CHICAGO: Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced programming for Steppenwolf NOW, the company’s first-ever virtual stage, which will feature content created specifically for the digital platform. Steppenwolf NOW will be made available globally through virtual memberships, which will be available for purchase later this month. Accompanying this announcement is the decision to postpone the previously schedule production of Good Night, and Good Luck, which had been set to run in December, to a future season. The rest of Steppenwolf’s in-person ‘Reset’ season remains in place.
“While we are heartbroken to delay our first live production of the 2020-21 season, our commitment to continue creative ways of storytelling has deepened,” said artistic director Anna D. Shapiro in a statement. “We are investing even more in our virtual work and six astonishing projects that will bring meaning and joy into the homes of our audiences, the people of our city and our growing number of friends worldwide. More than ever, we seek to uplift our community through the shared experience of storytelling. The Steppenwolf NOW lineup is a true manifestation of who we are—a celebration of artists sharing courageous, challenging, and at times deeply personal stories. We share a collective belief that it’s critical to make space for creation and connection during this time of societal separation.”
The virtual season will open with What Is Left, Burns (streaming in November) by James Ijames, about a video call between two poets who, after 15 years, attempt to wade through a connection they once had and the desires that still bind them. Whitney White will direct.
Next up will be Wally World (streaming December), by Isaac Gómez. Gómez and Lili-Anne Brown will direct this play about Wally World employees and the secrets that come out and threaten to destroy the holiday cheer on Christmas Eve.
Following will be Rajiv Joseph‘s Red Folder (streaming January 2021), about a red folder belonging to a first grader that will, years later, lead him to seek vengeance. Joseph will direct.
The season will continue with Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! (streaming February 2021), by Vivian J.O. Barnes, which looks at hidden costs behind a royal wedding as a soon-to-be-duchess learns the rules and what happens if you step out of line.
Next will be Where We Stand (streaming April 2021), by Donnetta Lavinia Grays. Tamilla Woodard will direct this story about a man shunned by his community who, after making a deal with a mysterious stranger, must stand before them and ask for forgiveness as they determine his fate.
The virtual season will conclude with Sam Shepard‘s Ages of the Moon (streaming June 2021), about two reunited friends who sit, reflect, and bicker about 50 years of love, friendship, and their rivalry.
Additionally, Steppenwolf for Young Adults will offer its first radio play, an original production of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which will be available for free streaming for teachers and students around the world. Adapted for radio by Steve Pickering from the stage adaptation by Althos Low and directed by Lili-Anne Brown, the radio play will stream Oct. 19-Nov. 20, 2020.
“This moment reinforces that old adage that out of limitation comes creativity,” said executive director E. Brook Flanagan in a statement. “This moment of disruption for our industry has led Steppenwolf’s artistic and education teams to break the mold of theatrical form and evolve the ways in which we are connecting with audiences and serving students. This expansion of service through artistic excellence will continue when we open our expanded campus, still under construction through this time of forced closure, featuring a new state-of-the-art theater in the round and education loft.”
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