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Theatre News Wire

Rainn Wilson Joins the Cast of The Doppelganger (An International Farce)
Jan 24, 2018


Rainn WilsonSteppenwolf Theatre Company announces actor and comedian Rainn Wilson, well-known for his role as "Dwight Schrute" on NBC's award-winning comedy The Office, will play the lead role of Thomas Irdley/Jimmy in the world premiere production of The Doppelganger (An International Farce). Written by Chicagoland native Matthew-Lee Erlbach (Showtime's Masters of Sex, Off-Broadway's Handbook for an American Revolutionary) and directed by ensemble member Tina Landau (Broadway's The SpongeBob Musical, Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes), this new American farce features Steppenwolf ensemble members Alana Arenas, Audrey Francis, Ora Jones, Sandra Marquez and James Vincent Meredith along with Michael Accardo, Whit K. Lee, Andy Nagraj and Karen Rodriguez. Previously announced ensemble member Gary Cole is no longer in the cast due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict.

In the dangerous back channels of international resource politics, a wealthy British businessman suffers an untimely accident just before a critical African copper deal is signed. So when his unwitting (and witless) American doppelganger is thrust into negotiations to avert intercontinental disaster, chaos erupts, leaving us wondering: whose side are we supposed to be on...and who will save Africa?? The Doppelganger (An International Farce) is a hilarious, irreverent and timely look at the back-room deals that shape our world and the unlikely cast of characters who make them.

Rainn Wilson is an Emmy nominated and SAG award-winning actor with Chicagoland roots (he graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill.) who has found himself in a variety of comedic and theatrical roles throughout his career. His first breakthrough role came when he played assistant mortician "Arthur Martin" in HBO's Six Feet Under, winning him and the cast a Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series." Wilson is best known for playing the inimitable "Dwight Schrute" for nine seasons on NBC's Emmy award-winning comedy The Office.

Wilson's film credits include the Netflix feature Shimmer Lake, directed by Oren Uziel; Hesher, opposite Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon-Levett; Super, with Kevin Bacon, Liv Tyler, and Ellen Page; Cooties opposite Elijah Wood; and the acclaimed comedies Juno and Almost Famous. Most recently he starred in The Boy, which premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival; Permanent, opposite Patricia Arquette. Next up, Wilson co-stars in Warner Bros adventure feature "The Meg," opposite Jason Statham.

On TV, Wilson portrayed the irascible but brilliant Detective Everett Backstrom in FOX's subversive/comic crime procedural Backstrom; and he recently appeared as a special guest star in Cameron Crowe's Showtime series Roadies. Most recently, he made a splash in the new season of Star Trek as conman 'Harry Mudd,' and is upcoming in the HBO Duplass series 'Room 104.'

Wilson has an MFA from NYU's Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts, and spent ten years doing theatre in New York before moving to Los Angeles. He was on Broadway in The Tempest with Patrick Stewart, and the Tony nominated London Assurance. Wilson worked off-Broadway at The Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons, and performed regularly at The Arena Stage, The Guthrie, and with the touring repertory theater The Acting Company. The comedy show he created, The New Bozena, had a successful off-Broadway run at The Cherry Lane, and later played in Los Angeles at The Hudson Guild and The Tiffany. Most recently, Wilson performed the critically acclaimed one-person monologue Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) at The Geffen.

Wilson founded the YouTube channel Soul Pancake, which has 2.5 million subscribers. In 2015 he published his memoir, "The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy."

The Doppelganger (An International Farce) begins previews April 5 (opening is April 15) and runs through May 27, 2018 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Press performances are Sunday, April 15 at 6pm and Tuesday, April 17 at 7:30pm. Single tickets ($20 - $99) go on sale this Friday, January 26 at 11am through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.


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