FAMILIAR By Danai Gurira Gets Chicago Premiere At Steppenwolf
Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the Chicago premiere production of Familiar written by Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead, Black Panther, Broadway's Eclipsed) and directed by Danya Taymor, who helmed Steppenwolf's powerful 2017 production of Pass Over. As previously announced, this fiercely funny production features ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper (Nyasha) and Ora Jones (Marvelous Chinyaramwira), who appeared together in Steppenwolf's The Doppelgänger (an international farce) last season. Rounding out the cast are Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Anne), Erik Hellman (Chris), Lanise Antoine Shelley, (Tendikayi), Luigi Sottile (Brad), Jacqueline Williams (Margaret Munyewa) and Cedric Young (Donald Chinyaramwira).
Familiar begins previews on November 15, 2018, opening is November 26 at 7pm and the production runs through January 13, 2019 in the Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Press performances are Monday, November 26 at 7pm and Wed, November 28 at 7:30pm.Single tickets ($20-$109) are now on sale through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
It's winter in Minnesota, and a Zimbabwean-American family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter. When an unexpected guest arrives and the bride surprises the family by insisting on a traditional African ceremony, pre-wedding stress explodes into a full-on family feud. Fiercely funny, fast-paced and filled with love, Familiar is a brilliant portrayal of a tight-knit family searching to preserve their past while building a new future.
Danai Gurira is an award-winning playwright and actress. As a playwright, her works include In the Continuum (OBIE Award, Outer Critics Award, Helen Hayes Award), Eclipsed (Tony Award Nomination: Best Play; NAACP Award; Helen Hayes Award: Best New Play; Connecticut Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Production of a Play), and The Convert (six Ovation Awards, Los Angeles Outer Critics Award). Her newest play, Familiar, received its world premiere at Yale Rep in 2015, and premiered in New York at Playwrights Horizons in February of 2016. She is a recipient of the Sam Norkin Award at the 2016 Drama Desk Awards, a Whiting Award, a Hodder Fellow, and has been commissioned by Yale Rep, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons, and the Royal Court.
As an actor, Danai Gurira was most recently seen in Marvel's blockbuster phenomenon Black Panther as "General Okoye" and reprised the role in another blockbuster sensation Avengers: Infinity War in April 2018. Gurira currently starts as "Michonne" on AMC's The Walking Dead (NAACP Image Award nomination). Other select acting credits include the films All Eyez on Me (NAACP Image Award nomination), The Visitor, Mother of George and the NYS&F's Measure for Measure (Equity Callaway Award.) Gurira is currently adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book Americanah into a miniseries.
Born in the US to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe, Danai Gurira holds an M.F.A. from Tisch, NYU and serves as an ambassador for Bono's ONE campaign. She is also the founder of LOGpledge.org, an awareness-building campaign focused on the plights of women and girls around the globe; and the co-founder of Almasi Arts, which works to give access and opportunity to the African Dramatic Artist. almasiartsalliance.org. Twitter/Instagram: @danaigurira. Facebook: @DanaiGuriraOfficial.
Danya Taymor is a director and translator. Taymor directed both the Steppenwolf and Lincoln Center productions of Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over. She stage directed Spike Lee's production of Pass Over for Amazon Prime. 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 The Sensuality Party (The New Group), Christina Martinez (Juilliard), Cygnus (Women's Project), I Hate Fucking Mexicans, My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer and The Place We Built (The Flea), among others.
Familiar production team features Kristen Robinson (Scenic Design); Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene (Costume Design); Marcus Doshi (Lighting Design); Justin Ellington (Sound Design); Gigi Buffington (Company Vocal & Text Coach); Malcolm Ewen (Production Stage Manager); Mary Hungerford (Asst. Stage Manager); JC Clementz (Casting Director) and Hallie Gordon (Artistic Producer).