Steppenwolf Has Mahoney, Parks and New Letts Play in 2003-04

News   Steppenwolf Has Mahoney, Parks and New Letts Play in 2003-04 Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced three-fifths of its 2003-04 mainstage season. The trio of announced plays testifies to the nonprofit's traditional mix of contemporary work, neglected American plays and New York imports.

The season begins with last season's Broadway success, Topdog/Underdog, by Suzan-Lori Parks. K. Todd Freeman, who has appeared on Broadway in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Song of Jacob Zulu, will play one of Parks' warring African-American brothers, named Lincoln and Booth. Searching for direction and affection while living in a decrepit boarding house room, the siblings play out the symbolic and surreal power play set up by their weighted names. Dates are Sept. 11-Nov. 2. Amy Morton directs.

Tracy Letts, a Chicago-based playwright who saw his violent and wilfully vulgar Killer Joe become an Off-Broadway hit several seasons back, will premiere his new Man from Nebraska in the Nov. 20-Jan. 18, 2004, slot. Anna D. Shapiro directs Rondi Reed and Rick Snyder in the tale of a middle-aged man set in his ways who wakes up one morning to suddenly discover he no longer believes in God.

Finally, in the tradition of past Steppenwolf forays into the worlds of George S. Kauman, Moss Hart, Edna Ferber and William Saroyan, the company will dust off Robert Anderson's I Never Sang for My Father. John Mahoney is the irascible father and Kevin Anderson is Gene Garrison, the emotionally conflicted son who suddenly has to spend a lot of time with dear old Dad. Dates are April 22-June 20, 2004.

Two more plays are yet to be announced.

Mahoney, Anderson, Morton, Freeman, Reed, Letts and Snyder are all Steppenwolf Ensemble members. The famed troupe was formed in 1974 by Gary Sinise, Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry and became famous for its acting-driven ethos and muscular, propulsive productions of modern classics, performed by such future stars as John Malkovich, Joan Allen and Laurie Metcalf. Among their most famous efforts are landmark productions of Balm in Gilead, True West, Buried Child, The Grapes of Wrath, Orphans, The Caretaker and The Song of Jacob Zulu.