Steppenwolf Announces 2017–18 Season

Regional News   Steppenwolf Announces 2017–18 Season Works by Rajiv Joseph, Aziza Barnes, and Jen Silverman join Tracy Letts’ Broadway-bound The Minutes.
Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed
Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Guards at the Taj Doug Hamilton

Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre has announced its 2017–18 season. Six works join the previously announced new comedy from Tracy Letts, The Minutes, which will transfer to Broadway in early 2018, as announced earlier this month by producer Scott Rudin.

HR - Tracy Letts.jpg
Tracy Letts

In addition to The Minutes, the lineup includes the Chicago premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj featuring the original Off-Broadway cast, Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed; the world premiere of award-winning poet Aziza Barnes BLKS, which depicts a day in the life of four women of color in New York; an international farce from Matthew-Lee Erlbach; Clare Barron’s Obie Award-winning play You Got Older; a new play by The Amish Project playwright Jessica Dickey; and the Chicago premiere of The Roommate by Jen Silverman.

“The plays we programmed this season embrace conversations about what American culture is, the stories we tell ourselves and the truths we all share,” comments artistic director Anna D. Shapiro in a press statement. Shapiro, who directed by Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning family drama August: Osage County, is reuniting with the playwright for the world premiere of The Minutes.

“With plays filled with humor and joy, introspection and irreverence, Steppenwolf Theatre is poised and ready to join the art we make with the moment we are in, and we plan on being a vital, uplifting and humane cultural leader for our city and our country, both of which need us now more than ever,” she continues.

Production details, including dates and initial casting, are outlined by Steppenwolf below:

The Rembrandt
By Jessica Dickey
Directed by Hallie Gordon
Featuring ensemble members Francis Guinan and John Mahoney
September 7–October 22, 2017
When a museum guard decides to touch a famous Rembrandt painting, a remarkable journey across the ages ensues. Spanning centuries of human experience, Jessica Dickey’s The Rembrandt movingly explores the power of creative expression and the sacrifices we make in the pursuit of love and beauty, reminding us that though our beliefs may die with the sound of our voice, it’s the love we share—and the art that love inspires—that finds eternity.

The Minutes
By ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by artistic director Anna D. Shapiro
Featuring ensemble members Ian Barford, Francis Guinan, and Tim Hopper
November 9–December 31, 2017
A town’s proud history, the legend of a local hero, the coveted privilege of reserved parking: nothing is sacred during the town council meeting at the heart of Tracy Letts’ new play. This razor-sharp comedy turns from hilarious to chilling as petty policy matters give way to the truth roiling just beneath the surface of the town’s historical mythology.


BLKS
By Aziza Barnes
Directed by Nataki Garrett
Featuring ensemble member Namir Smallwood
December 7, 2017–January 21, 2018
Some days feel like they will never end. After a morning that includes a cancer scare and kicking her girlfriend out of the house, Octavia decides to have a last turn up with her best friends. In poet Aziza Barnes’s ingenious portrait of a day in the life of four young women of color in New York City, BLKS explores the joy and anguish of growing up and out. Riotously funny and magically rendered, Barnes’s playwriting debut marks the arrival of a truly original contemporary American voice.

You Got Older
By Clare Barron
Directed by Jonathan Berry
Featuring ensemble members Audrey Francis and Caroline Neff
January 25–March 11, 2018
There’s a haunted place between where we started and where we need to be that finds the most tender among us—and breaks them open. In You Got Older, Clare Barron’s bawdy, irreverent and touching play, Mae, brokenhearted and unemployed, returns home to care for her ailing father and escape the loneliness of a life that just can’t seem to get off the ground.

The Doppelgänger (an international farce)
By Matthew-Lee Erlbach
Directed by ensemble member Tina Landau
Featuring ensemble members Alana Arenas, Gary Cole, Ora Jones, Sandra Marquez, and James Vincent Meredith
April 5–May 20, 2018
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 doppelgänger 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? This new American 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.

Guards at the Taj
By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by ensemble member Amy Morton
Featuring original cast members Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed
May 31–July 15, 2018
India 1648. The dawn will reveal for the first time the extraordinary beauty of the Taj Mahal, built as a tribute to the ruler who demanded its construction. But for two hapless imperial guards, the morning light brings with it an unspeakable task that will shake their faith in God, the empire and their lifelong friendship. This boldly funny and deeply moving play examines the true meaning of beauty and the cost of transcendence in a world that confuses the value of both.

The Roommate
By Jen Silverman
Director TBD
Featuring ensemble members Ora Jones and Sandra Marquez
June 21–August 5, 2018
Sharon is Midwestern nice. But to Robyn, her new roommate from the Bronx, that just means nosy and very, very talkative. A comical mismatch leads to a surprising and touching friendship in this new comedy about how early-life choices lead to mid-life challenges and the unexpected rewards of bridging the divide.

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