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Steppenwolf Announces Lineup of Work for STEPPENWOLF NOW

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Virtual Memberships Inviting Global Audience on Sale Mid-September.

Steppenwolf Announces Lineup of Work for STEPPENWOLF NOW

Steppenwolf unveiled today the programming lineup for its first-ever virtual stage-Steppenwolf NOW featuring breakthrough stories written by some of America's most talented voices. Steppenwolf NOW will be accessible to a global audience with Virtual Memberships available for purchase beginning mid-September.

Featuring content crafted specifically for the digital platform, Steppenwolf NOW features a lineup of both commissioned and extant work by some of the top playwrights in the country including ensemble member Rajiv Joseph with Vivian J.O. Barnes, Isaac Gómez, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, James Ijames and Sam Shepard featuring ensemble members Randall Arney, Ian Barford, Carrie Coon, Audrey Francis, K. Todd Freeman, Jon Michael Hill, Sandra Marquez, William Petersen, Karen Rodriguez and more. Full Steppenwolf NOW programming lineup below.

The previously scheduled December 2020 opening of Good Night, and Good Luck will be moved to a future season due to extended public health concerns related to COVID-19. Written by Matt Charman, based on the Academy Award-winning screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov and directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro, Steppenwolf retains the rights for the world premiere.

"While we are heartbroken to delay our first live production of the 20/21 Season, our commitment to continue creative ways of storytelling has deepened. We are investing even more in our virtual work and six astonishing projects that will bring meaning and joy into the homes of our audiences, the people of our city and our growing number of friends worldwide," shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. "More than ever, we seek to uplift our community through the shared experience of storytelling. The Steppenwolf NOW lineup is a true manifestation of who we are-a celebration of artists sharing courageous, challenging, and at times deeply personal stories. We share a collective belief that it's critical to make space for creation and connection during this time of societal separation."

"This moment reinforces that old adage that out of limitation comes creativity. This moment of disruption for our industry has led Steppenwolf's artistic and education teams to break the mold of theatrical form and evolve the ways in which we are connecting with audiences and serving students," shares Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan. "In the months ahead, we will offer a stunning radio play production of George Orwell's Animal Farm to schools worldwide, while our series of six brilliantly creative virtual plays will connect our with audiences in Chicago-and beyond. This expansion of service through artistic excellence will continue when we open our expanded campus, still under construction through this time of forced closure, featuring a new state-of-the-art theater in the round and education loft."

Steppenwolf NOW launches this November with an extraordinary lineup of playwrights featuring both ensemble members and Chicago favorites. Virtual Memberships go on sale in mid-September; pricing and further casting and artistic details to be released in the coming weeks. Steppenwolf NOW is included for free to all Classic Members, Black Card or RED card members. For more details, visit steppenwolf.org/now.

Steppenwolf NOW Lineup Features:

What is Left, Burns

Written by James Ijames

Directed by Whitney White

Featuring ensemble members K. Todd Freeman and Jon Michael Hill

Streaming November 2020

Available via digital stream; included in all Steppenwolf memberships

Two poets separated by age and distance engage in a video call rendezvous after fifteen years. Keith, a distinguished poet and professor of literature is moving towards retirement after a recent divorce from his wife. Ronnie, his younger former lover and mentee, has a New York Times bestselling book and a burgeoning career ahead of him. The two men wade through the connection they once had as they struggle with the desires that still bind them.

Wally World

By Isaac Gómez
Co-directed by Isaac Gómez and Lili-Anne Brown
Featuring ensemble members Audrey Francis, Sandra Marquez and Karen Rodriguez with Sydney Charles
Streaming December 2020

It's Christmas Eve and a group of Wally World employees are about to lose it. On the one day of the year the mega-department superstore is supposed to close its doors, secrets come to life that may destroy more than their holiday cheer. Their manager Andy is doing everything in her power to keep her store in line and her employees in check. But can hard truths from her past ruin everything she's ever worked for? Wally World is a festive, poignant examination of finding magic in the mundane as ten employees do everything, they can to find purpose in a place that has never seen purpose in them.

Red Folder

Written and directed by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph
Featuring ensemble member Carrie Coon
Streaming January 2021

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

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!

By Vivian J.O. Barnes
Streaming February 2021

A Royal Wedding is looming. The Duchess and The Soon-to-be-Duchess are meeting face to face for the first time to go over everything you ever needed to know to become a duchess. There are rules. There's a way of doing things. Remember, everybody is watching. And you don't want to know what happens if you step out of line. Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! looks at the hidden costs of being the "luckiest girl in the world."

Where We Stand

By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Featuring Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Streaming April 2021

What does community mean? And what do we owe to one another? When a man who has been shunned by his town makes a deal on behalf of it with a mysterious stranger, he must stand before his community to ask for forgiveness in hopes that they might answer these enduring questions as they determine his fate. Through poetic verse and music, this work challenges our capacity to forgive and our ideas of mercy and who might deserve it.

Ages of the Moon

By Sam Shepard
Directed by ensemble member Ian Barford
Featuring ensemble members Randall Arney and William Petersen
Streaming June 2021

Byron and Ames are old friends, reunited by mutual desperation on a hot summer day. As day turns into night and the bourbon keeps flowing, they sit, reflect and bicker about fifty years of love, friendship and their rivalry.

With schools facing unprecedented challenges this fall, Steppenwolf Education continues its commitment to breaking down barriers to ensure access and equity for all. Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) will help keep teens connected and creative with its first-ever radio play-an original production of George Orwell's Animal Farm, available for FREE streaming to all teachers and students-locally, nationally and internationally-with a reservation. As always, Steppenwolf Education will be creating a comprehensive study guide for teachers and students.

George Orwell's

Animal Farm

Adapted for radio by Steve Pickering,

from the stage adaptation by Althos Low

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Featuring ensemble members Audrey Francis, Namir Smallwood and Alan Wilder

Streaming October 19 - November 20, 2020

Recommended for grades 8+

To reserve a school group or more information, visit steppenwolf.org/education

In Animal Farm, George Orwell's always timely allegory, a group of diverse farm animals rise up against the human ruling class, hoping to form a society in which animals can be equal, free and happy. But in the turbulent wake of a revolution, Will Power corrupt even the noblest of causes? Featuring a cast filled with Steppenwolf ensemble members and esteemed Chicago actors, this radio play presentation brings Animal Farm into conversation with 2020's political landscape of revolution, uprising and civil disobedience.

The cast features ensemble members Audrey Francis (Squealer/Old Major/Pinkeye), Namir Smallwood (Benjamin) and Alan Wilder (Napoleon/Snowball) with Robert Cornelius (Boxer/Moses), Emjoy Gavino (Maggie/Muriel) and Sharriese Hamilton (Mollie/Julia).

The creative team includes Aaron Stephenson (Sound Design and Original Music), Patrick Zakem (Artistic Producer), Elise Hausken (Production Manager), Martha Wegener (Sound Engineer), Christine D. Freeburg (Production Stage Manager), Laura D. Glenn (Assistant Stage Manager) and JC Clementz (Casting Director).

Since mid-March, Steppenwolf Education has produced nearly 20 free online workshops reaching more than 3,000 people of all ages from across the globe-from Australia to Malta to Singapore and the Philippines. Virtual workshops are archived on Steppenwolf's website for viewing, and plans continue for ongoing virtual work throughout the season. Steppenwolf Education is committed to adding accessibility services for virtual programming, recognizing the new challenges the deaf/hard of hearing community are facing in the shift to online platforms. For more info, visit steppenwolf.org/virtualsteped.

Construction continues for the new theater-in-the-round and arts and education building, set for a Fall 2021 grand opening. Designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, and London-based theater design team Charcoalblue, and built by Chicago-based Norcon Construction, Steppenwolf's new facility will change the way Chicagoans experience the company's cutting-edge theatre.

The intimate 400-seat theater-in-the-round will be only six rows deep-the only one of its kind in Chicago-putting the actor at the center. A dedicated education floor will double the reach and impact of Steppenwolf's nationally recognized education work, welcoming more students than ever before through the doors.

Members will have opportunities to take live Virtual tours of the new building. More info at steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.

Membership is more than a ticket-it is an investment that buoys Steppenwolf's mission, furthers the crucial work of Steppenwolf Education and uplifts the company's community partners.

Given the uncertainty of this time, the theater is continuing its Risk Free Membership-a guarantee that should the theater not be able to perform, or patrons don't feel comfortable attending due to COVID-19, it will be easy to receive a refund. The best way to support Steppenwolf is to renew or purchase a membership now. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/membership.

To allow for the most flexibility as we follow recommended guidelines from local government and health officials, play run dates will be solidified closer to the new year.

Steppenwolf's lineup of live productions includes the critically acclaimed production of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter based on the best-selling novel by Erika L. Sánchez, which had a sold-out run this past spring that was cut short due to COVID-19. Adapted by Isaac Gómez and directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez, ensemble member Karen Rodriguez will reprise her role in this vibrant coming-of-age story set in Chicago.

Also in 2021, Steppenwolf plans to produce Last Night and the Night Before, a poetic and heartbreaking portrait of Black Love by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton. Ensemble member Namir Smallwood, who has received major critical acclaim for his work over the past two seasons in True West and Bug, returns to the stage for Grays's masterpiece.

Fresh off a hit Broadway run and Tony nomination, Choir Boy by Academy Award-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight, David Makes Man-Peabody Award, MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT), directed by Kent Gash, makes its Steppenwolf debut featuring ensemble members James Vincent Meredith and Austin Pendleton. This elegy to quiet rebellion, filled with the sound of longing and aspiration, is a love song in pianissimo to the unseen heart that beats inside us all.

The extraordinarily funny and magical world premiere adaptation of Seagull by Anton Chekhov, translated, adapted and directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov and stacked with an all Ensemble cast, will still be the first show to open Steppenwolf's stunning theater-in-the-round in 2021. For more information about the building, visit steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.



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