CHICAGO: The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced its 2020-21 season, which will culminate in the grand opening of its new building and 400-seat theatre-in-the-round.
“This season marks a milestone that has been years in the making,” said artistic director Anna D. Shapiro in a statement. “In 1976, a small group of intrepid young people took over a church basement in Highland Park and started making plays because they needed, simply, to create. Over the next four decades, this group would grow to include some of the most important theatremakers in the world, let alone the country, and together this ensemble of committed actors, directors, and writers would become a Chicago treasure and help secure our city’s legacy as the North Star of the American theatre. This season—and 45 years after the lights went on in Highland Park—Steppenwolf will open our new building, completing a campus worthy of the artists whose commitment to excellence, truth, and bravery continues to inspire our city.”
The season will open with the world premiere of Good Night, and Good Luck (Oct. 22-Dec. 20), by Matt Charman, based on the screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Shapiro will direct this story of truth, politics, and the fate of the nation in 1953 Washington, D.C.
Following will be the world premiere of Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters (Dec. 3, 2020-Feb. 7, 2021). Developed at Steppenwolf as part of the SCOUT new play series, Bald Sisters is a comedy following a Cambodian American family as they grapple with planning a funeral for the family’s matriarch.
Following will be Barcelona (Jan. 28-March 14), by Bess Wohl. A young woman and a handsome stranger are not the lovers they seem to be in this battle of personal fantasy against national truth, featuring ensemble member Caroline Neff. Trip Cullman will direct.
The season will continue with Last Night and the Night Before (April 1-May 16), by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, about a woman on the run who shows up on her sister’s doorstep with her daughter, throwing off a family’s balance. Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, the play will feature ensemble member Namir Smallwood.
Next up will be ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy (June 10-Aug. 1). Directed by Robert O’Hara, this Tony-nominated play follows Pharus Young, who tries to be the best leader of his school’s prestigious choir while grappling with a world built around rites, rituals, and a pressure to conform.
The season will conclude with Chekhov’s Seagull (July 24-Sept. 12), adapted and translated by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov. Peyankov will direct this world premiere production, featuring an all-Steppenwolf ensemble cast, the first staging in the troupe’s new arena space.
“At its heart, the story of Seagull is deeply meaningful to us—wrestling as it does with generational battles about not just the meaning of art, but its necessity at all,” Shapiro added in a statement. “This plays out within a group of people who love each other more than they don’t, and who need each other more than they know. We are at this seminal moment together—our ensemble and our audiences—we stand on the shoulders of those who brought us here and celebrate those who will lead us into the next 45 years.”
Formed in 1976, Steppenwolf is an ensemble theatre company with productions that have gone on to Broadway, earning the organization 12 Tony Awards.