Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of Terry Johnson's Sigmund Freud comedy, Hysteria, directed by John Malkovich, has a new lead. Replacing Steppenwolf ensemble member Alan Wilder in the role of the father of pychoanalysis will be Yasen Peyankov. Wilder has withdrawn "for personal reasons."
The Bulgaria-born Peyankov has been seen on the Steppenwolf stage in Morning Star, winning a Jeff Award for his performance. Recently, he played Menelaus in Mary Zimmerman's The Odyssey at the Goodman Theatre.
The rest of the cast remains the same and includes Mariann Mayberry as Jessica, Marc Vann as Salvador Dali, and Nicholas Rudall as Abraham Yahuda.
Hysteria is set to begin previews at the Chicago theatre Nov. 26. Official opening is Dec. 7 (two days later than previously announced) for a run through Jan. 22, 2000.
John Malkovich, probably Steppenwolf's most famous member, will direct Hysteria, a comedy about Sigmund Freud's last days in a quiet London suburb. Malkovich, well known to film audiences -- most recently, from "The Messenger" and a film which actually bears his name, "Being John Malkovich" -- rarely takes the stage at Steppenwolf, or elsewhere, anymore, preferring to work behind the scenes. Other directing credits include Libra. Johnson's other works include The Libertine and Insignificance.
In other Steppenwolf news, the company has altered its 1999-2000 season schedule, with Patrick Marber's Closer and Don DeLillo's Valparaiso changing places on the roster. Closer, which was to be the third show of the season, will now be the fifth and final production, while Valparaiso will take the number three slot. The line-up now runs as follows:
€ Hysteria (Nov. 26,1999-Jan. 22, 2000, opening Dec. 7), Terry Johnson's comedy about Sigmund Freud's last days in England, in 1939, directed by John Malkovich.
€ Valparaiso (Feb. 3-March 26, 2000, opening Feb. 13), Don DeLillo's exploration of one man's ordinary business trip to Valparaiso, IN., directed by Frank Galati. In Valparaiso, which premiered earlier this year at MA's A.R.T., a man who took the wrong plane to a mysterious destination now finds himself the obsessive focus of interviews and talk shows. With Valparaiso, world-renowned novelist DeLillo ("White Noise," "Libra" and "Underworld") made his second venture into the theater world. His first play, The Dayroom, premiered at the A.R.T. in 1986. The novel "Libra," about Lee Harvey Oswald, was adapted into a play by Malkovich and produced by Steppenwolf in 1994.
€ Gary Sinise will star as McMurphy and Amy Morton as Nurse Ratched in Dale Wasserman's adaptation of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, (April 6-June 4, 2000, opening April 16). Terry Kinney will direct. Sinise and Kinney are co-founders of Steppenwolf. The show will be presented at Steppenwolf by arrangement with Michael Leavitt and Fox Theatricals. As for a possible transfer to Broadway in the 2000-01 season, a production spokesperson told PBOL (March 25), "It's our hope that will happen; Fox Theatricals owns the New York rights, and that's why we're with them."
€ Marber's Closer (July 6-Aug. 27, 2000, opening July 16), with Abagail Deser directing. Closer's quartet of dysfunctional romantic partners were originally played on Broadway by Natasha Richardson, Anna Friel, Rubert Graves and Ciaran Hinds, under Marber's direction.
The 1999-2000 season at Steppenwolf's Studio Space runs as follows:
€ Her Name Was Danger (Nov. 17-Dec. 12), a Lookinglass Theatre Steppenwolf co- production, created and directed by David Catlin.
€ Redmoon's Hunchback (May 17-June 11, 2000), a Redmoon Theater-Steppenwolf co production, by Jim Lasko, based on Victor Hugo's novel, music by Michael Zerang.
The 1999-2000 Steppenwolf Garages season runs as follows:
€ Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth (Oct. 14-Nov. 14), in collaboration with Roadworks Productions.
€ Austin Pendleton's Orson's Shadow (Jan. 13-Feb. 13, 2000); Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Joan Plowright and Kenneth Tynan are the quintet featured in actor-director-dramatist Austin Pendleton's latest work.
--By Robert Simonson