Photo Flash: In Rehearsal for Steppenwolf's Joan Allen-Led THE WHEEL, Begin. 9/12

By: Aug. 28, 2013

Rehearsals recently began at Steppenwolf Theatre Company for the American premiere of The Wheel by Zinnie Harris. Ensemble member Tina Landau directs Harris's epic, a work of magic realism chronicling the trials of Beatriz as she attempts to reunite a young girl with her father in nineteenth-century Spain. Landau's cast of 17 features ensemble members Joan Allen (in her first appearance on stage at Steppenwolf since 1991), Robert Breuler, Tim Hopper, Ora Jones and Yasen Peyankov. The National Theatre of Scotland commissioned and produced the world premiere of The Wheel in 2011.The Wheel begins previews September 12, 2013, with an opening night officially set for September 22. The Wheel runs through November 10 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 - $82) go on sale tomorrow, August 9 at 11am. Check out a first look at Allen and the cast in rehearsal below!

On a nineteenth-century Spanish farm, Beatriz (Allen) is happily preparing for her sister's wedding when the house is overrun by soldiers. In the chaos, she becomes the unintentional guardian of a young girl. Her determination to reunite the child with her father sweeps Beatriz along on a journey across war zones and through time. But what began as a simple act of kindness takes on a strange twist when the girl seems to acquire curious powers. The Wheel is a spellbinding story of what happens to hope and human nature in times of war.

"The landscape of The Wheel is perfect for Tina: the mystery of its changing setting, the magic of its images, and the epic sweep of its story fit Tina's own artistry in the powerful vocabulary of the theater," notes Artistic Director Martha Lavey. "With an ensemble cast of 17 actors, a rich soundscape and a striking visual world, The Wheel is a complex and surprising journey."

The cast of The Wheel features ensemble members Joan Allen as Beatriz; Robert Breuler as Clement; Tim Hopper as Colline; Jaques and Glennister; Ora Jones as Madame and Hanna; and Yasen Peyankov as Sargento and Jozka; with Kareem Bandealy as Moreno and Farshad; La Shawn Banks as Pedro and Hancock; Chaon Cross as Rosa; Emma Gordon as The Girl; Mark L. Montgomery as Rossignol; Erin Oechsel as Ensemble; Stephenie Park as Thi and Blandine; Daniel Pass as The Boy; Edgar Miguel Sanchez as Ensemble; Scott Stangland as Juan and Pierre; Demetrios Troy as Tomas and Xuan; andMatthew Yee as Ensemble.

The production team for The Wheel includes: Blythe R.D. Quinlan (scenic design), Ana Kuzmanic (costume design), Scott Zielinski (lighting design), Kevin O'Donnell (sound design), Stephan Mazurek (projection design), Matt Hawkins (fight choreography) and Dennis Watkins (magic consultant). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting), Deb Styer (stage manager), Kathleen Petroziello (assistant stage manager, September 12 - September 16) and Cassie Wolgamott (assistant stage manager, September 17 - November 10).

Tickets to The Wheel ($20 - $82) go on sale Friday, August 9 at 11am through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). 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. For additional student discounts, visit Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit

Photos by: Thomas Weitz