The Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre is an intimate 299-seat alley theatre located on the third floor of 1650 N Halsted. The stage is at the center of the room, creating a space that allows for excellent acoustics and intimacy with the audience up front and up close to the action. No seat is more than eight rows from the stage. This design allows for elements of fun and surprise that make for a compelling and exciting play-going experience.
Each season, one subscription series play and one Steppenwolf for Young Adults play is produced in the Upstairs Theatre. Occasionally special events are produced in the space, such as comedian Jeff Garlin's two-week run of Closer Than I Appear.
The lobby of the Upstairs Theatre features a comfortable lounge, a fully-stocked bar, and a lobby display designed to enrich and inform the world of the currently-running production.
Formerly the Steppenwolf Studio, the Upstairs Theatre was inaugurated in 1993 with Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Some of the notable productions in the Upstairs space include ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays, Conor McPherson’s Dublin Carol, Laura Eason’s Sex with Strangers, Anton Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard, Frank Galati's after the quake and Joel Drake Johnson's The Fall to Earth. The intimate confines of the Upstairs Theatre also hosted solo performers Karen Finley, Jeff Garlin, Ricky Jay, David Sedaris, and Heather Woodbury, among others.
The Upstairs Theatre has hosted a number of acclaimed Chicago theatres, including City Lit Theatre, European Repertory Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Naked Eye Theatre Company, Roadworks Productions, Second Stage Theatre, 500 Clown and TurnAround Theatre. Redmoon Theater Company has presented world premiere adaptations such as Frankenstein, Hunchback, Unbinding Isaac, and Seagull. About Face Theatre presented the Chicago premiere of Take Me Out and the world premieres of Theater District and the Jeff-winning musical Winesburg, Ohio, first produced in a one-act version under Steppenwolf for Young Adults.