Steep Theatre returns with two shows this summer
Steep Theatre will make its much-anticipated return to stage this summer with two productions that continue the company's tradition of introducing Chicago audiences to bold new plays from today's most exciting playwrights. In June, Steep will present the Midwest Premiere of Eboni Booth's Paris, directed by Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry, and in July the company will present the U.S. Premiere of Light Falls by Simon Stephens, directed by Ensemble Member Robin Witt. Light Falls will be produced at Theater Wit, where Steep transferred its widely-acclaimed production of Deirdre Kinahan's Moment in 2012. Paris will be presented in Steep's newly acquired home in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.
Steep recently purchased the former Christian Science Reading Room at 1044 West Berwyn, a block and a half from the storefront where the company made its home from 2008 to 2020. Steep is planning a renovation of the building to create a new home for art, artists, and community that will support the company's growth for years to come. In advance of that construction, Steep is excited to introduce artists and audiences to its new home with an innovative production of Paris. In celebration of Steep's return to Edgewater, this production will be free to attend as Steep connects with new neighbors and long-time audience members alike.
"What became increasingly clear as we worked our way towards this building and back to production was what a vital role our audience and community play in Steep," said Artistic Director Peter Moore. "We're ready for that energy, and these two plays are fantastic pieces with which to reengage and reinvigorate that sense of community as we make our new home."
Paris follows Emmie, one of the few Black residents in the predominantly white town of Paris, Vermont, as she starts a new job in a big box store. This menacing, oddly comic piece quietly and incisively examines issues of race, invisibility, and economic desperation in small town America. Paris was first produced by the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York in January of 2020. Ms. Booth is an actress and playwright whose work has been developed with Cape Cod Theater Project, Ojai Playwrights Conference, WP Theater, Two River Theater, Clubbed Thumb, and Northern Stage. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and the recipient of a Steinberg Playwright Award, a Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, and a John Gassner award. She is a graduate of Juilliard's playwriting program and the University of Vermont. Director and Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry has been at the helm of many of the company's most memorable shows, including the recent productions of Ike Holter's Red Rex and Simon Stephens' Birdland.
In Light Falls, a woman's sudden passing brings her family, dispersed to the far corners of England, back to the north to mourn and process her death. This exploration of grief and resiliency in the face of loss promises to be an impactful experience of reckoning and healing for both audiences and artists. Light Falls received its world premiere production at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, England, in 2019. Simon Stephens is a Steep Associate Playwright and an Olivier and Tony Award winner whose work has been produced all over the world. Steep Ensemble Member and director Robin Witt's vast body of work with the company includes acclaimed productions of Stephens' Harper Regan, Wastwater, and Pornography.