Rebecca Gilman's Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Adaptation Opens at Chicago's Steppenwolf Oct. 16

News   Rebecca Gilman's Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Adaptation Opens at Chicago's Steppenwolf Oct. 16
The Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, adapted by Rebecca Gilman, based on the Carson McCullers novel about outsiders, opens in Chicago Oct. 16 following previews from Oct. 11. Hallie Gordon directs.

Robert Schleifer and Jessica Honor Carleton
Robert Schleifer and Jessica Honor Carleton Photo by Michael Brosilow

Performances play to Nov. 4 in Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. The production features ensemble member Alan Wilder with Jessica Honor Carleton, Derrick C. Cooper, Walter Coppage, Ann Joseph, Loren Lazerine, Colm O'Reilly, Jay Reed, Robert Schleifer and Nick Vidal.

Weekday matinees (Tuesdays through Fridays) are reserved for school groups only, with weekend (Saturday and Sunday) performances available to the public. Single tickets and tickets for school groups are currently on sale.

According to Steppenwolf notes, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter follows John Singer, a deaf man who resides in a local boarding house, and four other vivid but desperately lonesome residents in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Mick Kelly, a 14-year-old tomboy who dreams of becoming a concert pianist; Benedict Copeland, the town's only black doctor; Jake Blount, a drunken political activist; and Biff Brannon, a recent widower and owner of the town's diner and bar. As each finds solace in Singer's ability to listen, they all unintentionally overlook their confidant's profound isolation in this timeless tale woven from the lives of ordinary people."

Gilman's plays include A True History of the Johnstown Flood, Boy Gets Girl, Spinning Into Butter, Blue Surge, Dollhouse, The Glory of Living, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball and The Crowd You're in With. Her plays have received numerous productions at regional theatres and abroad, including productions at the Goodman Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, the Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, and Manhattan Class Company.

McCullers wrote "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" at the age of 23. She is "best known for her unflinching exploration of human isolation," according to Steppenwolf. She is the author of four novels, two plays, a host of essays and short fiction as well as an unfinished autobiography, published more than 30 years after her death. The production team for The Heart is Lonely Hunter includes Collette Pollard (sets), Myron Elliott (costumes), J.R. Lederle (lights), Christopher Kriz (sound), Mike Tutaj (projections) and Matt Engle (fight choreography). Additional credits include Erica Daniels (casting) and Rose Marie Packer (stage manager).

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was originally commissioned and developed by The Acting Company in New York City.

For more information, visit For information on Steppenwolf for Young Adult weekday school performances, contact the SYA education assistant Lauren Sivak at (312) 654-5643.


Steppenwolf for Young Adults' unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. SYA creates two full-scale professional productions each season specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, SYA annually ensures access to the theatre for more than 15,000 participants from Chicago's diverse communities. The initiative aalso includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in more than 30 classrooms in 14 public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theatre's operations.

Ann Joseph, Robert Schleifer and Jay Reed
Ann Joseph, Robert Schleifer and Jay Reed Photo by Michael Brosilow
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