Mojo, winner of the 1995 London Olivier Award for best new comedy, opens at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company Dec. 8.
This mainstage production, directed by Ian Rickson, will feature Rob Campbell, Evan Handler I Hate Hamlet, Time On Fire), Risteard Cooper, Adam Joyce, Martin McClendon and Michael Shannon.
Jez Butterworth's Mojo examines the violent and funny world of the London music business at the time of rock 'n' roll's birth. American pop culture held sway back then, with its glamorized movies, gangsters and rock heroes. The piece has been described as a non-musical British Guys and Dolls.
Director Rickson is an associate director at London's Royal Court Theatre, where the show was previously staged. "[It's] a wonderful actors' ensemble piece," Rickson was quoted as saying, "and it's here that the logical fusion with Steppenwolf begins. If any theatre company in America should produce this play, it should be this one, with their empowerment of the actors and their profile as visceral, progressive and exciting."
Butterworth was 26 when he wrote Mojo, which received both the George Devine and Evening Standard Award for most promising playwright, the Writers' Guild Award for Best Newcomer, and the Critics' Circle Award for best new writer. Under commission for a new Royal Court mainstage play, Butterworth is also readying the script for the film version of Mojo. Mojo features sets and costumes by original designer Ultz [sic], and lighting by Steppenwolf's resident designer, Kevin Rigdon. And what would a Chicago show be without a fight choreographer? Here, it's Dexter Bullard.
The second play of Steppenwolf's 21st season, Mojo began previews Nov. 27 and runs to Jan. 19, 1997. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, there'll be a sign language-interpreted performance; on Thursday, Jan. 16, there'll be an audio-described performance. A free pre-show "playtalk" will occur Jan. 15, led by Leland Roloff, Professor Emeritus of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. For tickets ($31.50-$36.50) and information on Mojo at Steppenwolf Theatre on North Halsted Street, call (312) 335 1650.
--by David Lefkowitz