THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Opens at Steppenwolf Theatre Tonight

Steppenwolf Theatre Company begins the new year with Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, under the direction of ensemble member Austin Pendleton. The Birthday Party features ensemble members Ian Barford, Francis Guinan, Moira Harris and John Mahoney with Sophia Sinise (one actor is still to be announced). The Birthday Party opens tonight, February 3, 2013, and runs through May 19 in Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 - $78) go on sale November 16 at 11am (prices are subject to change).

Petey, Meg and their long-time tenant Stanley live dull, comfortable lives in a seaside boarding house in England. But their humdrum routine of cornflakes, newspapers and naps comes to a sudden end when two men appear, bringing with them menace and mystery. When the group gathers to celebrate Stanley's birthday, alliances shatter and scandals are revealed. Lambasted by critics during its 1958 premiere, Nobel laureate Harold Pinter's play has since gained a reputation as a twentieth-century dark-comic classic.

Steppenwolf's 2012/13 season, The Reckoning, explores the moment when we are called to account. Will our deeds be repaid? Will our secrets be revealed? Will we get what we deserve? The Birthday Party is one of five stories about what happens when the past comes knocking.

The production team for The Birthday Party includes: Walt Spangler (scenic design), Rachel Healy (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design) and Josh Schmidt (original music and sound design). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting) Deb Styer (stage manager) and Kathleen Petroziello (assistant stage manager).

The show plays Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre at 1650 N Halsted St, with opening night slated for tonight, February 3 at 6pm. The regular run plays February 3 - May 19, 2013. The sign language-interpreted performance will be on March 31 at 7:30pm, open-captioned is set for April 27 at 3pm and audio-described and touch tour will be held on May 5 at 1:30pm (3pm performance).

Curtain Times Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Wednesday matinees at 2pm on April 17, 24; May 1, 8, and 15. Note: There are no 7:30pm performances on January 29; February 3; April 21, 28; May 5, 12, and 19. There are no performances on May 4. There is no 3pm performance on February 3 and the evening performance that day is at 6pm and is by invitation only.

Preview Tickets: $20 - $52. Regular Run: $20 - $78. 20 for $20: Twenty $20 tickets are available by phone or in person beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: Limited $15 student tickets are available online. (Limit 2 tickets. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket). For additional student discounts, visit Group Tickets: All groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. Audience Services 1650 N Halsted St, 312-335-1650. Online ticketing available at

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance in the Subscription Season. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Performances featuring American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America's longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces-the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and nine Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf's Board of Trustees.

Currently on stage is Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by ensemble member K. Todd Freeman (through November 11, 2012) in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

The 2012/13 Subscription Season also includes The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro (December 28, 2012 - March 3, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre; Head of Passes by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau (April 4 - June 9, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre; and Belleville by Amy Herzog, directed by Anne Kauffmann (June 27 - August 25, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre.

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