Nothing is known about the chosen vehicle except that it is written by Stephen Jeffreys and will run at Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, March 31-June 5, 2005. Malkovich's last appearance at the Chicago company—where he gave star-making performances in plays like True West and Burn This—was in Jeffreys' The Libertine in 1996. Since then, he was returned to direct Terry Johnson's Sigmund Freud comedy, Hysteria. Malkovich was the first member of the Windy City troupe to break out into wider fame. Following a New York transfer in True West, Malkovich began winning praise for film performances in "The Killing Fields," "Places in the Heart," "Dangerous Liasons" and "In the Line of Fire." He played a version of himself in 1999's surreal "Being John Malkovich."
Another celebrated Steppenwolf ensemble member, John Mahoney, will act with Tracy Letts in The Dresser, Ronald Dresser's pas de deax between a cantankerous old English stage star and his devoted and abused dresser. Amy Morton will direct at the Downstairs Theatre. Dates are Sept. 16-Nov. 14, 2004.
Following The Dresser will be a new translation of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, directed by Tina Landau, starring Amy Morton, Yasen Peyankov and Rondi Reed. The staging is at the Upstairs Theatre, Nov. 4, 2004-March 5, 2005. The final production of the season, following the Jeffreys play, will be The Pain and the Itch, a premiere by one of Steppenwolf's latest playwright favorites, Bruce Norris. Anna D. Shapiro will direct. Letts stars. Dates at the Downstairs Theatre are June 30-August 28, 2005.