Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro, has unveiled its 2018–2019 season, featuring seven productions.
The 43rd season will include a new production of Danai Gurira’s Off-Broadway hit Familiar; a remounting of Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney’s acclaimed Wig Out! (featuring McCraney himself in a rare return to the stage); Lucas Hnath’s Tony-nominated play A Doll’s House, Part 2; and a revival of Sam Shepard’s True West.
Kicking off the season in September will be the world premiere of Downstate, a new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Bruce Norris, directed by Pam MacKinnon (The Parisian Woman, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). Centered on a group of sex offenders in downstate Illinois, the play questions what happens when society deems somebody unworthy of forgiveness. Performances will run September 20–November 4 in the Upstairs Theatre; the production will feature ensemble members K. Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan, and Tim Hopper.
Next up will be the Chicago premiere of Familiar by Black Panther star and acclaimed playwright Gurira. The hit new play, which looks at themes of tradition and assimilation, will run November 14–January 6, 2019, in the Downstairs Theatre. A director will be announced at a later date; the production will feature ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper and Ora Jones.
In the Upstairs Theatre, Steppenwolf will present the world premiere of La Ruta by Chicago playwright Isaac Gomez with direction by ensemble member Sandra Marquez. Inspired by real testimonies and using live music, the play shines light on the Mexican women who work in the U.S.-owned factories in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Performances will run December 13–January 27, 2019.
Next up in the Upstairs Theatre will be Wig Out!, directed by ensemble member and SpongeBob director Tina Landau. The acclaimed play peels back the curtain on the world of African American drag ball culture. Ensemble member Glenn Davis joins McCraney in the production; performances will run May 23–July 7.
In the new year, the Downstairs Theatre will see the Chicago premieres of A Doll’s House, Part 2, with a director to be announced and featuring ensemble members Cooper, Marquez, and Yasen Peyankov (January 31–March 17); and Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, directed by Jonathan Berry and featuring ensemble members Jones and Yasen Peyankov (April 18–June 9). Both plays had acclaimed engagements on Broadway.
Closing out the season will be the first Steppenwolf revival of True West (July 5–August 18), the Shepard play which heralded the Chicago company’s arrival on the American theatre scene in 1982. The production will feature ensemble members Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood, with a director to be announced at a later date.
“We look forward to sharing these vital, original and joyful plays with Chicago in our 2018–19 season,” says Steppenwolf Artistic Director Shapiro in a statement. “Steppenwolf’s work continues to explore and celebrate the dynamic and ever-changing story of our world—both the literal and emotional—while also hopefully offering insights into experiences beyond our own. At Steppenwolf, we hope to give our audiences the opportunity to both see and be seen, as all of us try to extend ourselves in the worthy effort of understanding our fellow man.”
For more information and to purchase a membership, visit Steppenwolf.org.