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Tracy Letts and Carrie Coon in "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2010. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Steppenwolf Season to Feature Carrie Coon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo Play

The 2019-20 slate at the Chicago theatre will include a revival of Tracy Letts’s ‘Bug’ starring Coon, plus a new Rajiv Joseph play about LeBron James.

CHICAGO: The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced its 2019-20 season, which will include seven mainstage shows and two Steppenwolf for Young Adults productions.

“The 2019-20 Season reflects our collective commitment to create more stories for more of us and is sure to stoke novel conversation and broaden our appreciation of the everyday and the extraordinary,” said artistic director Anna D. Shapiro in a statement. “Whether it makes you laugh, cry or even ache, you will feel a little bit richer for having been a part of it.”

The season will open with The Great Leap by Lauren Yee (Sept. 5-Oct. 20). The play is about a U.S. basketball team that travels to Beijing. Jesca Prudencio will direct.

Next will be Lindiwe, a new play with music by Steppenwolf ensemble member Eric Simonson, featuring music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Nov. 7-Dec. 29). Lindiwe promises to be a love story that travels from Chicago to South Africa. The production will be directed by Simonson and ensemble member Jonathan Berry.

Following will be Dance Nation by Clare Barron (Dec. 12, 2019-Jan. 26, 2020), about a preteen dance troupe navigating friendship and competition. Lee Sunday Evans will direct and choreograph, and the cast will feature ensemble members Audrey Francis, Caroline Neff, and Karen Rodriguez.

Then ensemble members Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood will appear in a revival of Bug by Tracy Letts (Jan. 23-March 8, 2020). The play takes place in a seedy Oklahoma motel room, where a lonely waitress begins an unexpected love affair with a young drifter, and then the bugs arrive.

Steppenwolf will next produce the Chicago premiere of The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington by James Ijames (April 2-May 17). The piece follows First Lady Martha Washington as she lies on her deathbed, surrounded by her slaves who will be free when she dies.

Next will be the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s newest play, King James (May 7-June 21), about LeBron James’s effect on the famed basketball player’s hometown of Cleveland. Anna D. Shapiro will direct, and the production will feature ensemble member Glenn Davis. Joseph is a 2010 Pulitzer finalist for his play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

The final mainstage production of the season will be the Windy City premiere of Catch as Catch Can by Mia Chung (June 4-July 26). The play, which follows two families going through a crisis, features three actors in six roles and will be directed by Ken Rus Schmoll and feature ensemble member Audrey Francis.

For the Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ season, the first staging will be The Brothers Size by Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) (Oct. 2-19, 2018). The piece is about the complex bonds of brotherhood. Monty Cole will direct. Steppenwolf previously produced the play in 2010.

The second Steppenwolf for Young Adults production will be the world premiere of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, based on the book by Erika L. Sánchez, and adapted by Isaac Gomez (Feb. 26-March 21, 2020). The play centers around a Chicago high schooler as she tries to recover from the death of her older sister and tries to be a writer. Following its four-week run at Steppenwolf, the play will tour three juvenile justice facilities in Illinois.

Steppenwolf is an ensemble theatre company formed in 1976 that contains an ensemble of 49 actors, directors, and playwrights. Its productions have gone on to Broadway, and the organization has received 12 Tony Awards.

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