Steppenwolf for Young Adults Announces 2012/13 Season: THE BOOK THIEF and More


Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) today announced two world premieres as part of its 2012/13 Season: The Book Thief, based on the novel by Markus Zusak, adapted by Heidi Stillman, directed by Hallie Gordon; and Oral Histories, collected from across the city by DePaul University students, curated and written by Miles Harvey (director to be announced at a later date).

The 2012/13 SYA season is part of Now Is The Time, a season-long initiative in partnership with Chicago Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves to inspire a citywide conversation about making positive change in our communities to stop the trend of youth violence and intolerance. Tickets for The Book Thief are currently on sale.

“For the Steppenwolf for Young Adults 2012/13 season, we are engaging with Chicago Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves for a season-long partnership. In recent years, violence towards youth has become overwhelming,” comments Hallie Gordon, Artistic and Educational Director for Steppenwolf for Young Adults. “As theater artists working in schools, the teens we work closely with in the classroom are scared to be outside in their neighborhoods or face torment at school from bullying. As artists, we have a unique opportunity to help teens give voice to this epidemic. We encourage our civic partners and other cultural organizations to join us—now is the time.”

Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ 2012/13 Season
(All plays, artists and dates are subject to change):

The Book Thief
Based on the novel by Markus Zusak
Adapted by Heidi Stillman
Directed by Hallie Gordon
October 16 – November 9, 2012 in the Upstairs Theatre

Set in Germany during World War II, The Book Thief is the story of a young girl, Liesel Meminger, who bravely risks everything for her love of books. Having survived the loss of her mother, the death of her brother, and now faced with the Nazi occupation of her foster town, books are Liesel’s refuge. Teaching herself to read alongside her illiterate foster father, Liesel begins to feel safe for the first time. When her foster father harbors a Jew in the family’s basement, however, Liesel comes to understand the true power of knowledge. With Death as narrator, The Book Thief investigates the real cost of war and violence, empowering each of us to examine our own unique ability to affect change in our communities.

Playwright Heidi Stillman is an ensemble member and Artistic Director of New Work at Lookingglass Theatre Company. Her writing and directing credits at Lookingglass include Cascabel: Dinner, Daring, and Desire, Hephaestus, The Brothers Karamazov (2009 Raven Award), Hard Times (five Jeff Awards) and The Master and Margarita (Jeff Award nomination). Additional writing credits include The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, The Old Curiosity Shop (Jeff Award for adaptation) and The Baron in the Trees (Jeff Award nomination). Directing credits include Trust, The Wooden Breeks and Hillbilly Antigone. Heidi has also staged Around the World in 80 Days (Kansas City Repertory Theatre) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Arabian Nights (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).

Director Hallie Gordon has created and facilitated a variety of educational programs for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, including the Young Adult Council. As Educational Director, Hallie has worked closely with the Chicago Public Schools to create an environment in which all students and teachers have access to the theater. Her directing credits include The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, To Kill A Mockingbird, The House on Mango Street, The Bluest Eye (Black Excellence Award), Harriet Jacobs (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and Eclipsed (Northlight Theatre). She has directed staged readings for Goodman Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company and Chicago Dramatists. Hallie is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Arts Achievement Award.

Oral Histories
voices of Chicagoans affected by violence
by Miles Harvey
February – March 2013 in the Upstairs Theatre

In recent years, violence has devastated the lives of countless young Chicagoans. In the first three months of 2012 alone, homicides in the city have risen nearly 60 percent. And despite extensive media coverage, we rarely hear from the people most directly affected by the problem--young people themselves. Woven together from interviews gathered by journalist Miles Harvey and his students at DePaul University, Oral Histories provides raw, truthful insight into the complexity of this epidemic. By giving voice to those who know the tragic consequences of violence first-hand—families of the victims, residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods and especially young people—Oral Histories inspires all of us to join together in search of a solution.

Following a run in Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre, Oral Histories will tour to Chicago Public Library branches, community centers and schools throughout the city. In conjunction with the tour, Steppenwolf will host digital media workshops for teens that encourage critical thinking, recognizing moral choices, acting as an upstander in one’s community and making teen voices heard.

Miles Harvey is the author of Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America, which received a 2008 Editors’ Choice award from Booklist and a best-books citation from Chicago Tribune. His previous book, The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, a national and international bestseller, was selected by USA Today as one of the top ten books of 2000. The recipient of a 2007/08 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan and a 2004/05 Illinois Arts Council Award for prose, Miles teaches creative writing at DePaul University.

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