Actor Austin Pendleton, currently enbodying Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya for the fourth time in his career, will give his last performances in a new Steppenwolf Theatre Company production on July 29. The staging began on June 14 and opened July 23. Sheldon Patinkin directs.
Pendleton is well versed in the role of the long-suffering Vanya, who has wasted his life serving his pompous brother-in-law, an eminent but vacuous professor. He's played the role three times before, including stints at New York City's CSC Repertory and at Olympia Dukakis' defunct Whole Theatre. Pendleton most recently appeared at Steppenwolf in Valparaiso, at the same time his play Orson's Shadow was being staged in the theatre's Garage space. His play Uncle Bob recently concluded a run Off-Broadway at the Soho Playhouse.
The cast of Uncle Vanya also includes four other Steppenwolf ensemble members: Robert Breuler as Serebryakov; Sally Murphy as Yelena; Jeff Perry as Astrov; and Rondi Reed as Marina. Breuler's Steppenwolf credits include David Copperfield, The Infidel, Curse of the Starving Class and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Murphy has acted at the Chicago theatre in Skylight and The Grapes of Wrath. Perry, a Steppenwolf co-founder, has graced Picasso at the Lapine Agile and As I Lay Dying. Finally, Reed's countless credits include The Grapes of Wrath, Earthly Possessions, Side Man and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.
Also in the cast are Monica Payne as Sonya, Kirk Anderson, Ann Wakefield and Eric Jacobson.
Tickets are $15-$25. Steppenwolf's Studio space is located at 1650 N. Halsted in Chicago. For more information, call (312) 335-1650. *
Hedda Gabler, starring Martha Plimpton, now plays on the Steppenwolf Main Stage. The Steppenwolf production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest also ends its extended run on Broadway on July 29. It won the Tony for best revival of a play. Gary Sinise stars.
—By Robert Simonson