Steppenwolf's World Premiere Adaptation of 1919 to Tour Chicago Neighborhoods This Fall

The SYA Tour will play at five Park District Cultural Centers from November 1 – 5, 2022.

By: Oct. 18, 2022
Steppenwolf's World Premiere Adaptation of 1919 to Tour Chicago Neighborhoods This Fall

Steppenwolf for Young Adults' will bring its world premiere adaptation of 1919 to audience across Chicago this fall for a series of FREE performances through the Chicago Park District's "Night Out In The Parks" initiative. The SYA Tour will play at five Park District Cultural Centers from November 1 - 5, 2022.

1919 is adapted by J. Nicole Brooks from Eve L. Ewing's collection of luminous and searing poems about the killing of Black teenager Eugene Williams in 1919 off the segregated Chicago lakeshore - and how this tragedy reverberates today. Directed by Gabrielle Randle-Bent and Tasia A. Jones, the production features Sheldon D. Brown, DeMorris Burrows, LaQuis Harkins, Max Thomas, Sola Thompson, and Alexis Ward.

On July 27, 1919, Chicago erupted following the killing of 17-year-old Eugene Williams in treacherous waters off the segregated Lake Michigan shoreline. The days that followed made an indelible mark on the city - its sense of boundaries, of relationships between neighbors, and of the underlying systems of inequity and racism that persist today. Adapted from Ewing's poems, J. Nicole Brooks' play is a bold, hopeful, lyrical exploration of Black Chicagoans' resistance, fortitude and endurance: past, present and future.

SYA Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 6 pm

Mandrake Park Cultural Center

3858 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago,

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 6 pm

South Shore Cultural Center

7059 S. South Shore Dr., Chicago

Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 6 pm show

Calumet Park

9801 S. Ave. G, Chicago

Friday, November 4, 2022 at 6 pm

Hamilton Park

513 W. 72nd St., Chicago

Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 6 pm

Austin Town Hall

5610 W. Lake St., Chicago

The 1919 production team includes Yu Shibagaki (Scenic Design), Gregory Graham (Costume Design), Jason Lynch (Lighting Design), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Design), Meida McNeal & Abra Johnson (Movement Direction), Abhi Shrestha (Dramaturg), Stan Brown (Vocal Coach), Alex Lee Reed (SYA Producer), Elise Hausken (Production Manager), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Michelle Medvin (Production Stage Manager) and Nikki Konomos (Assistant Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, visit

1919 is presented as part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor's Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Celebrating 10 years, the 2022 Night Out in the Parks program presents cultural events year-round in neighborhood parks throughout the city. The Chicago Park District in partnership with over 100 local artists and organizations, present engaging events and performances that enhance quality of life across Chicago and amplify the artistic and cultural vibrancy in every neighborhood. Through multiple disciplines, which include theater, music, movies, dance, site-specific work, nature programs, and community festivals, the series aims to support Chicago-based artists, facilitate community-based partnerships and programs, cultivate civic engagement, and ensure equity in access to the arts for all Chicagoans.

For additional information, visit or e-mail

Artist Biographies

Dr. Eve L. Ewing

(Author) is a scholar and writer from Chicago. She is the award-winning author of four books: the poetry collections Electric Arches and 1919, the nonfiction work Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side, and a novel for young readers, Maya and the Robot. She is the co-author (with Nate Marshall) of the play No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. She has written several projects for Marvel Comics, most notably the Ironheart series. Ewing is an associate professor at the Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity at the University of Chicago. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and many other venues. Currently she is working on her next book, Original Sins: The (Mis)education of Black and Native Children and the Construction of American Racism, which will be published by One World.

J. Nicole Brooks

(Playwright) is an actor, writer, director, and educator based in Chicago. Brooks's writing practice includes playwriting, screenwriting, essays, and poetry. As a theatre artist, Brooks is an ensemble member and Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company. Other artistic affiliations include artistic membership at Collaboration and Sideshow Theatre Company. As a playwright, Brooks has created original works including Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten; Fedra: Queen of Haiti; HeLa; Black Moon Lilith and the award-winning Her Honor Jane Byrne. Brooks has also served as director and associate director mounting successful theatre productions of Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting; Thaddeus & Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure; Her Honor Jane Byrne; Sex with Strangers; and Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten. Honors include TCG Fox Foundation, 3Arts, Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Kilroys List, the 2021 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award for Her Honor Jane Byrne and the Chicago Public Library Foundation 21st Century Award. Brooks is also an award-winning actor appearing in theatrical productions at Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass, Court Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and Theatre at Boston Court. Recent television credits include guest recurring roles on the cult fav South Side (HBO Max), The Chi (Showtime), Chicago Fire (NBC, Hulu) and the critically acclaimed chapter four of Fargo (FX Network) starring opposite Chris Rock. Brooks also appeared in the box office hit CANDYMAN (Say My Name) directed by Nia DaCosta produced by Jordan Peele.

Tasia A. Jones

(Director) is a director, performer, and educator focused on social justice and civically engaged theatre practices. She is an Assistant Professor of Instruction at Northwestern University. Steppenwolf Theatre Company: Pass Over (Assistant Director); The Roommate (Assistant Director). Chicago: Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (Goodman Theatre, Associate Director); Intimate Apparel (Northlight Theatre); The MLK Project (Writers Theatre); The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Lookingglass Theatre, Assistant Director). Regional: Intimate Apparel (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Small Mouth Sounds (UCCS Theatreworks); Seussical (Jean's Playhouse). Upcoming: Intimate Apparel (Northlight Theatre); A Raisin in the Sun (American Players Theatre). Education: MFA Directing, Northwestern University; BFA Theatre Arts, Boston University.

Gabrielle Randle-Bent

(Director) is a scholar, dramaturg, and director based in Chicago. Steppenwolf Theatre Company: We are Proud to Present a Presentation... Off Broadway: Terminus (Dramaturg). Chicago: Othello (Court Theatre); Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Dramaturg, Court Theatre); For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (Dramaturg, Court Theatre); The Oedipus Trilogy (Dramaturg, Court Theatre); Les Blancs (Court Theatre); The Pride Before (Sideshow Theatre Company); I, Banquo (Dramaturg, Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Intimate Apparel (Dramaturg, North Light). Upcoming: Year of Magical Thinking (Remy Bumppo); Once on this Island (Dramaturg, Oregon Shakespeare Festival). BA Stanford University, MA University of Texas at Austin, PhD Candidate Northwestern University.

About Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America's ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church-today Steppenwolf is the nation's premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over-and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards-have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. 2021 marked the opening of Steppenwolf's landmark Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts & Education Center-deepening the company's commitment to Chicagoland teens and serving as a cultural nexus for Chicago. Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis are the Artistic Directors and E. Brooke Flanagan is Executive Director. Keating Crown is Chair of Steppenwolf's Board of Trustees

Steppenwolf's Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.,, and

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