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Rajiv Joseph's RED FOLDER Begins January 27

Featuring ensemble member Carrie Coon.

Rajiv Joseph's RED FOLDER Begins January 27

A strong opening for the new year, Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents Red Folder, the third of six productions debuting on its Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage.

Written, directed and illustrated by Obie Award-winning Steppenwolf ensemble member Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), this illustrated short begins streaming on January 27, 2021. Commissioned specifically for the virtual stage, Red Folder features narration by Critics' Choice and Obie Award-winning ensemble member Carrie Coon (Bug, The Leftovers, The Nest), charming illustrations by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph and enchanting original music composed by Chris P. Thompson.

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

Rajiv Joseph shares, "I'm really excited about this piece, it's unique I think; it's something I never would've conceived of doing outside of the restrictions that the pandemic has imposed on us."

Rajiv Joseph joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in 2018. His play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and in 2018 for Describe the Night. Steppenwolf produced Guards at the Taj to acclaim in 2018 and will produce the world premiere of King James in a future season (the original 2020 production was postponed due to COVID-19). Other plays include Archduke, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool and Mr. Wolf. Joseph has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. He is a board member of the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, where he develops all his plays. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Carrie Coon (Narrator) joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble in 2019 and was last seen at Steppenwolf in ensemble member Tracy Letts's Bug, for which she won a Jeff Award. Other Steppenwolf credits include Mary Page Marlowe, Tracy Letts's adaptation of Three Sisters, The March and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as "Honey," a role that led to a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award. She won a Critics' Choice Television Award for her performance in HBO's The Leftovers and a TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama for her performances in HBO's The Leftovers and FX's Fargo. For her performance in Amy Herzog's world premiere Mary Jane, she garnered a 2018 Lucille Lortel Award, an Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination. Recent films include The Nest with Jude Law, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and upcoming historical drama TV series The Gilded Age by Julian Fellows.

The original piano score was created using a technique called microtonality-an approach to tuning that gives access to the "notes between the notes." Careful application of the technique can saturate musical flavors, making it possible to create harmonies and timbres with a subtly heightened clarity and harmonious glow.

Composer Chris P. Thompson shares, "Rajiv's piece really resonated for me as a picture of how adults impose the anxieties and complexity of their world onto children. I found the palette of microtonality to be perfect for expressing that range. It begins simply, with pure-tuned piano and basic synthesizer waveforms. As fear and anxiety mount, the simple sounds of the score become more odd, dissonant and cutting. The synthesizer sounds gradually grow teeth. Eventually, the score is practically putting giant fists down on an out-of-tune piano."

Chris P. Thompson (Original Music) composes electronic and acoustic music that tells stories and paints pictures of potent emotional states. His third solo album, True Stories & Rational Numbers, was released in October of 2020. Well-known in contemporary music circles as a longtime percussionist in Alarm Will Sound and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, he has participated in the world premieres of over a hundred new works and can be heard on 30 studio albums. He has appeared or collaborated with an eclectic range of artists and ensembles including Björk, Dirty Projectors, Foxing, Medeski Martin & Wood, the Metropolitan Opera, Nico Muhly, and Tyondai Braxton.

Red Folder was filmed and edited by Joel Moorman. Lead Animation Artist was Christopher Huizar with Joel Moorman and Rudy Schultz as Animation Artists. Additional credits include Elise Hausken (Production Manager), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director and Artistic Producer), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

Access to Red Folder is available with the purchase of a Virtual Membership to Steppenwolf NOW, which includes all six productions for only $75. Once released, all productions are available for members to stream through August 31, 2021. Discounted $50 memberships are available to essential workers, artists, students and teachers. Note: 20/21 Classic Members, Black Card holders and RED members receive Steppenwolf NOW content for free. Single tickets to Steppenwolf NOW shows are not available. For more info or to purchase, visit or call Audience Services at 312-335-1650.

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