Steppenwolf's THE HERD Begins Tonight in Chicago

Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the U.S. premiere production of The Herd, a deftly comic play by Rory Kinnear. Directed by ensemble member and Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati, the cast features ensemble members Francis Guinan, John Mahoney, Molly Regan and Lois Smith with Cliff Chamberlain and Audrey Francis. The Herd premiered at London's Bush Theatre in 2013. The Herd begins previews tonight, April 2, 2015 (Opening night is April 12, 2015; Press performances are April 11 at 3pm and April 14 at 7:30pm) and runs through June 7, 2015 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

It's Andy's 21st birthday and preparations for the party are under way. But Andy and his caregiver are running late. As his family gathers, two unexpected guests appear, straining the delicate family dynamic. With a deft comic touch, The Herd introduces us to a suburban English family who have had to re-organize themselves around the extraordinary needs of one of their own, bringing to light the challenges of reconciliation, the power of shared memories and the irresistible pull of family.

Francis Guinan has appeared in more than 30 Steppenwolf productions, most recently The Night Alive, Tribes and The Birthday Party. Molly Regan, who won a Joseph Jefferson Award for her performance in Steppenwolf's Another Time, returns after appearing in Tribes last season. John Mahoney has been an ensemble member since 1979 and most recently performed in The Birthday Party and The Seafarer. Lois Smith, who received Tony nominations for Steppenwolf's The Grapes of Wrath and Buried Child, returns to perform alongside her longtime fellow ensemble members. Cliff Chamberlain is a regular on the Steppenwolf stage where he was last seen in Belleville. Audrey Francis makes her mainstage debut, having previously performed in the Steppenwolf Garage.

The Herd is the debut play from Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear. Of the Bush Theatre production, The Guardian raved "Rory Kinnear seems unfairly talented." As an actor, Kinnear is well-known for his role as Bill Tanner in the James Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, and on stage for Hamlet, Othello and The Man of Mode at the National Theatre in London. Acclaimed director, writer, actor and longtime ensemble member Frank Galati will direct. Galati won two Tony Awards for his adaptation and direction of Steppenwolf's production of The Grapes of Wrath on Broadway and most recently directed The March at Steppenwolf in 2012.

The production team includes Walt Spangler (scenic design), Nan Cibula-Jenkins (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), Josh Schmidt (sound and composition) and Eva Breneman (dialect coach). Additional credits include Erica Daniels (casting), Malcolm Ewen (stage manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager).

Tickets ($20-$82) are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted), at 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America's longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces-the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 44 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and two repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, and Garage Rep. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and 12 Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Managing Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf's Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

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