Director-playwright Tina Landau will helm The Ballad of Little Jo at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company in the fall of 2000. According to Mike Reid, who penned the work with Sarah Sclesinger [sic], the show will be the first new musical produced by the lauded Chicago company.
The Ballad of Little Jo, which is based on a real story, concerns a young woman living in the last century. Born to money in the East, her father banishes her to the West after she has a child out of wedlock. But on a train bound for San Francisco, Jo is robbed and thrown off in Idaho. There, through a series of odd occurrences, she comes to disguise herself as a man. Finally, she decides to live her entire life that way, going by the name Joe Manahan.
Reid has spent the past 20 years as a Nashville songwriter, penning tunes for the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Another musical by Reid and Sclesinger, In This House, was recently given a reading at the McCarter Theatre.
Landau is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf, where she directed her own play, Space, which is currently receiving a production at the Public Theater in New York. Her other credits include Floyd Collins.
--By Robert Simonson