Cast Announced for DESCRIBE THE NIGHT Chicago Premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre

This thrilling mystery buried by years of history, fiction and conflict will play March 2 – April 9, 2023.

By: Dec. 20, 2022
Cast Announced for DESCRIBE THE NIGHT Chicago Premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre

Steppenwolf Theatre Company will continue its 47th season with ensemble member Rajiv Joseph's Chicago premiere of Describe the Night, directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton. This thrilling mystery buried by years of history, fiction and conflict will play March 2 - April 9, 2023 in Steppenwolf's stunning new in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, the centerpiece of its recently unveiled Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, 1646 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. The press opening is Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 6 pm.

Describe the Night will feature ensemble members Glenn Davis, James Vincent Meredith, Sally Murphy, Caroline Neff, Yasen Peyankov and Karen Rodriguez with Jack Cain and Jon Hudson Odom.

Truth is lie; lie is truth. 1920: Jewish writer Isaac Babel begins a journal while serving in war. Ninety years later, this same journal is found in the wreckage of a suspicious plane crash. What did Babel write, and why does it matter? Ensemble member Rajiv Joseph's epic thriller ricochets through place and time following the unlikely lives of seven individuals - soldiers and poets, KGB agents and babushkas - as they unearth mysteries buried by decades of history, fiction and blood.

Single tickets for Describe the Night starting at $20 are now on sale at and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.

Steppenwolf 2022-23 Flex Memberships are currently on sale: Black Card Memberships with six tickets for use any time for any production, and Red Card Memberships for theatergoers under 30.

Performance Details:

Describe the Night

By ensemble member Rajiv Joseph

Directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton

Featuring ensemble members Glenn Davis (Vova), James Vincent Meredith (Isaac, March 2 - 24 & April 2 - 9), Sally Murphy (Yevgenia), Caroline Neff (Mariya/Mrs. Petrovna), Yasen Peyankov (Nikolai) and Karen Rodriguez (Urzula) with Jack Cain (Feliks) and Jon Hudson Odom (Isaac, March 25 - April 1).

In Steppenwolf's Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, 1646 N. Halsted St., Chicago

March 2 - April 9, 2023

Press opening: Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 6 pm

The creative team includes Collette Pollard (Scenic Designer), Raquel Adorno (Costume Designer), Keith Parham (Lighting Designer), Pornchanok Kanchanabanca (Sound Designer), Gigi Buffington (Company Voice and Text Coach), Tom Pearl (Producing Director), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Christine D. Freeburg (Production Stage Manager) and Kathleen Barrett (Assistant Stage Manager).

Artist Biographies:

Rajiv Joseph

(Playwright) is a Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member. His play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 for Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play), and again in 2018 for Describe the Night. Other plays include King James, which recently had its world premiere at Steppenwolf, Letters of Suresh, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The North Pool, The Lake Effect, Archduke and Mr. Wolf. He is a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio. He received his Bachelor's degree from Miami University in Ohio, and his MFA from New York University's Tisch School for the Arts.

Austin Pendleton

(Director) began working with Steppenwolf in 1979, when he directed the Ensemble in Say Goodnight, Gracie by Ralph Pape. After that, he returned to direct Loose Ends (by Michael Weller), Three Sisters and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Then he was cast opposite Laurie Metcalf in Educating Rita, directed by Jeff Perry, and on the first day of rehearsal for that was asked to join the Ensemble officially. Since then, he has acted and directed at Steppenwolf frequently, and most recently acted on Broadway in the Steppenwolf-originated The Minutes, by Tracy Letts, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. He has acted over the years in several Broadway shows (the first being the original production of Fiddler on the Roof, in which he was the first Motel, the Tailor), and many off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows. He has also directed in these venues, winning a Tony nomination for The Little Foxes (with Elizabeth Taylor) and an Obie Award for Three Sisters (with Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal). He's appeared in about 300 movies, and on TV in recurring roles in Oz and Homicide. He has written three plays: Orson's Shadow (which started at Steppenwolf, directed by David Cromer, that moved to off-Broadway and ran for a little under a year); Uncle Bob (the second production of the play, after its New York premiere); and Booth, which, after its New York premiere played at Writers' Theatre in Glencoe. He was also commissioned by Writers' Theatre to write the libretto for A Minister's Wife, a musical adapted from Shaw's Candida, with music by Josh Schmidt and lyrics by Jan Tranen, conceived and directed by Michael Halberstam, which then moved to the Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center, in New York. All these works are published and have been frequently produced around the country, and, in the case of Orson's Shadow, in London, and in the case of Uncle Bob, in Paris, translated by Jean-Marie Besset.