2021. Audiences will be able to purchase a five-play package including Seagull as a Membership option.
Kicking off the season with a large ensemble cast is the world premiere stage adaptation of Good Night, and Good Luck by Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies), based on the Oscar-nominated screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, directed by Tony-winning ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro (The Minutes, August: Osage County), currently scheduled to open December 13, 2020. Dates for the remaining productions will be solidified in the coming months to allow for the most flexibility.
Next Steppenwolf brings to the mainstage the critically acclaimed production of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter based on the best-selling novel by Erika L. Sánchez, which had a sold-out run this past spring that was cut short due to COVID-19. Adapted by Isaac Gómez and directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez, ensemble member Karen Rodriguez will reprise her role in this vibrant coming-of-age story set in Chicago.
Following is Last Night and the Night Before, a poetic and heartbreaking portrait of Black Love by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton. Ensemble member Namir Smallwood, who has received major critical acclaim for his work over the past two seasons in True West and Bug, returns to the stage for Grays’s masterpiece.
Fresh off a hit Broadway run and Tony nomination, Choir Boy by Academy Award-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight, David Makes Man—Peabody Award, MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT) makes its Steppenwolf debut featuring ensemble members James Vincent Meredith and Austin Pendleton. This elegy to quiet rebellion, filled with the sound of longing and aspiration, is a love song in pianissimo to the unseen heart that beats inside us all.
The extraordinarily funny and magical world premiere adaptation of Seagull by Anton Chekov, translated, adapted and directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov and stacked with an all Ensemble cast, will still be the first show to open Steppenwolf’s stunning theater-in-the-round. The original timeline for the building opening was Summer 2021 and has been adjusted to Fall 2021. For more information about the building, visit steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.
Announcing Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ 20/21 Season
Audio Play of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and the Remount of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
SYA season investigates hope—a place where past and future meet
Understanding the challenges that teachers and students will be facing in the fall, Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) is offering work to keep teens connected and creative while still being flexible to school needs during this uncertain moment.
“With world and national events rapidly changing the way students access learning, it’s more important than ever that Chicago Public School teachers can rely on Steppenwolf for Young Adults to remain steady in our commitment to offering world class theatre for teen audiences through our education programming,” shares Steppenwolf for Young Adults Artistic Director Hallie Gordon.
Steppenwolf is proud to produce two productions per season from their nationally recognized Young Adults series, which is focused on creating professional plays specifically for a teen and family audience. SYA brings the same professional caliber of work to these plays that we bring to all Steppenwolf productions.
Based on the book by George Orwell
Adapted for radio by Steve Pickering
from the stage adaptation by Althos Low
Audio play available for to all teachers and students with reservation
October – November 2020
Recommended for grades 8+
For the first time SYA will produce an Audio Play, which will be based on the critically acclaimed 2014 production of George Orwell’s Animal Farm adapted by Althos Low. A topical piece with an important election come November, Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegorical look at a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free and happy. But in the wake of a revolution, will power corrupt even the noblest of causes?
The Audio Play will be accessible for free streaming in the classroom or should school not return in the fall, SYA will make it accessible to their teachers and students’ homes. Along with this offering, participants will work with the Steppenwolf teaching artists, either in the classroom or virtually, and as always, SYA will be creating an exciting new curriculum around this audio play.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Based on the book by Erika L. Sánchez
Adapted by Isaac Gómez
Directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez
Featuring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez
February – March 2021
in the Upstairs Theater
Recommended for grades 8+
At its heart, this is a Chicago story about family, community, and coming together even when that feels impossible. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter follows Julia, a Chicago high school student as she navigates the trials and tribulations of following her dreams of becoming a writer alongside the death of her older sister, Olga—who might not have been quite as perfect as she seemed.
This poignant and vibrant new work is a love story to young Chicanas who, in trying to find the truth about the people and the world around them, end up finding themselves. This story is a timeless reminder that no matter one’s country of origin, no matter what language one speaks, or what status one occupies, we all have dreams.
The SYA run of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter features four weeks of student matinee performances reaching more than 6,000 students in Chicagoland. 100 CPS classrooms will receive free workshops that explore themes of the play and classroom teachers will receive free professional development and curricular support, allowing them to build upon content from the novel and play.
Steppenwolf’s longtime partner, Storycatchers Theatre, a nonprofit that works with youth in the juvenile justice system, will be engaging closely with SYA throughout the season. Storycatchers Theatre will use the themes of George Orwell's Animal Farm as a springboard for their next playwriting cycle and will tour the remount of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter to three juvenile justice facilities following the run.
“On behalf of Storycatchers Theatre, I am very excited at the prospect of a 2021 spring tour of our facilities for detained and incarcerated youth by Steppenwolf for Young Adults. After witnessing I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter last March, and the wealth of personal storytelling it inspired from our youth, we look forward to the return of this moving and magical production. It is our great hope that all of our youth will have the opportunity to participate in the workshops and experience the joy of live theater, many of them for the first time,” Meade Palidofsky, Artistic Director and Founder, Storycatchers Theatre.
For any questions regarding student matinees, please contact Abhi Shrestha at firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a group of 10 or more for a public performance, email email@example.com for more information and to be added to our groups waitlist for next season.
Study guides and additional resources for educators, teens and community organizations can be found at steppenwolf.org/education.
Since mid-March, Steppenwolf Education has produced an incredible array of free virtual programming including nearly 20 online workshops reaching over 3,000 people of all ages from across the globe—from Australia to Malta to Singapore and the Philippines. Virtual workshops are archived on Steppenwolf’s website for viewing, and plans continue for ongoing virtual work throughout the season. Steppenwolf Education is committed to adding accessibility services for virtual programming, recognizing the new challenges the deaf/hard of hearing community are facing in the shift to online platforms. steppenwolf.org/virtualsteped.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 2020/21 Reset Season
To allow for the most flexibility as we follow recommended guidelines from local government and health officials, play run dates will be solidified closer to the start of the season
Good Night, and Good Luck
By Matt Charman
Based on the screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov
Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro
Produced by special arrangement by Jean Doumanian, Robert Fox, George Clooney and Grant Heslov
Executive Producer: Andrew Higgie
Complete cast features ensemble members Alana Arenas, Ian Barford, Audrey Francis, Tom Irwin and William Petersen along with Jordan Brodess, Keith Gallagher and Joey Slotnick
First Preview December 2, 2020; opening December 13, 2020
In the Downstairs Theater
1953: Dark days in Washington, D.C. Senator Joseph McCarthy wages his ruthless campaign against all those he deems “Un-American,” public trust in the institutions of government is in perilous decline and a panicked gloom grips the nation. All that stands in the way of the continued disintegration of the American body politic is Edward R. Murrow, his room of intrepid journalists and one black-and-white newscast destined to change the course of this country’s civic life. This world premiere adaptation of George Clooney’s Oscar-nominated film is a stark, fast-moving and timely look at the treacherous business of telling truths in dark times.
Fifteen years after the release of the much-lauded film, this world premiere will hit Steppenwolf’s stage at the height of 2020’s election cycle. Against the backdrop of this highly charged political atmosphere, Steppenwolf’s ensemble and Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro are eager to tell this prescient tale about a heroic moment in American history where those with everything to lose decided to stand up and call out injustice.
World Premiere – Returning as a main series play after a sold-out run!
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Based on the book by Erika L. Sánchez
Adapted by Isaac Gómez
Directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez
In the Upstairs Theater
An adaptation of Erika L. Sánchez’s award-winning novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter follows Julia, a Chicago high school student as she navigates trials and tribulations of following her dreams of becoming a writer alongside the death of her sister, Olga—who might not have been quite as perfect as she seemed. Sánchez has created an indelible protagonist in student Julia Reyes, who searches for her truest self while navigating the struggles of adolescence—depression, grief, self-doubt—in addition to the anxieties unique to a child of immigrants with a foot in two very different worlds. Julia is torn between a future limited by the same socioeconomic forces that curtail the opportunities open to her parents and her fervent ambitions to seek a more expansive life for herself as a writer.
We are thrilled to return I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter to Steppenwolf after its sold-out world premiere with Steppenwolf for Young Adults was cut short in March. At its heart, this is a Chicago story about family, community and coming together even when that feels impossible. It’s a timeless reminder that no matter one’s country of origin, no matter what language one speaks, or what status one occupies, we all have dreams. The opportunity to re-imagine this play for our members allows us to share the beauty and complexities within our beloved city with a wider audience: a Chicago story bringing us back together at Steppenwolf.
Last Night and the Night Before
By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
Featuring ensemble member Namir Smallwood with Ayanna Bria Bakari, Sydney Charles and Jessica Dean Turner
In the Downstairs Theater
A young woman is on the run. From what, she will not say. Arriving on the doorstep of her older sister’s Brooklyn brownstone with her ten-year-old daughter Sam, but without her loyal husband, her presence asks more questions than it answers as everyone in her orbit is thrown off balance and into one another. As Sam becomes increasingly haunted by the life she was forced to leave in Georgia, the adults are forced to consider what they must sacrifice to break a cycle of despair. Stunning, poetic and heartbreaking, Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s portrait of Black Love explores the complex forms family can take.
Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s play is a perfect example of the kind of dynamic American Realism that speaks to both the Steppenwolf Ensemble and its audiences. Exquisitely drawn characters, perfectly structured narrative and a truly original voice inhabit the world of Sam, the young narrator, as she stands in the middle of a familial web whose truth is ever-changing and for whom salvation is elusive. To inhabit this world as theatre makers and to witness it as theatre goers will be something none of us will soon forget.
By ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney
Featuring ensemble members James Vincent Meredith and Austin Pendleton with Daniel Kyri
In the Downstairs Theater
Pharus Young, now a senior at the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys, an institution committed to building “strong, ethical Black men,” endeavors to be the best leader of the school’s prestigious choir in its 50-year history. But in a world built on rites and rituals, should he conform to the expectations of his peers in order to gain the respect he desperately seeks? Written by Oscar-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), this Tony-nominated play—threaded throughout with soul-stirring a cappella gospel hymns—is the story of a young gay Black man and his battle between identity and community.
Tarell Alvin McCraney is one of our country’s most important voices. Speaking as he does for both the unseen masses and the spectacularly singular, there is simply no journey he goes on that Steppenwolf would not want to follow. Choir Boy is an elegy to quiet rebellion, filled with the sound of longing and aspiration. It is a love song in pianissimo to the unseen heart that beats inside us all. The company is thrilled to bring this beautiful story “home.”
World Premiere Adaptation
By Anton Chekhov
Translated and adapted by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov
Directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov
Featuring ensemble members Ian Barford, Cliff Chamberlain, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper, Sandra Marquez, James Vincent Meredith, Caroline Neff, Karen Rodriguez and Namir Smallwood
In the NEW theater-in-the-round
In a giant country house filled to overflow on a long summer weekend in the Russian countryside, three generations collide in Yasen Peyankov’s extraordinarily funny and magical adaption of Anton Chekhov’s Seagull, the play that will open our new theater-in-the-round. In classic Chekhovian style, an all Ensemble cast will wrestle with the eternal questions that haunt the intellectual artist class: What is Love? What is Art? When is Lunch? Please join us for this historical moment in Steppenwolf’s journey as we explore the work that inspired us, laugh at the battles that consume us and celebrate, together, all that makes us grateful for each other.
We chose Seagull to open the new theater for so many reasons. There is, first and foremost, the play itself: a timeless look at how aspiration and desire infect and inform our relationship, not just with others, but with ourselves. Its compassionate and loving examination of both the futility and necessity of longing in our lives is shown through the exquisitely etched cast of characters that inhabit this impossibly humor-filled world. But also, at its heart, the story of Seagull is deeply meaningful to us, wrestling as it does with generational battles about not just the meaning of art but its necessity at all. And of course, all of this plays out within a group of people who love each other more than they don’t and who need each other more than they know. At this moment, this play, and our company, are together. We want to share that with our audiences.
Good Night, and Good Luck
Matt Charman (Playwright) is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and award-winning British playwright. His debut play, A Night at the Dogs premiered at the Soho Theatre and won the Verity Bargate Award 2004. He has had three world premieres at London’s National Theatre, including The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder in 2007 and The Observer in 2011 (directed by Sir Richard Eyre), for which he won the Catherine Johnson Award. In March 2012, his play Regrets, starring Ansel Elgort, received its world premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club. This was followed by The Machine, which opened at the Manchester International Festival, before being staged in New York at the Park Avenue Armory. For the screen, Charman co-wrote Bridge of Spies (2015), a Cold War thriller directed by Steven Spielberg and film starring Tom Hanks, Alan Alda and Mark Rylance. It earned Charman a BAFTA, Academy Award and WGA nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Previously, he co-wrote Suite Francaise (2014) with director Saul Dibb, starring Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas and Margot Robbie. Charman’s current film projects include his directorial debut for MRC Studios. He has written an adaptation of the Alan Gratz novel Refugee and a feature, Honorable Exit, for Warner Bros. Charman is based in London working with established and emerging writers across a variety of TV and feature film scripts. He is producing these projects through his London-based production company, Binocular.
Anna D. Shapiro (Director) is a Tony Award-winning director and Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in 2005 and was awarded the 2008 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for August: Osage County (Steppenwolf, Broadway, London). She was nominated in 2011 in the same category for The Motherf**ker with the Hat (Public Theater, LAByrinth Theater). Other Steppenwolf directing credits include the world premiere production of The Minutes (also on Broadway); Mary Page Marlowe, Visiting Edna, Three Sisters, A Parallelogram, Up, The Crucible, The Unmentionables (also at Yale Repertory Theatre), The Pain and the Itch (also in New York), I Never Sang for My Father, Man from Nebraska, Purple Heart (also in Galway, Ireland), The Drawer Boy, Side Man (also in Ireland, Australia and Vail, Colorado), Three Days of Rain, The Infidel and This Is Our Youth (which transferred to Broadway). Additional Broadway credits include Of Mice and Men (with James Franco) and Fish in the Dark (with Larry David), and Off Broadway Domesticated (Lincoln Center Theater). She is directing the new Broadway musical The Devil Wears Prada with music by Sir Elton John, lyrics by Shaina Taub and book by Paul Rudnick. Shapiro is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Columbia. She is a professor in Northwestern University’s Department of Theatre.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, novelist, and essayist, her debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf in July 2017, and was a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. Her debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, published in October 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers, is a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist. She is currently a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow, and a recent recipient of the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Erika grew up in Cicero, IL and is currently Chicago based.
Isaac Gómez is an award-winning Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta received its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company last Winter. His one-woman show the way she spoke received its Off-Broadway premiere at the Minetta Lane Theatre (produced by Audible, directed by Jo Bonney, starring Kate del Castillo) this summer. He is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Alley Theater, and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. His plays have been supported by Steppenwolf Theater Company, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, City Theatre, Artists Rep, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, WaterTower Theater, Haven Theater, Teatro Vista, Greenhouse Theater Center, Jackalope Theater Company, Pivot Arts, Definition Theater Company, Broken Nose Theater, Stage Left, The VORTEX, and Something Marvelous. He is the recipient of the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award, the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, an inaugural 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee, Co-Creative Director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Artistic Associate with Victory Gardens Theater, Ensemble Member with Teatro Vista, Artistic Associate with Pivot Arts, an advisory committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and a core producer with the Jubilee. He is a Professional Lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is represented by The Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.
Sandra Marquez is a Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member. Last season she played Nora in A Doll’s House, Part 2 and directed the acclaimed sold-out production of La Ruta by Isaac Gomez. Other Steppenwolf credits include The Roommate, The Doppelgänger (an International Farce), Mary Page Marlowe, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sonia Flew and One Arm. At Teatro Vista, where she is a longtime company member and former Associate Artistic Director, she directed Fade, My Mañana Comes, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and the Jeff nominated production of Our Lady of the Underpass. She is the recipient of a Jeff Award for her work in Teatro Vista's A View from the Bridge. Ms. Marquez completed a three-year arc playing Clytemnestra in Court Theatre’s Iphigenia Cycle (Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra and Agamemnon). Film and television credits include Red Line, Boss, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice and Timer amongst others. She is on the theater faculty at Northwestern University.
Last Night and the Night Before
Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Playwright) was raised in Columbia, South Carolina and is a Brooklyn based playwright and actor. Plays include Where We Stand (2020 Lucille Lortel Nominee – Outstanding Solo Show and Drama League Award Nominee – Distinguished Performance. World premiere co-production with WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center Semifinalist); Warriors Don’t Cry (Theatreworks USA/Bushnell commission); Last Night and the Night Before (world premiere Denver Center for the Performing Arts, National Theatre Conference Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, Kilroys List, Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award, O’Neill Center Semifinalist); Laid To Rest (O’Neill Center Finalist, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep); and The Review (WP Pipeline Festival, O’Neill Center Finalist); The New Normal; and The Cowboy is Dying. Donnetta is a 2020 Helen Merrill Playwright Award reciptient and she is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. She is an alumna of Space on Ryder Farm’s Working Farm Residency, Time Warner Foundation WP Playwrights Lab, Civilians R&D Group and terraNova Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwright group. Grays’ works have been developed with New Harmony Project, LAByrinth Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage, Pure Theatre, Naked Angels and Classical Theatre of Harlem. She holds Commissions from Steppenwolf, Denver Center for the Performing Arts and WP Theatre. She is a Staff Writer for Y: The Last Man on FX and Manhunt: Lone Wolf on Spectrum Originals. Donnettagrays.com
Valerie Curtis-Newton (Director) is the Head of Directing at the University of Washington’s School of Drama. She also serves as the Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, an African American theatre lab. Curtis-Newton has worked with theatres across the country including The Guthrie Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, New York Theatre Workshop, among others. She has been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Grant for Directors, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Theatre Puget Sound’s Gregory Fall Award for Sustained Achievement, Seattle Times’ 13 Most Influential Citizens of the last decade, the Seattle Stranger Genius Award in Performance and the Crosscut Courage Award for Culture.
Tarell Alvin McCraney (Playwright) is an acclaimed writer. His script In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the basis for the Oscar-winning film Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins, for which McCraney and Jenkins won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He wrote the film High Flying Bird, which premiered on Netflix directed by Steven Soderbergh. McCraney’s plays include MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT (co-written with fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Tina Landau), The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy, Head of Passes, Wig Out!, and Choir Boy, which was nominated for four Tony Awards. McCraney is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Award, and a USA Artist Award. He is currently Chair of Playwriting at Yale School of Drama; an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre; and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects. McCraney is currently working on an original scripted TV series, David Makes Man, for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, produced by Michael B Jordan and Page Fright Productions.
Yasen Peyankov (Translator, Adaptor and Director) who last directed at Steppenwolf the world premiere of Erika Sheffer’s The Fundamentals has been an ensemble member since 2002. Other Steppenwolf main stage directing credits include Between Riverside and Crazy (Jeff Nomination for Best Production 2016), Grand Concourse, Russian Transport, as well as Hushabye for First Look and The Glass Menagerie for Steppenwolf for Young Adults. Other directing credits include Macbeth, Uncle Vanya, Go Away Go Away, Stars in the Morning Sky (European Repertory), Ladybird (The Evidence Room, Los Angeles), Overweight, Unimportant, Misshape: A European Supper (Trapdoor Theatre). His translations/adaptations of Chekhov plays include Ivanov, Uncle Vanya and Seagull as well as Zoyka’s Apartment by M. Bulgakov, Ladybird, Plasticine and Black Milk by V. Sigarev, Stars in the Morning Sky by A.Galin, Go Away Go Away by N. Kolyada. He also translated and directed the Bulgarian premiere of August: Osage County at the National Theatre in Sofia. He has appeared in 20 productions at Steppenwolf, some of which include Time of Your Life (also in Seattle and San Francisco), Morning Star (Jeff Award), Hysteria, Lost Land, Cherry Orchard, Frankie and Johnny at the Claire De Lune (also in Dublin), Superior Donuts (also on Broadway), Three Sisters, A Doll's House Part 2, The Children, Lindiwe and others. Some of his many film and television appearances include Captive State, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Gifted Hands, Alias, The Practice, The Unit, Numb3rs, Madam Secretary, Stranger Things and others. Peyankov is a Full Professor and the Head of Theatre at the School of Theatre and Music at UIC where he teaches acting and directs plays.
Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each live play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and the Downstairs and 1700 Theaters are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theatrers feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces. Our Steppenwolf Education Virtual Programs feature Closed Captioning and American Sign Language Interpretation, and our Steppenwolf Now Programming will feature Closed Captioning and Audio Description.
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ($15 or $17, cash or card) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($15 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12noon 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.
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Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT—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, 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.
Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.