Murakami Novel Comes to Life in Steppenwolf World Premiere, Kafka on the Shore

News   Murakami Novel Comes to Life in Steppenwolf World Premiere, Kafka on the Shore
The world premiere of Kafka on the Shore, adapted for the stage and directed by ensemble member Frank Galati, based on the book by Haruki Murakami, launches Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2008-09 season on Sept. 18.
Ensemble member Francis Guinan
Ensemble member Francis Guinan Photo by Mark Campbell

The production, featuring ensemble members Francis Guinan (August: Osage County) and Jon Michael Hill with Christine Bunuan, Gerson Dacanay, Mary Ann de la Cruz, Christopher Larkin, Aiko Nakasone, Andrew Pang, David Rhee and Lisa Tejero, runs to Nov. 16 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted Street. Opening is Sept. 28.

"A young boy's coming of age parallels an old man's search for destiny in modern day Japan where the borders between everyday reality, dreams and imagination are constantly crossed," according to Steppenwolf. "In this world premiere adaptation of the popular novel, encounter talking cats on the streets of Tokyo, World War II soldiers trapped in time, Colonel Sanders and Johnnie Walker. Experience the unexpected in this fantastical tale about waking up to your own life."

Tony Award winner Galati (The Grapes of Wrath) adapted and directed Haruki Murakami's after the quake during Steppenwolf's 2005-2006 season. That critically acclaimed production went on to successful runs at Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Rep. Murakami, author of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" and other novels, is an award-winning writer whose work has been translated into 34 languages.

Kafka on the Shore's design team includes James Schuette (sets), Mara Blumenfeld (costumes), James F. Ingalls (lights), Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman (original music and sound) and Joe Dempsey (fight choreography). Malcolm Ewen is the stage manager, and Lauren V. Hickman is the assistant stage manager.

Kafka on the Shore was developed as part of Steppenwolf's New Plays Initiative. For more information call (312) 335-1650 or visit *

Steppenwolf, recognized as a national leader in the development and production of new work for the American canon, maintains ongoing relationships with writers of international prominence "and rigorously discovers and supports the work of early and mid-career playwrights."

The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, "is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of 41 artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation."

Frank Galati and Jon Michael Hill in rehearsal
Frank Galati and Jon Michael Hill in rehearsal Photo by Mark Campbell
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