Monday, March 12, 2012

A "Reckoning" Season Coming Up for Steppenwolf in 2012-13

Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company has not only launched a splashy new look for their website, but also announced their upcoming 2012-13 season.

They're calling their upcoming season "The Reckoning," with the teaser "There comes a moment when we are called to account. Will our deeds be repaid? Will our secrets be revealed? Will we get what we deserve?"

All of which sounds like a very Steppenwolf season.

The five plays they've chosen to represent "what happens when the past comes knocking" are:

GOOD PEOPLE, by David Lindsay-Abaire. September 13 to November 11, 2012.
Lindsay-Abaire's Boston-based play opened on Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club just about a year ago, with a production directed by Daniel Sullivan and starring Frances McDormand as a down-on-her-luck single mother who turns up on the doorstep of an old boyfriend who turned out to be a lot more successful than anybody else in the neighborhood. McDormand won the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in "Good People." For Steppenwolf, ensemble member K. Todd Freeman will direct, with Alana Arenas, IWU alum Mariann Mayberry and Molly Regan in the cast.

THE MOTHERF*CKER WITH THE HAT, by Stephen Adly Guirgis. December 27, 2012 to March 3, 2013.
Everybody wanted to know how the Times and other papers would refer to this play. I don't think the asterisk is fooling anybody, but apparently, "Motherf*cker" is what we're all going with. It, too, played on Broadway last year, with comedian Chris Rock as a parole and drug abuse counselor. Cast members Bobby Cannavale, Yul Vázquez and Elizabeth Rodriguez were all nominated for Tonys, as was director Anna D. Shapiro, who will also be at the helm for this new production at Steppenwolf. Will Shapiro take the play and its comic storyline about a guy just out of prison who thinks his girlfriend is cheating on him in a new direction this time?

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, by Harold Pinter. January 24 to May 19, 2013.
This Pinter classic, full of menace, dread and murky motives, is about a birthday party in a dumpy seaside town, with two surprise guests who turn everything upside-down. "The Birthday Party" will be directed for Steppenwolf by Austin Pendleton, who recently visited ISU, with ISU alumni Francis Guinan and Moira Harris in the cast along with John Mahoney, Ian Barford and Harris's daughter Sophia Sinise.

HEAD OF PASSES, by Tarell Alvin McCraney. April 4 to June 9, 2013.
Another birthday party! McCraney's brand-new play is nowhere near Pinter's England, however. She sets her party "at the Mississippi River's mouth," which I'm assuming means New Orleans, with a family gathering that exposes old, dark secrets. McCraney's "Brother/Sister Plays" were directed by Tina Landau, who will also take on "Head of Passes." Look for Alana Arenas, K. Todd Freeman, U of I grad Jon Michael Hill, Tim Hopper and James Vincent Meredith, who memorably appeared at the Station Theatre in Urbana before his Steppenwolf tenure.

BELLEVILLE, by Amy Herzog. June 27 to August 25, 2013.
No, not Belleville, Illinois. Herzog's suspense drama is is set in the artsy, gentrified Belleville neighborhood in Paris, the one that appeared in "The Triplets of  Belleville." Zack and Abby, a pair of American 20-somethings, think they've found the perfect place to be hip and trendy, idealistic and Bohemian, young and in love. But there are ominous cracks in their marriage from the very start, contrasting their experience in Paris with the more stable French-African married couple who are their landlords. "Belleville" will be directed by Anne Kaufman, with omnipresent ensemble member Alana Arenas as well as Kate Arrington in the cast. Fun fact about playwright Amy Herzog: Her grandfather was Arthur Herzog, Jr., who wrote the song "God Bless the Child."

For information about subscriptions to Steppenwolf's "Reckoning" season, click here.


  1. Omnipresent Alana Arenas indeed! I had just started noticing that when you said it.

    Very interesting season, and what fun to see Molly Regan scheduled -- I wish I could get out there to see her in it.

    Of all the marriages that were going on when Steppenwolf was founded, I guess Gary Sinise / Moira Harris is the only one that's still going, decades later.

  2. I'd love to see Molly Regan and Moira Harris (and her daughter!) in these plays!

  3. Oddly enough, I commented on Jon's post yesterday. I said that I probably should've used "ubiquitous" instead of "omnipresent" and that I thought of Jon immediately when I saw Molly Regan's name.

    I would love to see Moira Harris and her daughter act together, but "The Birthday Party" is SO not my favorite play. Not sure about that one.