Review Roundup: YOU GOT OLDER at Steppenwolf

Review Roundup: YOU GOT OLDER at SteppenwolfThe reviews are in for Steppenwolf's production of YOU GOT OLDER! After cancelling its Monday opening night due to the passing of long-time ensemble member John Mahoney, YOU GOT OLDER opened this past Wednesday at Steppenwolf, where it will continue to run through March 11th.

YOU GOT OLDER follows a young woman who moves in with her dying father. This touching, darkly funny play by Clare Barron first played Off-Broadway in 2014.

The Cast of YOU GOT OLDER features Steppenwolf Ensemble Members Glenn Davis, Audrey Francis, Francis Guinan, and Caroline Neff, along with Emjoy Gavino, David Lind, and Gabriel Ruiz.

The Creative Team: Clare Barron (Author), Jonathan Berry (Director), Hallie Gordon (Artistic Producer), Meghan Raham (Scenic Design), Alison Siple (Costume Design), Marcus Doshi (Lighting Design), Matt Chapman (Sound Design), Gigi Buffington (Company Vocal Coach), Rasean Davonte Johnson (Projection Design), JC Clementz (Casting Director), Laura D. Glenn (Stage Manager), and Mary Hungerford (Assistant Stage Manager).

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: Barron is writing what she knows, and she does so with eloquence; "You Got Older" is a sincere, honest and closely observed play and anyone who has been through such a loss in their family will immediately identify with the fearful confusion that suddenly haunts Mae, not to mention the intensity of her need for physical affection. Good for Barron for not running from that taboo.

Patrick Rybarczyk, BroadwayWorld: One of the final scenes, a phone call between Mae and Dad, is particularly moving. Neff and Guinan's performances are incredibly strong and touching here. Their fantastic work throughout sustains a piece that may benefit from a bit of trimming. As Hannah, Audrey Francis perfectly captures the role of the eldest sibling who is there to keep the family's spirits up and to serve as caretaker. Davis' turn as Mac is a joy to watch and provides a nice parallel to Mae's quirkiness. Ruiz plays the cowboy with a delightful blend of sensuality, humor, and force. Meghan Raham's set works well to evolve from backyard to bedroom, to bar, to a hospital room. Exquisite projections by Rasaen Davonte Johnson and lighting by Marcus Doshi beautifully enhance the storytelling. YOU GOT OLDER will be relatable to many audience members, who will see themselves in these down to earth characters. It reminds us that we've all been negatively rained on in our lives. It's how we deal with those downpours that shape who we are.

Scott C. Morgan, Daily Herald: Clare Barron's 2014 drama shines a light on both the mundane and meaningful inevitabilities of life and death, and director Jonathan Berry's richly acted production repeatedly hits all the right emotional and elegiac notes... Director Berry conjures up great tension between stasis and propulsion throughout "You Got Older." This is visualized well in the cycle-of-the-season video projections by designer Rasean Davonte Johnson that fill out the physical scenery of backyard fences and distant forests by set designer Meghan Raham. "You Got Older" is a drama where nothing much -- yet absolutely everything -- happens. In that way, it's a lot like life. And it serves as a timely vehicle to reflect and mourn as time marches on.

Brent Eickhoff, Third Coast Review: Watching Jonathan Berry's production, I was astonished at how thoughtfully Neff and Guinan have crafted the layers of their characters. Both of them are in the midst of having their lives radically changed (Mae has also lost her job, her boyfriend, and has developed a wicked rash). Both of them are also exceptionally lonely, although they don't want to admit it to each other. Watching each actor navigate these feelings is, at many times throughout the play, quite beautiful... Well-written and well-acted, You Got Older is a fine example of Steppenwolf's commitment to telling stories about how we live now through high-quality, ensemble acting. With two leads willing to embrace Barron's fresh and honest play, it's hard not to be touched by a story that should speak to all audiences: We all grow up. We all get older. We all move forward.

Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times: Solidly directed by Jonathan Berry with fine performances all around, "You Got Older" blends reality and fantasy into a sometimes uneasy look at the one-way movement of time - whether you're ready for it to or not. It's also about family, the ties that bind and how you can go home again. It's sweet relief that up-and-coming playwright Barron has written a play that refuses to slide into the traditional dysfunctional family angst. Sure there are disagreements and arguments here, but they never become nasty. Instead, the author offers moments of real connection as Mae tries to figure out her future.

Becky Sarwate, The Broadway Blog: The global theater community lost a legend this week. On Monday it was announced that longtime Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member and Frasier star John Mahoney, died in hospice care at the age of 77. Despite battling throat cancer, Mahoney was onstage late last fall in The Rembrandt, alongside fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Francis Guinan... This context was nearly impossible to divorce from Wednesday's evening's opening night for You Got Older. After all, the production stars Francis Guinan, Mahoney's final Steppenwolf co-star. And because fortune is a perverse mistress, Guinan, playing a character only known as "Dad" in Barron's Obie Award-winning play, takes on the role of a widower battling - yes - late-stage throat cancer. This critic, and many other seasoned theatergoers in the midweek audience, felt a lump of an emotional kind as the proverbial curtain lifted... The latest Steppenwolf production of You Got Older would be a terrific success without the ghost of John Mahoney floating around the edges. It's stripped down, raw human experience across the psychological spectrum. And the material is in the hands of a wildly capable cast and crew. But Mahoney is there, and his creative presence adds an additional layer of urgency. This is one to see.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Brosilow.

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