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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 46 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 is where great acting meets big ideas. Our passion is to tell stories about how we live now. Our mission is to engage audiences in an exchange of ideas that makes us think harder, laugh longer, feel more.


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 new 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 daily from 7am to midnight,Front Bar serves artisanal coffee, espresso and tea by La Colombe, and features a morning and evening menu curated by Chef Chris Pandel. 

Complimentary parking for Front Bar will be available in the 1700 N Halsted lot from 7am-5pm on weekdays, and 7am-11am on weekends. The official website is www.front-bar.com.

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: