Steppenwolf Theatre Announces 2021/22 Comeback Season
Steppenwolf Theatre, the nation's premier ensemble theater company, unveiled its path to welcoming audiences back to the theater-and not the same one they left but a stunning new 50,000 sq. ft. theater building and education center on Halsted Street. As the world came to a pause in 2020, the walls of the state-of-the-art arts facility continued to rise, symbolizing hope for the entire Chicago arts community. Designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue, the transformed Steppenwolf campus will change the way Chicagoans and visitors experience the company's cutting-edge theater with a new 400-seat Round Theater-one of its kind in Chicago-an education center, breathtaking city views, and new bars for community and socializing. The 2021/22 season kicks-off in the fall with a special event that invites the entire arts community and city to experience this landmark project; details to be announced.
"The opening of our new building is a testimony to the confidence that the cultural heartbeat of Chicago will come roaring back with the grandness this city deserves," shares Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan. "Together, we have created a home for the ensemble and a physical manifestation of our promise to the City of Chicago-Steppenwolf will continue its legacy of creation and service for generations to come."
For the first time in Steppenwolf's 46-year history, each play in the 2021/22 season is written by an ensemble member and each production reinforces the Chicago resilience of the storied company and its commitment to audiences. In Fall 2021, Steppenwolf builds on the global reach and acclaim of its virtual stage (currently streaming in all 50 states and more than 20 countries) with a lineup of new virtual works by ensemble members Tina Landau, Tracy Letts and Tarell Alvin McCraney. These pieces create the opening landscape of the season and will be available via single tickets (or as a discounted bundle), serving as a bridge in the lead-up to a safe return to live theater and packed houses.
"Our virtual stage is a celebration of the profound connection that theatre-in whatever form it finds itself-offers us all. Whether it's Tina's physically explosive examination of female friendships, Tracy's deft and hilarious vignettes on aging or Tarell's lyrical exploration of a marginalized life hanging in the balance. Each story carries the truly original imprimatur of these Steppenwolf voices for this particular moment: as graceful as they are irreverent, as rebellious as they are joyful, as funny as they are heartbreaking," shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro.
In November 2021, Steppenwolf welcomes audiences back to the theater as it raises the curtain once again on the blistering and extraordinary revival of Bug by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by David Cromer with ensemble members Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood reprising their roles. Shut down during its run last year, this production's return is the company's bold refusal to let the disaster of COVID re-write its story.
"The set of Bug is still on the stage and our chapter with that production is not closed. These stunning performances-and this award-winning production-will once again reverberate throughout the building and welcome back our audiences to the Steppenwolf they know and love: brave, brazen, and defiant," shares Shapiro.
The 2021/22 season also brings to the Downstairs Theater the highly anticipated productions of the previous season that had been postponed: the world premiere of King James by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro (February 2022), which is co-commissioned and co-produced with Center Theatre Group; and a fresh staging of the Tony-nominated play Choir Boy by Oscar-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, one of our country's most important voices. Closing out the celebratory 2021/22 season, McCraney's Choir Boy is an elegy to quiet rebellion-a love song in pianissimo to the unseen heart that beats inside us all.