Martha Lavey, the artistic director of the famed Chicago-based theatre company, said in a statement, "We recognize our 2008-2009 season as an exciting moment in our cultural life. We are on the precipice of a change in our national leadership — America is dreaming of its future. Steppenwolf celebrates this moment with a season of the imagination. We offer five stories that feature the power of the imagination in shaping our identity, creating our future, determining our reality."
The season will include productions of Frank Galati's Kafka on the Shore; Conor McPherson's The Seafarer; Yasmina Reza's Art; William Shakespeare's The Tempest, which marks Steppenwolf's first Shakespeare; and Bridget Carpenter's Up, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, currently represented on Broadway with the acclaimed Steppenwolf production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. In addition to the five-play subscription season, a special engagement of another McPherson play, Dublin Carol — starring "CSI" actor William Petersen and directed by August's Amy Morton — will also be offered.
Steppenwolf ensemble members confirmed for the upcoming season include Galati, Francis Guinan, Jon Hill, Tina Landau, John Mahoney, Morton and Shapiro.
The 2008-2009 Steppenwolf season follows.
Kafka on the Shore in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre
Sept. 18-Nov. 16
Adapted for the stage and directed by ensemble member Frank Galati
Based on the work by Haruki Murakami
Featuring ensemble members Francis Guinan and Jon Hill with Gerson Dacanay, Aiko Nakasone, Andrew Pang, David Rhee and Lisa Tejero
"A young boy's coming of age parallels an old man's search for destiny in a modern day Japan where the borders between everyday reality, dreams and imagination are constantly crossed." The Seafarer in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre
Dec. 4, 2008-Feb. 8, 2009
By Conor McPherson
Featuring ensemble member John Mahoney
"It's Christmas Eve in Dublin. In the rundown house where Sharky cares for his blind brother, old acquaintances gather for a card game—joined by an ominous stranger. As the booze flows and the game intensifies, Sharky discovers he is playing for his soul."
Art in the Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre
Feb. 5-June 7, 2009
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
"[The play] explores the intricacies of a long-term friendship between three men. When one of them drops a fortune on a piece of modern art, his friends' surprising reactions touch off a series of personal confrontations."
The Tempest in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre
March 26-May 24, 2009
By William Shakespeare
Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau
Featuring ensemble member Frank Galati
"In Shakespeare's final work, Prospero is exiled to an enchanted island where he harnesses the powers of magic and masters the spirits that dwell there. His desire for revenge drives him to conjure a mighty storm trapping his enemies on the island."
Up in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre
June 18-Aug. 23, 2009
By Bridget Carpenter
Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro
"On the best day of his life, Walter built a flying machine that reached the clouds. Ever since, he's tried to invent new ways to fly while his wife keeps the family afloat."
Dublin Carol in the Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre
Nov. 13-Dec. 21, 2008
By Conor McPherson
Directed by ensemble member Amy Morton
Featuring William Petersen
Tickets for the subscription series are now on sale by calling (312) 335-1650 or by visiting www.steppenwolf.org. (Tickets for Dublin Carol are now on sale only to Steppenwolf subscribers; single tickets will go on sale at a later date.)