Harold Pinter...the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation.
-The New York Times


At a sleepy seaside boarding house in England, the humdrum routine of corn flakes, newspapers and naps is interrupted by the appearance of two mysterious strangers. They become guests at longtime tenant Stanley's surprise birthday party which, after a few glasses of whiskey, party games and a mysterious blackout, turns into a deliciously impalpable nightmare. As excuses and alliances hastily shift, so does the truth in Harold Pinter's riveting dark-comic masterpiece.

Harold Pinter was a director, actor and one of the most influential modern British dramatists, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. His celebrated, ultimately undefinable classic The Birthday Party derives its power from Pinter's brilliantly mysterious yet comic riff on the absurd terrors of the everyday.
Find out more about Harold Pinter.

New Upstairs Theatre

Director and ensemble member Austin Pendleton and scenic designer Walt Spangler are creating an exciting new set for The Birthday Party, which involves bringing the audience closer to the story—literally. We will be reconfiguring the Upstairs Theatre by moving the stage to the center of the room, creating a space that allows for better acoustics and greater intimacy with the audience up front and up close to the action. No seat will be more than eight rows from the stage. This artist-generated design allows for elements of fun and surprise that should make for a compelling and exciting play-going experience.

Watch & Listen

  1. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> Trailer


  2. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> Audience Reaction Video

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Audience Reaction Video

  3. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> in Production

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY in Production

  4. <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i> in Rehearsal

    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY in Rehearsal

  5. Season Trailer 2012/13

    Season Trailer 2012/13

Cast & Artists

The Artists

The Cast


"Highly Recommended!"
–Chicago Sun-Times

"Time has proven its brilliance"
–Chicago Tribune

"Creepily sinister, often darkly funny play"
–Chicago Sun-Times

"Huge waves of intrigue crest and fall at this beachside haven"
–The Fourth Walsh

"Spellbinding...this is a 'Birthday Party' you will not soon forget"
–Chicago Sun-Times

Program Articles

Welcome to The Birthday Party

A welcome letter from Artistic Director Martha Lavey


Designer Walt Spangler discusses the set for The Birthday Party with Artistic Director Martha Lavey.

Lies that Bind

Steppenwolf’s Literary Manager Aaron Carter shares his personal connection to the play

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.

Additional Information

You may purchase "Best Available" seats to this production, but to select your own seats please contact Audience Services at
(New!) Upstairs Theatre Info & Seat Map Map / Directions to the theatre The Birthday Party Program

Special Performances

Sign Language-Interpreted
Sunday, March 31 at 7:30pm

Open Captioning
Saturday, April 27 at 3pm

Audio Description and Touch Tour
Sunday, April 14
Touch Tour: 1:30pm
Curtain: 3pm

More from the 2012-13 Season


  • Official 2012/13 Season Lighting Sponsor
    Official 2012/13 Season Lighting Sponsor
  • Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund
    Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund