DESCRIBE THE NIGHT Chicago Premiere to be Presented at Steppenwolf Theatre in March

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

By: Feb. 02, 2023
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DESCRIBE THE NIGHT Chicago Premiere to be Presented at Steppenwolf Theatre in March

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 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 at 6 pm

Ticket information: Single tickets ($20 - $86) are now on sale at and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.

The creative team includes Collette Pollard (Scenic Design), Raquel Adorno (Costume Design), Keith Parham (Lighting Design), Pornchanok Kanchanabanca (Sound Design), Kristina Fluty (Intimacy Consultant), Silver Fox Wigs (Wig Design), 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). For full cast and creative team bios, visit

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.

The Expanded Steppenwolf Campus

Steppenwolf Theatre Company's trailblazing new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, with construction by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new Arts and Education Center is the new 400-seat in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell-one of its kind in Chicago-with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue.

The expanded Steppenwolf campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, offering bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility, and arts-driven learning for Chicago youth in The Loft, Steppenwolf's first-ever dedicated education space. The campus expansion also features bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The $54 million new building is part of Steppenwolf's multi-phase $73 million Building on Excellence expansion campaign. Learn more about Steppenwolf's campus expansion at

A Safe Return

As the Chicago theatre community continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Steppenwolf Theatre remains committed to the safety of its patrons and staff. For the most up-to-date information on our venue's COVID precautions, please visit


As a commitment to make the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each STC production. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and all our spaces are equipped with an induction hearing loop. Our building features wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, push-button entrances, a courtesy wheelchair and all-gender restrooms, with accessible counter and table spaces at our bars. For additional information regarding accessibility, visit or e-mail

Accessible performance dates for Describe the Night:

Open-captioned: Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, April 8 at 2:30 pm

ASL-interpreted: Friday, March 24 at 7:30 pm

Audio-described and touch tour: Sunday, April 2 at 2:30 pm (1 pm touch tour, 2:30 pm curtain

Mask-required performances: Wednesday, March 15, at 7:30 pm, Wednesday, March 29 at 2 pm and Saturday, April 1 at 2:30 pm

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America's ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church-today Steppenwolf is the nation's premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over-and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards-have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. 2021 marked the opening of Steppenwolf's landmark Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts & Education Center-deepening the company's commitment to Chicagoland teens and serving as a cultural nexus for Chicago. Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis are the Artistic Directors and E. Brooke Flanagan is Executive Director. Keating Crown is Chair of Steppenwolf's Board of Trustees.

Steppenwolf's Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.,, and