An original theater production for adults, co-created with Chicago composer and lyricist John Fournier. A rocking band, an alluring Mistress of Ceremonies, and a daring stage crew have everything they need for a night of theatre…except a story to tell. A sudden altered identity thrusts the players on a collision course riddled with spontaneous characters, dangerous stunts, and a fierce runaway tale. Inspired by a range of sources including Brecht and the Fratellini clowns, 500 Clown packs a wallop of an original play with musical score by Chicago's own John Fournier.

About 500 Clown
500 Clown uses action-based performance, improvisation, and circus arts to tell long-form dramatic stories that catapult the performers into extreme physical and emotional risk. Their mission is to shift the audience from passive to active observers and create a charged environment that celebrates the unpredictable power of the moment.

500 Clown and the Elephant Deal takes Brecht’s Elephant Deal as its inspiration. Over years of making shows (since 2000), 500 Clown noticed that they had stumbled into Brechtian theatrical territory. Their clown-theater form had a popular and thought-provoking fluidity between the real world of the theater (occupied by audience members and actors) and the fictional world on stage. This made them curious to stage a Brecht play.

500 Clown chose Man is Man to be their launch pad and inspiration, though the group quickly departed from the play and instead created an original production for Steppenwolf's Visiting Company Initiative.

Watch & Listen

  1. #025: Director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig on 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal

    #025: Director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig on 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal

  2. 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal in Rehearsal

    500 Clown and the Elephant Deal in Rehearsal

Cast & Artists

The Artists

Buy Tickets

Tickets for this production are not currently on sale. Call 312-335-1650 for more information.

Running Time

Content Advisory

Steppenwolf does not offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any questions about content, age-appropriateness or stage effects (such as strobe lights or theatrical fog) that might have a bearing on patron comfort, please contact the box office at 312-335-1650.