- Steppenwolf Theatre Company
. Martha Lavey, long-time ensemble member, has been artistic director since 1997 and David Hawkanson has been executive director since 2003.
In 1980, the theater company moved into a 134-seat theater at the Jane Addams Hull House Center on Broadway Avenue in Chicago proper. Two years later, the company moved to a 211-seat facility at 2851 N. Halsted Street, which was their home until 1991, when they completed construction on and moved into their current theater complex at 1650 N. Halsted Street. With its current subscription base of just under 20,000, the company has helped make Chicago a leading city in the performing arts.
In its inaugural season, the company presented
Paul Zindel's " And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little", "Grease", Tom Stoppard's " Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", and Tennessee Williams' " The Glass Menagerie".
Sam Shepard's "True West", starring Sinise and John Malkovich, was the first of many Steppenwolf productions to travel to New York City. In 1994, the company made its Los Angelesdebut with Steve Martin's first play, " Picasso at the Lapin Agile".
Following the 19 day
IATSEstage hand strike in December 2007, Steppenwolf opened its first new play written and directed by ensemble members at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. Tracy Letts' "" was hailed by the "New York Times" as "... flat out, no asterisks and without qualifications the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years." [cite news | author=Charles Isherwood | title=Mama Doesn’t Feel Well, but Everyone Else Will Feel Much Worse | url=http://theater2.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/theater/reviews/05august.html | work=The New York Times | date=05 December 2007| accessdate=2008-05-30] Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro and featuring seven ensemble members, "August: Osage County" was number one in "Time's" Top Ten Theatre Performances of 2007. [cite news| author=Richard Zoglin | coauthors=Tracy Letts| title=Top 10 Theater Productions | work=Time |url=http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/top10/article/0,30583,1686204_1686244_1692116,00.html | date=2007 | accessdate=2008-05-30] Tracy Letts' play went on to win the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. On May 13, 2008, after moving from New York's Imperial Theatre next door to The Musicbox Theatre for an open-ended run, "August: Osage County" garnered seven Tony Awardnominations including Best Play, Best Director, Best Leading Actress (Deanna Dunagan & Amy Morton), Best Featured Actress (Rondi Reed), Best set (Todd Rosenthal), and Best Lighting (Ann G. Wrightson).
Through its New Plays Initiative, the company maintains ongoing relationships with writers of international prominence and supports the work of aspiring and mid-career
playwrights. In 1988, Steppenwolf presented the world premiere of "The Grapes of Wrath", based on the John Steinbecknovel, which eventually went on to win the Tony Awardfor Best Play. In 2000 it presented the world premiere of Austin Pendleton's " Orson's Shadow", which subsequently was staged off-Broadwayand by regional theatres throughout the country. Steppenwolf operates several internship programs for students and young professionals.
Steppenwolf helped to launch the careers of a number of well-known American actors, including
Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, Joan Allen, John Mahoney, Martha Plimpton, Francis Guinan, Glenne Headly, Gary Cole, Kathryn Erbe, and Laurie Metcalf.
Among its many honors are the Tony Award for Regional Theatre Excellence (1985) and the National Medal of Arts (1998). The company currently is in its thirty-second season.
* [http://www.steppenwolf.org Steppenwolf Theatre Company official website]
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