Though the coronavirus pandemic shut down theatres across the country for over a year now, Steppenwolf Theatre Company spent its time off the stage building its new, expansive campus. Announced in March 2019, the 50,000-square-foot facility, which includes a new in-the-round performance space and dedicated education floor, was initially slated to open this summer. It’ll now welcome back in-person audiences in November (on one of its previously existing stages) before showing off its new venue beginning in February 2022.
The new plans replace Steppenwolf's earlier intentions to resume in-person shows this December, though a handful of the initially announced titles remain in the upcoming roster.
For the first time, the theatre’s season lineup features works exclusively by Steppenwolf Ensemble Members: Tracy Letts, Rajiv Joseph, Tina Landau, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Yasen Peyankov.
Before in-person performances begin, a slate of virtual offerings will stream in the fall: a triple-bill of one-acts by Letts, a world premiere by McCraney directed by fellow ensemble member Amy Morton, and the Landau-penned and-helmed The Light Remains.
David Cromer’s production of Letts’ Bug, which was playing in 2020 up until the coronavirus shutdown, will resume performances at Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater beginning November 11. The cast includes ensemble members Namir Smallwood, Carrie Coon (who is also married to Letts), Randall Arney, Jennifer Engstrom, and Steve Key. Performances will run through December 12.
Joseph’s King James, about basketball superstar Lebron James, will play the Downstairs Theater February 24–April 3, 2022. Glenn Davis and Christ Perfetti star in the Anna D. Shapiro-directed world premiere. The piece is a co-production with Center Theatre Group; the L.A. company’s plans to present the play are on hold.
Steppenwolf’s long-in-development staging of Chekhov’s Seagull, which was initially slated to play this summer, will be the inaugural mainstage presentation in the new Round Theater. The production, adapted and directed by Yasen Peyankov, will run April 28–June 12, 2022, with a cast comprised entirely of Steppenwolf Ensemble members.
Rounding out the in-person season is the rescheduled staging of McCraney’s Choir Boy, directed by Kent Gash. The Tony-nominated play will run in the Downstairs Theater June 16–July 24.
Meanwhile, The Young Adults series will include both a fall virtual production and a 2022 in-person staging: Joseph’s The Red Folder Project (featuring Coon), and the stage adaptation of Eve L. Ewing’s 1919 (which will be the first production to take the Round Theater stage, in February).