Photo Flash: First Look at THE ROOMMATE at Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the Chicago premiere production of The Roommate by Jen Silverman, directed by Tony Award Winner Phylicia Rashad. A unique story that expresses how early-life choices can lead to mid-life challenges and the humorous, touching and unexpected rewards of bridging the divide, the Steppenwolf production will feature ensemble members Ora Jones as Robyn and Sandra Marquez as Sharon. Get a first look below!

The Roommate began previews June 21, 2018 and the production runs through August 5, 2018 in the Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Press performances are Sunday, July 1 at 6pm and Tuesday, July 3 at 7:30pm; opening night is Sunday, July 1. Single tickets ($20-$93) are currently on-sale through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

Sharon is Midwestern nice. But to Robyn, her new roommate from the Bronx, that just means very nosy and very, very talkative. A comical mismatch leads to a surprising and touching friendship in this new comedy about how early-life choices lead to mid-life challenges and the unexpected rewards of bridging the divide. The Roommate is a warm, funny story about a chance cohabitation that sets two lives spinning. Think The Odd Couple meets Breaking Bad.

Jen Silverman's The Roommate premiered at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville in 2015 and has received subsequent productions at South Coast Rep, Williamstown and SF Playhouse. Additional work includes The Moors, Phoebe in Winter, The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane (Barrymore Award) and Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops (Woolly Mammoth). She is a member of New Dramatists, and has developed work with the O'Neill, New York Theatre Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Berkeley Rep and the Royal Court in London. A recipient of the Helen Merrill and Yale Drama Series Awards, she's also a two-time MacDowell Fellow and 16/17 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark.

Phylicia Rashad (director), one of the entertainment world's most extraordinary performing artists, has been bringing laughter to millions of television viewers around the world, Moving Theatre-goers to tears, thrilling movie fans, offering new insights to students by teaching at renowned learning institutions such as Howard University and Julliard, and breaking new ground as a director.

Phylicia Rashad's directing credits include August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Joe Turner's Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (2014 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director) and Fences at the Long Wharf Theatre and the McCarter Theatre. This spring Ms. Rashad makes her NYC stage directing debut with the comedy Our Lady of 121st Street, running off-Broadway from May 1 to June 10.

Ms. Rashad received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her riveting performance in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun. She received the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for her performance in Steppenwolf ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes at The Public Theater, which played at the Mark Taper Forum this fall. She has performed on Broadway in Steppenwolf's production of ensemble member Tracy Letts's August: Osage County; Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (a role that she reprised on the London Stage), August Wilson's Gem Of The Ocean, (Tony Award nomination) and Cymbeline at Lincoln Center.

Well-known to television audiences for her groundbreaking role of attorney Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, her recent film credits include Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls and the 2015 Rocky spin-off and sequel Creed, and she currently has a featured guest-starring role in Empire.

Ora Jones (Robyn) is a Steppenwolf ensemble member and was recently seen in Studio Theatre's production of Curve of Departure and on Broadway last season as Madame de Volanges in Les Liaisons Dangerueses at the Booth Theatre in New York. She also appeared as Mrs. Phelps in Matilda the Musical, both at the Shubert Theatre in New York, and in the first National tour. At Steppenwolf she is in the upcoming production of The Doppelgänger (an international farce) and appeared in The Wheel, Three Sisters, Middletown, The Brother/Sister Plays, The Unmentionables, The Violet Hour, The Crucible, Carter's Way and Morning Star. Some favorite Chicago roles include Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII, Queen Charlotte in The Madness of George III, Maria in Twelfth Night, Lucienne in A Flea in Her Ear and Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor for Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Mrs. Rittenhouse in Animal Crackers, Claire in Proof, Mrs. Fezziwig and Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, Madeleine Beck in Boy Gets Girl and Elizabeth I in The Beard of Avon for Goodman Theatre; Jaclyn in Rasheeda Speaks for Rivendel Theatre; Rita Jeffries in My Kind of Town for Timeline Theatre; the Stage Manager in Our Town for Writers Theatre; Gwen in Execution of Justice for About Face Theatre; Bird/Turtle in A Year With Frog and Toad for Chicago Children's Theatre. Regional and other New York credits include performances at Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory, Manhattan Theatre Club, Public Theatre, Weston Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory and Next Act. Film and television appearances include Chicago Fire, Betrayal, Consumed, Were the World Mine and Stranger than Fiction.

Sandra Marquez (Sharon) joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in spring 2016 and is in the upcoming Steppenwolf production of The Doppelgänger (an international farce). She recently appeared in the Steppenwolf productions of Mary Page Marlowe and The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Other credits at Steppenwolf include A Streetcar Named Desire, Sonia Flew, and One Arm. At Teatro Vista, where she is a longtime company member, she directed Fade, My Mañana Comes, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and Our Lady of the Underpass and has acted in numerous productions, including A View from the Bridge for which she received a Jeff Award. Last fall she completed a three-year arc playing Clytemnestra in what was billed as Court Theater's Iphigenia Cycle (Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra and Agamemnon). Film and television credits include Boss, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice and Timer. Marquez is on the theater faculty at Northwestern University.

The Roommate production team includes John Iacovelli (scenic design), Samantha C. Jones (costume design), Xavier Pierce (lighting design) and Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design). Additional credits include Laura Glenn (stage manager), Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director) and Hallie Gordon (artistic producer).

Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

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