The famous ensemble play about denizens of a rundown hotel begins performances March 24. Aziza most recently starred as Paula in Broadway's Women on the Verge. Her Broadway debut in Passing Strange earned her a 2008 Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Her debut single "Days Are Like Dreams" is now available on iTunes. Aziza postponed her March 1 double bill with Justin Guarini at New York's Le Poisson Rouge to join the cast of The Hot L Baltimore.
The Tina Landau-directed production also features ensemble members Alana Arenas, Kate Arrington, Jon Michael Hill (a Tony nominee for Superior Donuts), James Vincent Meredith, Yasen Peyankov and Molly Regan, with Sean Allan Krill, TaRon Patton, Namir Smallwood, Samuel Taylor, Allison Torem and Jacqueline Williams.
Performances continue to May 29 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., in Chicago. Opening is April 3.
Here's how Steppenwolf bills the play: "The Hotel Baltimore used to be the swankiest place in town — now it has a date with the wrecking ball. Eviction notices just went out to its residents, who live on the fringes of society and call the seedy hotel home. This acclaimed play from the author of Balm in Gilead is filled with everyday humanity — unexpectedly intimate and moving. Helmed by visionary director Tina Landau, The Hot L Baltimore reveals the private lives of an unconventional community about to be turned inside out."
Steppenwolf has a rich history with Wilson's work: The defining 1980 production of Balm in Gilead later transferred Off-Broadway. Other plays by the Pulitzer Prize winner seen at Steppenwolf include The Fifth of July, Home Free, his translation of Three Sisters (1985) and Burn This. Landau's Steppenwolf directing credits include The Brother/Sister Plays, Superior Donuts by ensemble member Tracy Letts (also on Broadway), The Tempest, The Diary of Anne Frank, Cherry Orchard, The Time of Your Life, The Berlin Circle and her own play, Space. The production team for The Hot L Baltimore includes James Schuette (sets), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), Scott Zielinski (lights) and Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen (sound and original composition). Deb Styer is the stage manager, and Rose Marie Packer is the assistant stage manager.
For tickets and information, visit www.steppenwolf.org.