Pam MacKinnon and Bruce Norris Will Reunite for The Qualms; Steppenwolf Season Announced

By Kenneth Jones
March 6, 2013

Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2013-14 season in Chicago will feature the world premiere of The Qualms, a new play about partner-swapping among friends, by Clybourne Park Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris, plus the world premiere of The Way West by Mona Mansour.



Two other Chicago-premiere productions, Nina Raine's Tribes and Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport, will be staged, along with the American premiere of The Wheel by Zinnie Harris.

Pam MacKinnon, who directed Clybourne Park on Broadway and off, will reunite with Norris for The Qualms in summer 2014.

Performers to appear in the coming season include Steppenwolf ensemble members Joan Allen, Tim Hopper, Yasen Peyankov, Francis Guinan, Ora Jones, Mariann Mayberry and others yet to be named. Amy Morton and Tina Landau are among directors.

Here's the coming season at a glance:

The Wheel
By Zinnie Harris
Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau
Featuring ensemble member Joan Allen, Tim Hopper, Ora Jones and Yasen Peyankov
Sept. 12-Nov. 10

"A spellbinding new play about what happens to hope and human nature in times of war. On a 19th-century Spanish farm, Beatriz is happily preparing for her sister's wedding when the house is overrun by soldiers. In the chaos, she becomes the unintentional guardian of a young girl. Her determination to reunite the child with her father sweeps Beatriz along on a journey across war zones and through time. But what began as a simple act of kindness takes on a strange twist when the girl acquires curious powers."

Tribes
By Nina Raine
Directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton
Featuring ensemble members Alana Arenas and Francis Guinan
Dec. 5, 2013-Feb. 9, 2014

"A sharp, witty story about finding the place where you can be heard and a family that feels like home. Billy's intellectual and proudly eccentric English family is its own tiny empire: private languages, in jokes and fiery arguments. Billy, deaf since birth, is the only one who truly listens. When he meets his girlfriend Sylvia, he is introduced to a larger Deaf community, which sparks a struggle for self-identity and rebellion against his family."

Russian Transport
By Erika Sheffer
Directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov
Featuring ensemble members Tim Hopper, Mariann Mayberry and Alan Wilder
Feb. 6-May 11, 2014

"A comedy-turned-thriller that took Off-Broadway by storm. A rowdy Russian family in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn is on a daily hustle to achieve the American Dream. When Uncle Boris arrives from the old country, his mysterious business ventures force the family to decide just how far they are willing to go to come out on top. A funny, passionate family drama that slyly transforms into a heart-pounding thriller, Russian Transport is a fascinating look at the contemporary American immigrant experience."

The Way West
By Mona Mansour
Directed by ensemble member Amy Morton
April 3-June 8, 2014

"A wryly funny play — with music — about the contemporary quirks of our American spirit. In a modern-day California town that's seen better days, Mom shares death-defying tales of pioneer crossings with her two squabbling adult daughters as she waits for her bankruptcy to come through. Peppered with original prairie songs, this hilarious and heartbreaking play about today's American family explores the mixed blessing of our great frontier spirit, which has fueled both self-delusion and survival."

The Qualms
By Bruce Norris
Directed by Pam MacKinnon
July 3-Aug. 31, 2014

"A sexy world premiere by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Clybourne Park. At a beachside apartment complex, a group of friends gathers for their regular evening of food, drink, drugs and partner-swapping. When Chris and Kristy attempt to become the newest members, the evening does not go as planned. The artichoke dip grows cold as the party devolves into a territorial battle over mating privileges. Does sex ruin everything? And what is the purpose of monogamy? Bruce Norris's comedy explores the eternal struggle for power, status and getting laid."

For more information, visit steppenwolf.org.