Steep Theatre Company Sets 16th Anniversary Season

Steep Theatre Company has announced the programming for its upcoming 16th season, which continues the company's tradition of presenting bold plays from today's most exciting playwrights, brought to life by fearlessly honest ensembles and visionary directors. Season 16 will feature a world premiere from Chicago playwright Alex Lubischer, a U.S. premiere from Olivier Award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett, a U.S. premiere from rising English playwright Cordelia Lynn, and a Midwest premiere from California-based playwright Lauren Yee. Steep Ensemble Members and Jeff Award-winning directors Robin Witt and Jonathan Berry will helm two of the productions, to be joined by two guest directors.

The season kicks off in late September with the world premiere of Bobbie Clearly, by Chicago playwright Alex Lubischer, directed by Josh Sobel. The play, which was developed in part through workshops and a public staged reading at Steep in 2015, was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Award. Mr. Lubischer's plays have previously been seen and developed at Page 73 in New York, The Actors Theatre of Louisville, and in Chicago at Victory Gardens, The Fine Print Theatre Company, and Route 66. In the fall, he will begin the MFA program in Playwriting at Yale Drama School. Josh Sobel is the artistic director at Haven Theatre Company and a prolific director in Chicago storefront theatres.

In January, Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry returns to Steep to direct Mike Bartlett's Earthquakes in London. Berry, a Jeff Award winning director who most recently helmed Steppenwolf Theatre's Constellations, has consistently directed some of Steep's most successful shows, including Season 15's Posh by Laura Wade, which won the 2016 Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best Ensemble, and was nominated for Best Director and Best Production. Playwright Mike Bartlett has been creating some of England's most celebrated new work including plays Cock, Bull, and Olivier Award-winner and Tony Nominee, King Charles III, which will be making its Midwest Premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in 2017. Earthquakes in London debuted at the National Theatre in London in 2010 and this will be its first performance in the U.S.

In April, Steep will produce the Midwest premiere of Lauren Yee's Hookman. Yee, a San Francisco native, has had work produced around the country, including Chicago's Victory Gardens and The Goodman. Her plays The Tiger Among Us and King of the Yees were both featured on the 2015 Kilroys list, which showcases un- or under-produced plays by female and trans playwrights. Hookman has previously had a production at Encore Theatre in San Francisco and a reading at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in New York.

Closing out the season is the U.S. Premiere of Cordelia Lynn's Lela & Co., directed by Steep Ensemble Member Robin Witt. Lela & Co. will mark the U.S. debut of the 26 year-old Lynn, who is a rapidly rising playwright in the UK. Robin Witt is a longtime director at Steep and has been in the director's chair for the some of the company's most memorable shows, including Simon Stephens' Motortown, Pornography, and Harper Regan; and Alistair McDowall's Brilliant Adventures. She won the 2015 and 2016 Jeff Award for Best Director for Griffin Theatre's Flare Path and London Wall. Her U.S. Premiere of Simon Stephens' Wastwater opens at Steep on July 7. Lela & Co. premiered at the Royal Court in London to critical acclaim.

The World Premiere of
Bobbie Clearly
By Alex Lubischer
Directed by Josh Sobel
September 29 - November 5, 2016

Nobody from the town of Milton, Nebraska ever gave much thought to Bobbie before the tragedy in the cornfield. Two years later, it's hard for them to think of much else. In the darkly comic Bobbie Clearly, a community opens up about life in the aftermath and making sense of senseless violence.

The U.S. Premiere of
Earthquakes in London
By Mike Bartlett
Directed by Jonathan Berry
January 26 - March 4, 2017

As global destruction approaches, the lives of a climate scientist and his three estranged daughters come crashing, unexpectedly back together. The wildly epic Earthquakes in London embodies the chaos of today's society, while reminding us that our very surviVal May depend on our connections to our families, to our communities, and to our shared world.

The Midwest Premiere of
By Lauren Yee
April 20 - May 27, 2017

Who hasn't heard the urban legend about the Hookman? Lexi's mother certainly warned her about him, and now, after a tragic accident, Lexi begins seeing him everywhere. Hookman is a lethally sharp slasher comedy about death, growing up, what it means to be a woman, and the ever-present threat of being murdered by a man with a hook for a hand.

The U.S. Premiere of
Lela & Co.
By Cordelia Lynn
Directed by Robin Witt
July 13 - August 19, 2017

Instinct, tenacity, biting humor, and trust in the future keep Lela alive as her world closes in around her. Based on a true story, Lela & Co. is an eerily funny and enthralling story about the horrifying enterprise of war and a girl who may or may not have eaten some frosting.

About The Artists

Alex Lubischer is a Chicago playwright, a member of New York City's Page 73 Writers Group 2016, and an MFA candidate in the Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama. His plays include Bobbie Clearly, Ogalala, PIG.GOV part 1, The Xylophone West, Acts of Contrition, Weird Kids, and Survey No. 5. In Chicago, his scripts have been produced by Haven Theatre, The Fine Print Theatre Company, Collaboraction, and Tympanic Theatre Company, among others. He has developed new work at Steep Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, The House Theatre, Route 66 Theatre Company, Interrobang Theatre Project, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Alex has been a semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship, a two-time finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and a resident playwright at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. He received his B.A. from the University of Southern California and is a proud alumnus of the National Theater Institute. Alex grew up on a farm in Nebraska.

Josh Sobel is the Artistic Director of Haven Theatre, as well as an ensemble member and literary manager with Strawdog Theatre Company, where he directed Paula Vogel's The Long Christmas Ride Home along with the world premieres of The Hunting of the Snark (subsequently remounted with Chicago's "Night Out In The Parks" and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland), Best Beloved: The Just So Stories and The Pied Piper in Strawdog's Hugen Hall. Upcoming projects include Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die at Haven Theatre and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Directing credits include work at Steep Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, A Red Orchid Theatre, LiveWire Chicago Theatre, Collaboraction's Sketchbook, WildClaw Theatre, The Ruckus, Tympanic Theatre, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, The Fine Print Theatre Company, the side project, Citadel Theatre, The Greenhouse Theater Center, Abbie-Fest and New Leaf Theatre. From 2010 - 2013 he served as associate director of the National Theater Institute summer "Theatermakers" program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Sobel is the recipient of a Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) Observership on Hamlet at Writers' Theatre and is an associate member of SDC.

Mike Bartlett is an award winning and widely produced playwright. His work for the stage includes Wild (Hampstead Theatre); Game (Almeida), King Charles III (Almeida Theatre/Wyndham's Theatre/Music Box Theatre, New York), An Intervention (Paines Plough/Watford), Bull (Sheffield Theatres/Off Broadway/Young Vic), Medea (Headlong/Glasgow Citizens/Watford/Warwick), Chariots of Fire (Hampstead Theatre/Gielgud Theatre), 13 (National Theatre), Decade (co-writer Headlong), Earthquakes in London (Headlong, National Theatre), Love,Love,Love (Paines Plough/Plymouth Theatre Royal/Royal Court), Cock, Contractions, My Child (Royal Court Theatre), and Artefacts (Bush Theatre/ Nabokov). His plays for the radio include King Charles III, Cock, Heart, The Core, Family Man, Love Contract (BBC Radio 4), The Steps, and Not Talking (BBC Radio 3). He has directed Medea (Headlong/Glasgow Citizens/ Watford/Warwick) and Honest (Theatre Royal Northampton). His television work includes Doctor Foster (Drama Republic/BBC) and The Town (Big Talk Productions). At the 2015 Olivier Awards King Charles III won Best New Play and Bull won Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Love,Love,Love won Best New Play in the 2011 Theatre Awards UK and Cock won an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.

Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry is a director and teacher in Chicago and is the Artistic Producer at Steppenwolf Theatre, where he recently directed Nick Payne's Constellations. His Steep productions include 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 the SYA production of A Separate Peace, the world premiere of Melinda Lopez's Gary, and the staged reading of Suicide, Incorporated, which he later directed at The Gift Theatre. 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 also an Artistic Associate with Griffin Theatre, where his productions include Samuel D Hunter's Pocatello, 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 Will Nedved's 6. His Goodman Theatre productions include The Solid Sand Below and The World of Extreme Happiness for their New Stages Festival. His other work includes Redtwist's Look Back in Anger and Reverb; Chicago Dramatists' I am Going to Change the World; Jackalope Theatre's The Casuals; Strawdog's Conversations on a Homecoming, Remy Bumppo's The Marriage of Figaro; Theatre Mir's Bond's The Sea and Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Lifeline Theater's The Piano Tuner (Afterdark Award - Best Production).

Lauren Yee's plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts, SIS Productions, Impact Theatre), Crevice (Impact Theatre), The Hatmaker's Wife (Playwrights Realm, The Hub, Moxie Theatre, AlterTheater, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore Theatre, Company One), in a word (SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, Hangar and Williamstown workshops, upcoming at Strawdog and Mo'olelo), King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre commission), Samsara (Victory Gardens, O'Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu Performing Arts). Her work has been developed at Lincoln Center/LCT3, the Goodman Theatre, The Public Theatre, Second Stage, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Center Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Kitchen Dog, the Magic Theatre, and others. Former Dramatists Guild fellow, MacDowell Colony fellow, Public Theater Emerging Writers Group member, Women's Project Lab playwright, Second Stage Shank playwright-in-residence, and Playwrights Realm Page One resident playwright. Samsara has been a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and The Hatmaker's Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. She is currently a member of the Ma-Yi Writers' Lab and a Playwrights' Center Core Writer. Lauren is also under commission from the Goodman Theatre, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood, and South Coast Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD.

Cordelia trained as a pianist until the age of sixteen. She went on to write and study literature, taking her BA in English at the University of Bristol, and her MA at UCL. She has lived around the world and is now settled in London, where she was born. Cordelia Lynn is a young writer whose debut play After the War has been performed in venues around the UK and abroad. Her second, Believers Anonymous, was staged at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in 2012 (Time Out Critic's Choice). Lynn's Lela & Co. premiered at the Royal Court in 2015. She has taken part in the Royal Court Young Writers Programme (2012) and is a member of the Soho Theatre Young Writers Company. Cordelia has written for Invertigo Theatre and had work performed at Hightide Festival and The Pleasance. She has recently completed an episode of the podcast sitcom Wooden Overcoats, produced by Audioscribble.

Steep Ensemble Member Robin Witt has been at the helm for many of Steep's most successful UK imports, including Simon Stephens' Motortown, Pornography, and Harper Regan; Alistair McDowall's Brilliant Adventures, 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, 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 she has directed 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 and 2016 Jeff Awards for Best Director for Men Should Weep and London Wall, and was nominated in 2014 for Flare Path. Her productions have been cited as "Best of the Year" by The Chicago Tribune, TimeOut Chicago, and Chicago Reader. She has worked at a variety of Chicago area theatres including The Goodman, A Red Orchid, and Steppenwolf. Robin recently directed Juliet: A Dialogue About Love for sacred playground theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and Northwestern University (MFA). Robin is an Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte.

Steep Theatre has become known as a home for hard-hitting, finely tuned ensemble work. With each production, the company has shepherded a growing community of audiences and artists into bold new territories of story and performance. Over the years, Steep productions have been named in TimeOut Chicago's Top Ten Shows of the Year list five times, the Tribune's Top Ten List twice, the Tribune's Best of the Fringe list twice, the Sun Times' best of the year list twice, and WBEZ's Top Ten Shows of the Decade. Steep has received 27 Jeff Nominations and has won the 2009 Jeff Award for Best Ensemble, the 2010 Jeff Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the 2011 Jeff Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the 2015 Jeff Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and the 2016 Jeff Award for Best Ensemble. Steep was named the 2010 Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theatre Award Winner.

Tickets range from $10 to $35. Season subscriptions start at $85. Reservations can be made by calling (773) 649-3186 or by visiting Steep Theatre is conveniently located by the Berwyn Red Line stop and is within blocks of the #92, #36, #146, #147, and #151 buses.

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