Photo Flash: In Rehearsal for Steppenwolf for Young Adults' Chicago Premiere of LEVELING UP, Beg. Tonight

When the game turns deadly, how will you play? Steppenwolf for Young Adults' 2013/14 season explores that question in Deborah Zoe Laufer's Millennial coming-of-age drama, Leveling Up. Hallie Gordon helms the production in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, featuring Carolyn Braver, Jerry MacKinnon, Clancy McCartney and JJ Phillips. Leveling Up runs today, February 26 - March 15, 2014. Performances at 10am are reserved for school groups only; public performances are scheduled March 1 at 11am and March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30pm. Scroll down for an exclusive look into the rehearsal process!

Three twenty-something roommates are glued to their video games. They are masters of the virtual worlds behind the computer screens in their Las Vegas basement. When one of them uses his gaming skills to land a job with the National Security Agency launching actual drones and missiles, online battles begin to have real consequences. Leveling Up is a fresh, contemporary look at how we navigate the blurry line between worlds both virtual and real and learn to live with the choices that we make.

"This season we investigate one new and one classic play in which young people navigate tricky moral landscapes in games both virtual and real," comments Artistic and Educational Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults Hallie Gordon. "Through Lord of the Flies this fall and Leveling Up in the spring, we examine what it means to grow up and take responsibility for our actions and their sometimes devastating consequences. Building on the themes of last year's Now Is The Time initiative, aimed at empowering youth to take action against violence and intolerance in their communities, we ask the question: when the game turns deadly, how will you play?"

The cast of Leveling Up features Carolyn Braver as Jeannie; Jerry MacKinnon as Chuck; Clancy McCartney as Ian; and JJ Phillips as Zander.

The production team for Leveling Up includes: Brian Sidney Bembridge (scenic and costume design), JR Lederle (lighting design),Rick Sims (sound design) and Anna Henson (projection design). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting) Ryan Bourque (fight coordinator) and Jonathan Nook (stage manager).

Tickets to public performances of Leveling Up ($20) are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Tickets to the performances on Saturday, March 1 and Friday, March 7 are 2-for-1.

Photo Credit: Joel Moorman

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