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Featuring a new soundscape by sound designer Matthew Chapman, the majority of the original cast is returning for the new 90-minute incarnation.


Now streaming in more than 500 cities, 50 states and 20 countries, the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage is continuing to bring Chicago theater to a global audience. Steppenwolf has announced a new offering joining the virtual lineup-the world premiere audio adaptation of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, based on the book by Erika L. Sánchez and adapted for audio from the stage play by acclaimed playwright Isaac Gómez and co-directed by ensemble members Sandra Marquez and Audrey Francis. A Chicago story about family, community and coming together even when that feels impossible, this New York Times bestselling novel is written in the first-person narrative, which translates beautifully into a deeply personal, journal-like audio experience.

Last March 2020, the sold-out Steppenwolf for Young Adults' world premiere stage production of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was cut short due to the pandemic. While the theater had planned to remount the acclaimed production on the mainstage this winter, in light of ongoing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, Isaac Gómez embraced the opportunity to revisit this beloved work in a new audio format for Steppenwolf's global audience.

Featuring a new soundscape by sound designer Matthew Chapman, the majority of the original cast-including ensemble member Karen Rodriguez who awed in the role of Julia Reyes-returns to develop, rehearse and record this exciting new 90-minute incarnation.

"While we cannot ignore our disappointment at not being able to remount the stage production, there is great joy in the opportunity to share this poignant story with our growing global community. Told in first-person narrative, I cannot think of a better work to reimagine as an audio adaptation with protagonist Julia-played by the incomparable Karen Rodriguez-sharing her innermost thoughts directly into the listener's ear," shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro.

Steppenwolf Education continues its remarkable work by bringing this audio experience into classrooms worldwide for FREE paired with interactive educational materials for virtual learning. Streaming begins April 26, 2021 (available for students 8th grade and older). Teachers can register their students now at this link.

The production will be available in Spanish and English closed captions, American Sign Language interpretation and copies of the script in Spanish and English will be easily accessible. A series of free virtual events to help students engage more deeply with this offering will be shared once streaming begins.

"In this new innovative format, our virtual members are brought closer to Steppenwolf's mainstage work and Steppenwolf Education once again delivers an invaluable learning experience for students everywhere," shares Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan.

This past fall Steppenwolf Education's audio production of George Orwell's Animal Farm reached more than 25,000 students across the globe. Since March 2020, Steppenwolf Education has produced dozens of free virtual workshops, which can be accessed

Isaac Gómez is an award-winning Chicago-based playwright, originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. This will be Gómez's fourth experience adapting one of his works to audio this year. In 2018, Steppenwolf presented his critically acclaimed work, La Ruta directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez with an all-female Latinx cast. He is the recipient of the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award and the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award.

Steppenwolf NOW Lineup Updates

The Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage was originally announced with six productions total with the final production to be a live film capture of Ages of Moon. Filming was scheduled to begin in Los Angeles this month; however, with the ongoing health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, especially given the crisis situation in Los Angeles, the production will not be moving forward.

Currently three productions are available on the virtual stage with the remaining three productions to be Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! (streaming begins March 10); Where We Stand (to be released in April 2021): and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (released early Summer 2021). Full lineup & details below.

Get access with a virtual membership, which includes all six productions for $75 total (discounted $50 virtual memberships available to essential workers, artists, students and teachers). Made in Chicago and available to stream anytime, anywhere. More info at Press are welcome to review; email Madeline Long at to RSVP to the virtual stage.

Steppenwolf NOW Virtual Stage Lineup

Productions will be released throughout the year and members are able to stream all Steppenwolf NOW content through August 31, 2021.

What Is Left, Burns


Written by James Ijames

Directed by Whitney White

Featuring ensemble members K. Todd Freeman and Jon Michael Hill

Now Streaming

Run time: 20 minutes

Two poets separated by age and distance engage in a video call rendezvous after fifteen years. Keith, a distinguished poet and professor of literature is moving towards retirement after a recent divorce from his wife. Ronnie, his younger former lover and mentee, has a New York Times bestselling book and a burgeoning career ahead of him. The two men wade through the connection they once had as they struggle with the desires that still bind them.

What Is Left, Burns creative team features Justin Ellington (Sound Design & Original Music), Joel Moorman (Creative Director), Lowell Thomas (Director of Photography & Video Editor), JC Clementz and Leelai Demoz (Artistic Producers), Claire Haupt (Production Manager), JC Clementz (Casting Director, CSA), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

Wally World

By Isaac Gómez
Co-directed by Isaac Gómez and Lili-Anne Brown
Featuring ensemble members Cliff Chamberlain, Audrey Francis, Sandra Marquez and Karen Rodriguez with Danny Bernardo, Sydney Charles, Kevin Curtis, Leslie Sophia Perez, Marvin Quijada and Jacqueline Williams
Now Streaming
Run time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

It's Christmas Eve and a group of Wally World employees are about to lose it. On the one day of the year the mega-department superstore is supposed to close its doors, tensions between co-workers threaten to destroy more than their holiday cheer. Their manager Andy is doing everything in her power to keep her store in line and her employees in check. But can she be everything at once: caring, efficient, protective, firm and kind? Wally World is a festive, poignant examination of finding magic in the mundane, as ten employees do all they can to find purpose in a place that has never seen purpose in them.

Wally World creative team features Aaron Stephenson (Sound Design), Patrick Zakem (Artistic Producer), Claire Haupt (Production Manager), JC Clementz (Casting Director, CSA), Polly Hubbard (Dramaturg), Brenna Barborka (Assistant Dramaturg), Christine D. Freeburg (Production Stage Manager) and Laura D. Glenn (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

Red Folder

By ensemble member Rajiv Joseph
Featuring ensemble member Carrie Coon
Now Streaming
Run time: 10 minutes

The red folder belongs to a first grader. It is the source of all his woes. Years later, he seeks vengeance.

Red Folder creative team features Chris P. Thompson (Original Music), Joel Moorman (Filmed and Edited By), Christopher Huizar (Lead Animation Artist), Joel Moorman & Rudy Schultz (Animation Artists), JC Clementz (Artistic Producer and Casting Director, CSA), Elise Hausken (Production Manager), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!

By Vivian J.O. Barnes

Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Streaming begins March 10, 2021
Run time: 35 minutes

A Royal Wedding is looming. The Duchess and The Soon-to-be-Duchess are meeting face to face for the first time to go over everything you ever needed to know to become a duchess. There are rules. There's a way of doing things. Remember, everybody is watching. And you don't want to know what happens if you step out of line. Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! looks at the hidden costs of being the "luckiest girl in the world."

The Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! creative team includes Pornchanok Kanchanabanca (Sound Design and Original Music), Joel Moorman (Creative Director), Lowell Thomas (Video Editor), Trevor Bowen (Hair & Makeup Consultant), JC Clementz (Artistic Producer and Casting Director, CSA), Claire Haupt (Production Manager), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

Where We Stand

By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Featuring Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Streaming April 2021
Run time: 70 minutes

What does community mean? And what do we owe to one another? When a man who has been shunned by his town makes a deal on behalf of it with a mysterious stranger, he must stand before his community to ask for forgiveness in hopes that they might answer these enduring questions as they determine his fate. Through poetic verse and music, this work challenges our capacity to forgive and our ideas of mercy and who might deserve it.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Based on the novel by Erika L. Sánchez

Audio & Original Stage Adaptation by Isaac Gómez

Co-Directed by ensemble members Sandra Marquez and Audrey Francis

Featuring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez with Charin Alvarez, Eddie Martinez, Peter Moore, Leslie Sophia Perez, Bianca Phipps, Robert Quintanilla and

Harrison Weger

Presented by Steppenwolf for Young Adults

Streaming begins April 26, 2021 for students; Steppenwolf NOW members get access in early summer 2021

Run time: 90 minutes

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a Chicago story about family, community and coming together even when that feels impossible. Julia, a Chicago high school student, navigates the trials and tribulations of following her dreams of becoming a writer alongside the death of her sister, Olga-who might not have been quite as perfect as she seemed. Author of the novel Erika L. Sánchez has created an indelible protagonist in student Julia Reyes, who searches for her truest self while navigating the struggles of adolescence-depression, grief, self-doubt-in addition to the anxieties unique to a child of immigrants with a foot in two very different worlds. Julia is torn between a future limited by the same socioeconomic forces that curtail the opportunities open to her parents and her fervent ambitions to seek a more expansive life for herself as a writer.

Teacher Registration Details - Steppenwolf Education

Students and educators will be able to experience the audio presentation for FREE through Steppenwolf Education. Teacher registration is now open; click here to register. The audio adaptation begins streaming for students on April 26, 2021 to align with the school year. Access is available for grades eight and above, including classroom teachers, youth mentors, leaders of after-school programs for youth, leaders of unschoolers or homeschoolers groups, etc.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter creative team features Matthew Chapman (Sound Design), Kenya Hall (Artistic Producer), Claire Haupt (Production Manager), JC Clementz (Casting Director, CSA), Brenna Barborka (Dramaturg), Michelle Medvin (Production Stage Manager) and Jacqueline Saldana (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

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