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The Steppenwolf ensemble first began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church, the ambitious brainchild of three high school and college friends: Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise. Fast forward 40 years and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company has become the nation’s premier ensemble theater—redefining the landscape of acting and performance. The ensemble has grown to 49 members who represent a remarkable generation of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling, powerful, groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and Grapes of Wrath to August: Osage County—and accolades that included the National Medal of Arts and twelve Tony® Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf’s artistic force remains rooted in the original vision of its founders: an artist-driven theater, whose vitality is defined by its sharp appetite for groundbreaking, innovative work.

Steppenwolf operates as a not-for-profit organization relying on community support to produce or presents up to 16 plays and nearly 700 performances, readings and other events every year on our three stages. The theater’s artistic and educational programs draw a multi-generational audience of nearly 200,000 from the greater metropolitan Chicago area, while our impact reaches well beyond this region with productions that tour nationally and internationally.

Our Mission

Steppenwolf Theatre Company strives to create thrilling, courageous, and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment.

We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy, and joy.

We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.


Steppenwolf is committed to year-round programming that engages our multi-generational audience with thought-provoking productions and helps develop new plays, new audiences and new artists for the future of American theater.

Beginning in 2016/17, Steppenwolf expands artistic programming to include a seven-play Season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a new multidisciplinary performance series.

Front Bar

Located in front of the 1700 Theatre, Front Bar is a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to midnight, and 8am to 7pm on Monday (or later on show days), Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso and tea by La Colombe Coffee Roasters, with food by The Goddess and Grocer.

Complimentary parking for Front Bar is available in the 1700 N Halsted lot from 7am-5pm on weekdays, and 7am-12pm on weekends. Visit the Front Bar website.

Front Bar was developed with consultation from Steppenwolf’s friends and neighbors, Boka Restaurant Group (BRG), along with interior designers Karen Herold and Kayce Carter of Studio K and the marketing and design firm Grip. 


Our one-of-a-kind special events are unique opportunities to celebrate the work seen on our stages. We endeavor to create an environment where our various communities can come together to talk about the ideas expressed in our work and to share their unique experiences.

Our annual events include:

Outreach & Education

At Steppenwolf we believe it is important "to share something personal, authentic and pragmatic" about our values and methods. By accomplishing this, we not only contribute something of value to the world but in turn provide nourishment for our own growth as artists and arts administrators. For more information you can visit the Education section of our website or choose from the programs below.

Our education and Outreach programs include: