The Steppenwolf Theatre Company Studio season kicks off on Oct. 8 with performance artist Heather Woodbury's one-person, marathon creation, What Ever: An American Odyssey in 8 Acts. The eight-hour piece is familiar to Off Off-Broadway audiences who have caught Woodbury's act as it has evolved over the years. In the play, Woodbury weaves a complicated, cross-country Dickensian yarn featuring ten major characters and 90 supporting players.
The Steppenwolf production will be divided into four evenings, each two acts long. Theatregoers are invited to attend one or all of the segments. What Ever is directed by Dudley Saunders and runs Oct. 8-Nov. 1. There are no previews.
Jon Robin Baitz's Mizlansky/Zilinsky, or Schmucks will then have its Midwest premiere at the Studio space. The production will take place in spring 1999, with specific dates to come. No director or actors have been announced.
Mizlansky enjoyed an extended run at New York's Manhattan Theatre Club this past winter. The Joe Mantello-directed production starred Nathan Lane and Lewis J. Stadlen as a pair of outmoded Hollywood hustlers trying to piece together one last get-rich-quick scheme. Steppenwolf produced Baitz's A Fair Country during its 1996-97 season.
The American premiere of Phyllis Nagy's Disappeared rounds out the Studio season. The play, which is presented in association with Chicago troupe Roadworks Productions, follows Sarah Casey, a young New York travel agent who suddenly vanishes from a seedy Manhattan saloon. In her search for answers, Nagy leads the audience through a grim series of Manhattan locales. Roadworks ensemble member Abigail Deser will direct Disappeared, which plays Feb. 3-29, 1999.
For information on these shows, call (312) 335-1888.
-- By Robert Simonson and Sean McGrath