Danya Taymor to Direct World Premiere of PASS OVER at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Danya Taymor to Direct World Premiere of PASS OVER at Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced accomplished director Danya Taymor will direct Steppenwolf's world premiere production of Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu.

A bold, incendiary riff on Waiting for Godot, the complete cast features ensemble member Jon Michael Hill (Moses), Julian Parker (Kitch) and Ryan Hallahan (Mister).

Taymor replaces the originally announced Liesl Tommy as director and Cliff Chamberlain is no longer playing the role of 'Mister'; both Tommy and Chamberlain had unforeseen artistic obligations conflict with the production dates.

Pass Over runs June 1 - July 9, 2017 in the Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Press performances are Saturday, June 10 at 3pm and Tuesday, June 13 at 7:30pm.

Two young black men stand around on the corner-talking shit, killing time and hoping that maybe today will be different. When a white man wanders into their space, an escalating crisis threatens to prevent their escape from the block. In Pass Over, pop culture, historical and religious references collide to create a hilarious and disturbing mediation on manhood, race and the cycle of violence that prevents too many from realizing their full potential.

Playwright Antoinette Nwandu shares, "At its core, this play asks us collectively to consider the value of black lives, specifically the lives of young black men who are not extraordinary, who are not entertainers, they're not athletes, they're not secret math geniuses. They're young men who might never get better, who might never be different. This play challenges us to envision a society that does not ask these young men to prove their worth."

Tickets ($20-$89) are available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org. There will be a limited number of $30 seats for all performances of Pass Over located in the first front two rows of the theatre offering an intimate and exciting view of the show. To purchase the $30 seats, use code "CLOSEUP" online or mention when calling Audience Services at 312-335-1650.


Antoinette Nwandu is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group. Her plays have been produced and developed by Page73, Ars Nova, The Flea and Naked Angels, among others. She is the recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company's Douglas Turner Ward Prize and a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. In spring 2016, Pass Over received a workshop as part of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project under the mentorship of Katori Hall.

Danya Taymor is a director and translator. Her translations include Alejandro Ricaño's We Are Getting Better at Saying Goodbye, Luis Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio's I Hate Fucking Mexicans, and Ettore Scola's Working on a Special Day. She directed Antoinette Nwandu's Flat Sam at PlayPenn in Philadelphia. She is an Artist in Residence at Theatre for a New Audience, a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, an Associate Artist at The Flea Theater, New Georges Affiliated Artist and a semi-finalist for the Lange-Taylor Prize with Dominic Bracco. She is a frequent volunteer at Covenant House, where she teaches a master class in directing twice a year and has taught theater in Ecuador and Slovakia. Her recent work includes Justin Kuritzkes's The Sensuality Party (The New Group), Dan McCabe's ChrisTina Martinez (Juilliard), Susan Soon-He Stanton's Cygnus (Women's Project), I Hate Fucking Mexicans, My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer and Sarah Gancher's The Place We Built (The Flea), Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (Atlantic Stage 2/NYU), Anna Moench's In Quietness at Walker Space (Dutch Kills), Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (Stella Adler) and Lucy Teitler's Engagements (Ensemble Studio Theater), among others.

Jon Michael Hill (Moses) has been a Steppenwolf ensemble member since 2007, and performed in last season's critically acclaimed play, Constellations. Hill currently appears as 'Detective Marcus Bell' in the CBS-TV series, Elementary. He was nominated for a Tony Award and won an Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Award for his role as 'Franco Wicks' in the Broadway production of Superior Donuts by ensemble member Tracy Letts, a role which he originated at Steppenwolf. Hill has also performed at Steppenwolf in The Hot L Baltimore, The Tempest, Kafka on the Shore and The Unmentionables. Additional television and film credits include Detroit 1-8-7, Eastbound and Down, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Person of Interest.

Julian Parker (Kitch) makes his Steppenwolf mainstage debut. He is a co-founding member of Definition Theatre Company and received his BFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Steppenwolf credits include: Gospel of Franklin (First Look Series); BlackTop Sky (Garage Repertory); Head of Passes (understudy) and Charm (presented by Northlight Theater at Steppenwolf). Other credits include: Genesis, Dutchman, and The Brothers' Size (Definition Theatre Company); Hamlet and Julius Caesar (Writers' Theatre); Prowess (Jackalope Theatre); Hairy Ape (Oracle Productions - Jeff Award Recipient for Actor in Principal Role); and The Royale (American Theatre Company). TV credits include: The Chi (Showtime), Chicago PD and Chicago Fire (NBC).

Ryan Hallahan (Mister) returns to Steppenwolf after appearing in this season's critically acclaimed production of Straight White Men. Other recent Chicago credits include Pericles, Short Shakespeare!, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare In The Park: Midsummer, Cyrano De Bergerac (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Real Thing, A Streetcar Named Desire (Writers' Theatre); Octagon (Jackalope Theater); The Body Of An American (Stage Left); Posh (Steep Theatre, Jeff Award Winner- Best Ensemble); A Doll's House (Definition Theatre); as well as work with Strawdog, Metropolis Performing Arts Center, Livewire, and Chicago Dramatists. Television credits include Chicago Fire.

The Pass Over production team includes Wilson Chin (scenic design), Dede M. Ayite (costume design), Marcus Doshi (lighting design) and Ray Nardelli (sound design and original music). Additional credits include Cassie Calderone (stage manager), Kathleen Barrett (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director) and Aaron Carter (artistic producer).

Single tickets ($20-$89) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted), 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org. Note: Pass Over is an additional summer show and not offered as part of the 2016/17 Subscription Season. Previews: $20 - $54 (All tickets $30 from June 29 - July 5). Regular Run: $20 - $89. Prices subject to change.

$30 Tickets: there are a limited number of $30 seats for all performances of Pass Over. Seats are located in the first front two rows of the theatre, offering an intimate and exciting view of the show. To access, enter code "CLOSEUP" online or mention when calling Audience Services at 312-335-1650.

Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.

Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket; steppenwolf.org/students.

Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate, steppenwolf.org/groups.

Black Card Memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility. Cards include six tickets for use any time, for any production including the LookOut Series. The tickets are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts for pre- and post-show socializing. More info at steppenwolf.org/memberships.

Accessible performances include an American Sign Language interpretation on Friday, June 23 at 7:30pm, Open Captioning on Saturday, June 24 at 3pm and a Touch Tour on Sunday June 25 at 1:30pm, Audio-Described performance at 3pm. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/access.

Steppenwolf invites audiences to attend a Networking Night, June 14th, 2017 hosted by Corporate Black/African-American Affinity Groups at the theater. The night includes a pre-show networking reception and artistic discussion followed by a performance of Pass Over.

Pass Over has great relevancy to our current social moment with the recent tragic events both in the City of Chicago and in the nation involving the continued economic, social, and political disparity surrounding race in America. Inspired in part by the young black men Antoinette Nwandu encountered as a community college teacher, Pass Over asserts the value of the lives of these men by placing them in direct conversation with Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece Waiting for Godot. We are eager to bring this conversation about race, class and opportunity to the audiences at Steppenwolf, broadening the scope of our current artistic conversation. For tickets ($75) and info about this Networking Night, contact Max Lando at mlando@steppenwolf.org (312) 654-5697.

Steppenwolf's 2016/17 Season opened with the world premiere of Visiting Edna by David Rabe, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro (ended November 6), followed by the world premiere of Erika Sheffer's The Fundamentals (ended December 31, 2016), and the Chicago premiere of Straight White Men, written and directed by Young Jean Lee (ended March 26, 2017). Now playing is the world premiere of Linda Vista by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard (March 30 - May 21, 2017). After Pass Over, the final show of the season is the Chicago premiere of Hir by Taylor Mac, directed by Hallie Gordon (June 29 - August 20, 2017).

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation's premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble has grown to 48 members who represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County-and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards-have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago's diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf's Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.

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