Two-time Tony nominee Lois Smith leads the cast of Mother Courage and Her Children, which opens the Steppenwolf Theatre's 26th mainstage season Sept. 23 (previews begin Sept. 13). It runs through Nov. 4.
Ensemble member Eric Simonson directs David Hare's adaptation of Brecht's darkly comic look at a woman struggling to survive in the war-torn landscape of the Thirty Years War. The production also stars Robert Breuler and Sally Murphy and features original music by T Bone Burnett and Darrel Leonard.
Also in the cast are Sara Antunovich, Eric Aviles, Ian Brennan, Hans Fleischman, Joe Foust, Jesse Geiger, David Gray, Russell Heller, Leonard Kraft, Elizabeth Levy, Michael Macias, Taj McCord, Bruch Reed, Wendy Robie, Nicholas Rudall, John Sierros, Jeff Still, Amy Warren, E. Milton Wheeler, Jay Whittaker and Larry Yando.
Allen Moyer (set), Ken Posner (lights), James Schuette (costumes) and Barry Funderburg (sound) are the designers.
Smith, who will return to Steppenwolf later in the season in The Royal Family, was a Tony nominee for the Steppenwolf productions of The Grapes of Wrath and Buried Child. Murphy and Breuler most recently appeared at the Steppenwolf in the Studio production of Uncle Vanya. On Broadway, she was seen in The Wild Party and he, Death of a Salesman. Simonson, who has directed several other Steppenwolf productions, received an Oscar nomination for On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, a documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Simonson, the brother of Playbill On-Line editor Robert Simonson, recently directed a film version of Hamlet starring Campbell Scott.
Tickets are $35 to $50. For more information, call (312) 335-1650 or visit www.steppenwolf.org.
New plays and actor-directors set the tone of the 2001-02 season at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Studio and Garage spaces. The stages will also see the Midwest premieres of Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle and Stephen Adly Guirgis' Jesus Hopped the `A' Train.
The Dazzle, by the busy Greenberg (three of his works will reach New York this season), will be the middle attraction at the Studio Theatre, running May 9-June 9, 2002. Abigail Deser directs the tale of the colorful Collyer brothers, whose high-society life is almost derailed by their obsessive behavior and the entrance of a beautiful woman. The play will also run at South Coast Rep this coming season.
The Studio season will open with Waving Goodbye by Jamie Pachino, running Dec. 6-Jan. 6, 2002, under the direction of Jeremy B. Cohen. Chicago playwright Pachino's tale is about Lily Blue who must live with the mother who abandoned her after her father dies in a mountain climbing accident. The season will conclude July 25-Aug. 25, 2002, with another effort by a Windy City scribe, Jeffrey Mangrum's Wendall Greene. Actress Rondi Reed directs fellow Steppenwolfers Robert Breuler and Mariann Mayberry in this premiere.
Meanwhile, the season at the Garage space begins Oct. 11-Nov. 11 with Absolution by Robert William Sherwood. The play by the author of Spin looks at three high school pals who share a dark secret between them. Twenty years after graduating, that secret threatened to rip their worlds asunder. Another Steppenwolf actress, Martha Plimpton, pilots this work in her directing debut. Plimpton is currently starring on the Steppenwolf Mainstage as Hedda Gabler.
Jesus Hopped the `A' Train follows, Feb. 28-March 31, 2002. Ron O.J. Parson directs this high voltage prison drama. The New York premiere was staged by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Garage season concludes with Love & Sin: A Solo Experience, a collection of solo performances featuring Ian Belknap, Jenny Magnus and Blair Thomas. Dates are June 6 July 7.
The Mainstage season, previously announced, runs as follows:
• Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht, Sept. 13-Nov. 4 (opening Sept. 23), directed by Eric Simonson, starring Lois Smith
• Glengarry Glen Ross, by David Mamet, Nov. 23, 2001-Jan. 19, 2002 (opening Dec. 2), directed by Amy Morton, starring Mike Nussbaum and Alan Wilder.
• Elsa Bernstein's Maria Arndt, adapted by Curt Columbus and Tina Laudau, Jan. 31-March 24, 2002 (opening Feb. 10), directed by Landau
• The Royal Family by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, April 18 June 16, 2002 (opening April 28), directed by Frank Galati.
• Purple Heart by Bruce Norris, running July 5-Aug. 25, 2002 (opening July 14), directed by Anna Shapiro.
—By Diane Snyder and Robert Simonson