Kooky as she was playing neurotic Jackie on TV's "Roseanne," kookier as she was playing the mother in My Thing of Love on Broadway, Laurie Metcalf may now have her kookiest role yet. She plays unemployed, marijuana-addled Patty in Justin Tanner's 1994 play, POT MOM [sic], which ends its extended run Aug. 2 at Chicago's Steppenwolf Studio Theatre. The comedy, which began previews June 17, was scheduled to run through July 26 but was recently extended to Aug 2, completing the company's Studio season.
Metcalf stars opposite fellow Steppenwolf ensemble members Tom Irwin and Rondi Reed in this tale of a woman spending her last weekend rolling joints before having to join the workforce. Meanwhile, two of her children are just as useless as she is, and her boyfriend (who provides the weed) is threatening to leave and take his plants with him.
Also in the cast are Johnny Galecki, Lauren Katz, Zoe Perry, Matt Roth, Brendan Smith, Katie Cassis and Dodo [sic]. Designing the show are Mark Netherland (sets), Heather Gilbert (lighting), and Jana Stauffer (costumes), Lindsay Jones and (sound). Other plays by author Tanner include Still Life With Vacuum Salesman, Zombie Attack, Bitter Women and Coyote Woman.
Directing POT MOM is Wilson Milam, who's worked in London and Edinburgh, as well as such Chicago venues as A Red Orchid and Shattered Globe.
For tickets ($20) and information on POT MOM at Steppenwolf Studio, 1650 North Halsted St., call (312) 335-1650. *
In other Steppenwolf news, the company is buying a four-story building at 758 West North Ave., currently owned by LaSalle Bank. The purchase will allow the Studio theatre to be a full-time performance space (says Steppenwolf board of directors president Gloria Scoby) and create a venue for other "emerging theatre groups." Rehearsals, workshops and readings will then take place at 1626 North Halsted. Figure the change-over to take place by early fall.
In further Steppenwolf news, film and stage star Martha Plimpton stars in this summer's production: Synge's The Playboy of the Western World. She plays Pegeen Mike, the Irish lass who falls for the title rogue.
Plimpton has appeared in such films as Running on Empty, Another Woman, Parenthood, and I Shot Andy Warhol. New York stage productions include Pericles at the Public Theatre.
Jim True will play the title role, a young man who gains fleeting fame when he reveals his belief that he has slain his father. True has previously enjoyed noted success in another Irish play, Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come!, which was produced at New York's Roundabout Theatre Company in 1994. True was most recently seen on Broadway as Vince in Steppenwolf's lauded 1996 revival of Sam Shepard's Buried Child. True is a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. Douglas Hughes will direct the Synge play.
The production began previews at Steppenwolf July 3 and opened July 12 for a run through Aug. 23. The play will then travel in the fall to open the 1998-99 season at the Long Wharf Theatre, where Hughes is artistic director. It is not certain whether True or Plimpton will appear in the New Haven production. No specific dates have been announced for the Long Wharf engagement.