Steep Theatre Announces 19th Season

By: Aug. 21, 2019
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Steep Theatre announces the programming for its upcoming 19th season, which will continue the company's tradition of presenting bold plays from today's most exciting playwrights, brought to life by fearless ensembles and visionary directors. Season 19 will feature a powerful world premiere from Chicago playwright Isaac Gomez, a U.S. premiere by internationally-acclaimed writer Lucy Kirkwood and a beautiful play by Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok. Steep Ensemble Directors Robin Witt and Jonathan Berry will be joined by Jaclynn Jutting and Laura Alcalá Baker.

"This season is a wonderful balance of work that lives at the very core of Steep's aesthetic and work that will push us into new territory," said Artistic Director Peter Moore. "In that spirit, we're excited for the opportunity to feature many of Steep's ensemble members, while inviting new artists to step into the Steep fold."

The season kicks off in October with the U.S. premiere of Olivier Award-winner Lucy Kirkwood's Mosquitoes directed by Jaclynn Jutting. Kirkwood won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Play for her Chimerica and her play The Children enjoyed a well-received run at Steppenwolf this past spring. This production will mark Steep's first venture with the playwright, as well as with director Jutting, a long-time friend of the company.

In January, Laura Alcalá Baker will direct Steep's second commissioned play, Isaac Gomez' The Leopard Play, or sad songs for lost boys. Gomez has quickly become one of Chicago's, and the nation's, most exciting playwrights with productions being staged throughout the country. Alcalá Baker and Gomez collaborated on the world premiere production of his the way she spoke, which is now running Off-Broadway in New York.

Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry returns to Steep to direct Martyna Majok's Ironbound, opening in April. Majok won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Cost of Living. Ironbound received a workshop production in 2014 at Steppenwolf. Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry has been at the helm of many of the company's most memorable shows, including the recent smash-hit productions of Ike Holter's Red Rex, which will be at Theater on the Lake August 27 through 30, and Simon Stephens' Birdland.

Steep Ensemble Member Robin Witt will close out the company's 19th season with an as-yet-to-be-announced production. Witt is a longtime director at Steep whose work includes the currently running Pomona and recent hit productions of Penelope Skinner's Linda and Cordelia Lynn's Lela & Co, which won 2018 Jeff Awards for Best Director, Best Production, and Best Performer in a Principal Role.

Ongoing cabaret performances will continue year-round in Steep's new lounge venue, The Boxcar, nestled right next door to Steep's Edgewater theatre. A performance and event calendar is available online at

Season 19

By Lucy Kirkwood
Directed by Jaclynn Jutting
October 4 - November 9, 2019 (Press Opening 10/4)
A U.S. Premiere
Inside the Large Hedron Collider, two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before being forced to collide. Outside, two sisters run on an ideological collision course that threatens to upend the fragile gravity holding their family together. Lucy Kirkwood's Mosquitoes is an intergenerational look at the gulf between decisions and their consequences.

The Leopard Play, or sad songs for lost boys
By Isaac Gomez
Directed by Laura Alcalá Baker
January 24 - February 29, 2020 (Press Opening 1/24)
A World Premiere commissioned by Steep Theatre
All families have secrets, but some live in an underbelly too dark to even whisper about. After ten years of walking away, Son returns to his home along the U.S./Mexican border searching for answers about his uncle's mysterious death, but what he finds there are the men he tried to escape and the memories he thought he left behind. The Leopard Play or, sad songs for lost boys is an excavation of truth amidst lies, intimacy amidst violence, and a reckoning of learning how to love the very thing you hate the most.

By Martyna Majok
Directed by Jonathan Berry
April 17 - May 23, 2020 (Press Opening 4/17)
Twenty-two years, three relationships, and one New Jersey bus stop tell the story of Darja's journey through the American Dream. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Martyna Majok's Ironbound navigates the murky waters of love, security, immigration, and mobility with heartbreaking humor.

To Be Announced
Directed by Robin Witt
July 10 - August 15, 2020 (Press Opening 7/10)

Steep's 19th Season has been generously sponsored by the Bayless Family Foundation.

About the Artists

Lucy Kirkwood is an acclaimed playwright and screenwriter. In 2009, Lucy's play It Felt Empty When the Heart Went at First but it is Alright Now was produced by Clean Break Theatre Company at the Arcola Theatre. The play was nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer and made Lucy joint winner of the 2010 John Whiting Award. NSFW premiered at The Royal Court Theatre in 2012, starring Janie Dee and Julian Barratt. Chimerica premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 2013 and subsequently transferred to the West End, earning Best New Play at the 2014 Olivier and Evening Standard Awards, as well as the Critics Circle Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Recent work includes Mosquitoes (presented by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club), which opened at The National Theatre, London, in summer 2017; and The Children, which premiered at The Royal Court Theatre, London, in 2016. The Children opened on Broadway in December 2017. Lucy also writes for screen: She has written for "Skins" (Company Pictures); created and wrote "The Smoke" (Kudos/Sky 1); wrote and directed the short film "The Briny"; and is developing projects with Raw TV, Cowboy Films, Clio Barnard, and Lenny Abrahamson. Her new six-part season "Adult Material" (Tiger Aspect Productions) and the mini-series of her play Chimerica (Playground Productions) have both recently been greenlit.

Jaclynn Jutting is an award-winning freelance director, working out of Nashville and Chicago. Directing credits include the The Wolves (Actors Bridge Ensemble), The Flick and The Whale (Verge Theater), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Nashville Shakespeare Festival), Sea Wall (OZ Arts), The Amish Project (Actors Bridge Ensemble/BU), the Jeff-nominated production of The Seawall (Eclectic), Love and Understanding (Redtwist), and Animals out of Paper (Next Up/Steppenwolf Garage). She is the former Associate Artistic Director of Vitalist Theatre and previous head of the BFA-Directing program and Assistant Professor at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She is the recipient of the First Night Outstanding Award for Direction in 2019 & 2018 for her direction of The Wolves, The Flick, and The Amish Project, which also received a KCACTF citation for Outstanding Direction. She is a teaching artist, who received in her M.F.A. in Directing from Northwestern University.

Isaac Gomez is an award-winning Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas / Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta received its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company this past Winter. His one-woman show the way she spoke will be receiving its Off-Broadway premiere at the Minetta Lane Theatre (produced by Audible) in Summer 2019. He is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and Steep Theatre. His plays have been supported by Steppenwolf, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, WaterTower Theater, Haven Theater, Greenhouse Theater Center, Pivot Arts, and many others. He is the recipient of the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award, the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, an inaugural 3Arts "Make A Wave" grantee, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Artistic Associate with Victory Gardens Theater, Ensemble Member with Teatro Vista, Artistic Associate with Pivot Arts, and an advisory committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC). He is a Professional Lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is represented by The Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.

Laura Alcalá Baker is a Chicago-based director and casting director. She served as the Casting Director and Artistic Programs Manager at Victory Gardens Theater from 2016-2019 leading programs such as The Access Project and Directors' Inclusion Initiative. While at working at B Street Theatre, CA as an Artistic Associate, she directed Equivocation, The Giver, 11:11, Collapse and assistant directed May Adrales on Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. Shifting her focus to new play development, Laura directed the world premiere of Isaac Gomez's The Way She Spoke: A Docu-mythologia (DCASE, Greenhouse Theater Center). Other select Chicago pieces include: There is No Message in the Message, Shamed (The Gift Theatre's TEN), Project Potential (Broken Nose Theatre's Bechdel Fest), Jets, Sharks, and Beckys (Collaboraction's Peacebook Festival) and assistant directing Seth Bockley on the world-premiere of Samsara by Lauren Yee (Victory Gardens Theater). Most recently, she directed the audio drama BRAVA by Nancy Garcia Loza (Make-Believe Association) which is available on all podcast platforms. Laura has continually sought out creative means for accessibility in the theatre through directing programs such as Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium's Access Live, which provides theatre leaders a live example of growing practices integrated with accessibility in mind. Laura is a proud member of the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists and was nominated for 'Best Casting Director' at the 2018 ALTA Awards.

Martyna Majok was born in Bytom, Poland, and aged in Jersey and Chicago. Her plays have been performed and developed at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Marin Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Women's Project Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, LAByrinth Theatre Company, The John F. Kennedy Center, Dorset Theatre Festival, New York Stage & Film, Yale Cabaret, The Playwright and Director Center of Moscow, Satori Group, Red Tape Theatre, and The LIDA Project, among others. Awards include the Helen Hayes Award's Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical, the inaugural Women's Invitational Prize at Ashland New Play Festival, The Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Award, Marin Theatre's David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, New York Theatre Workshop's 2050 Fellowship, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project Prize, National New Play Network's Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, Jane Chambers Student Feminist Playwriting Prize, and The Merage Fellowship for the American Dream. Commissions from The Geffen, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club, Marin Theatre Company, "The New Yorker" website, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and The Foundry Theatre. Publications by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, TCG, and Smith & Kraus. Residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Fuller Road, Marble House Project, and Ragdale. BA: University of Chicago; MFA: Yale School of Drama. Martyna is currently part of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright Program at The Juilliard School. She has taught playwriting at Williams College, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase, and as an assistant to Paula Vogel at Yale. Alumna of EST's Youngblood. Member of Women's Project Lab, The Dramatist Guild, and New York Theatre Workshop's Usual Suspects. Martyna was the 2012-2013 NNPN playwright-in-residence. She is the 2015-2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center.

Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry is a director and teacher in Chicago and is an Artistic Producer at Steppenwolf Theatre and the Director of The School at Steppenwolf. His Steep productions include Ike Holter's Red Rex, Simon Stephens' Birdland, Mike Bartlett's Earthquakes in London, Laura Wade's Posh, Ross Dungan's The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle, Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found it Yet, John Donnelly's The Knowledge, David Eldridge's Festen, Deirdre Kinahan's Moment, Howard Korder's The Hollow Lands and Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. For Steppenwolf, he directed Clare Barron's You Got Older, Nick Payne's Constellations, the SYA productions of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Crucible, and A Separate Peace, and the world premiere of Melinda Lopez's Gary for First Look. He was also the Assistant Director for Anna D Shapiro's Broadway productions of Of Mice and Men and This is Our Youth. Jonathan is an Artistic Associate with Griffin Theatre, where his productions include Samuel D Hunter's The Harvest and Pocatello, Anderson's Winterset, Odets' Golden Boy, Miller/Tysen's The Burnt Part Boys, Sheik/Sater's Spring Awakening, the North American premieres of Simon Stephens' Punk Rock (Jeff award Director, Lead Actor, and Ensemble), Port, and On the Shore of the Wide World, Stephen Sondheim's Company, William Inge's Picnic, JB Priestely's Time and the Conways, Sidney Kingsley's Dead End, Brendan Behan's The Hostage and R.C. Sheriff's Journey's End. At the Gift Theatre, he has directed the world premieres of both Dirty and Suicide, Incorporated by Andrew Hinderaker, as well as Shakespeare's Othello and Will Nedved's 6. His Goodman Theatre productions include The Solid Sand Below and The World of Extreme Happiness for their New Stages Festival. Other work: Redtwist; Look Back in Anger and Reverb, Chicago Dramatists; I am Going to Change the World, Jackalope Theatre; The Casuals, Strawdog; Conversations on a Homecoming, Remy Bumppo; The Marriage of Figaro, Theatre Mir; The Sea and Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Lifeline Theater's The Piano Tuner (Afterdark Award - Best Production).

Steep Ensemble Member Robin Witt has been at the helm for many of Steep's most successful UK imports, including Alistair McDowall's Pomona and Brilliant Adventures; Penelope Skinner's Linda; Cordelia Lynn's Lela & Co.; Simon Stephens' Wastwater, Motortown, Pornography, and Harper Regan; Dennis Kelly's Love and Money; Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song; and Laura Wade's Breathing Corpses. Her Harper Regan is still the best-selling show in Steep history and was named one of the Top Ten shows of 2010 by both the Chicago Tribune and Timeout Chicago; her Lela & Co was named one of the Tribune's Top Ten Shows of 2017; and her Breathing Corpses was named one of TimeOut's Top Ten Shows of 2008. In addition to directing numerous productions at Steep, Robin is also an ensemble member of Griffin Theatre Company where her credits include Ferber and Kaufman's Stage Door, Terrence Rattigan's Flare Path, Ena Lamont Stewart's Men Should Weep, and John Van Druten's London Wall. Witt received the 2015, 2016, and 2018 Jeff Awards for Best Director for Men Should Weep, London Wall, and Lela & Co and was nominated in 2014 for Flare Path and 2011 for Stage Door. She has worked at a variety of Chicago area theatres including Northlight, A Red Orchid, and Artistic Home. Robin recently directed A Doll's House, Part 2 at Steppenwolf Theatre, A Number at Writers Theatre, and For Services Rendered at Griffin Theatre. She is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and Northwestern University (MFA). Robin is an Associate Professor at UNC Charlotte.