Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ

Steppenwolf Theatre Company proudly presents the Chicago premiere production of Guards at the Taj, a stunning tale about the search for beauty in desperate circumstances written by acclaimed playwright Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo). Ensemble member Amy Morton, who directed the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway world premiere, returns to her artistic home to direct Guards at the Taj with original cast members Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur). Metwally and Moayed were last seen on Steppenwolf's stage together in Homebody/Kabul in 2003, which also featured Morton. Guards at the Taj won the Obie Award for "Best New American Play" in 2016.

Guards at the Taj began previews May 31, 2018 and is currently playing through July 22 in the Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). The press performance is Sunday, June 10 at 3pm; opening night is Monday, June 11. Single tickets ($20-$94) are currently on sale through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.

India 1648. The dawn will reveal for the first time the extraordinary beauty of the Taj Mahal, built as a tribute to the ruler's wife, who demanded its construction. But for two hapless imperial guards, the morning light brings with it an impossible task that will shake their faith in God, the empire and their lifelong friendship. This boldly funny and deeply moving play examines the true meaning of beauty and the cost of transcendence in a world that confuses the value of both.

"Rajiv's play is one of such remarkable truth and humor and beauty, that when we first read it in the Artistic Office, we knew, immediately, that we had to have it on our season. It is our incredible good fortune that Amy Morton returns to direct the piece, after the initial success of The Atlantic Theater production. To be able to welcome back to our stage Arian and Omar, recreating their originating performances, feels almost like an embarrassment of riches," shares artistic producer Jonathan Berry.

Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro shares, "In Rajiv Joseph's work, there is always an effortless and enchanting layering of our contemporary world and all of the histories that have come before. There is perhaps no other playwright working today who asks us, so consistently, to understand American life through the lens of not just other times but other cultures as well, all of which weave themselves in and out of the consciousness of his stories and the people who inhabit them."

Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Arian Moayed (Babur) and Omar Metwally (Humayun)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun) and (Above) Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Arian Moayed (Babur) and (Standing) Omar Metwally (Humayun)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Arian Moayed (Babur)

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf Mounts GUARDS AT THE TAJ
Omar Metwally (Humayun)

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