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 Robert Simonson