Welcome to the 2017/18 Steppenwolf season. Following a year of many changes, both for our theater and for our country, I take great solace in looking toward another year with you. The theater has always been a place that has brought me closer to both the world around me and my own place in it and I know I share this feeling with so many of you.
Before November 9, I would have assumed we all shared a lot more than that, but since that baffling day I have learned not to assume any shared space with anyone. And as difficult as this new normal may be, as a person who makes theater it might not be such a bad thing. If awakenings, rude or not, are not heeded, they leave us only with an almost paralyzing sense of confusion, when what they also demand is that we lift our bowed heads and ask for more from this new, uncharted day.
The challenge for us as a theater company, a family of playmakers, is real. To assume a posture of intellectual curiosity when all you offer is self-referential confirmation of the life you are already leading is to not only squander the extraordinary opportunity we have all been given, it is to fly in the face of our actual function in this culture: to be at the front of a society’s understanding of itself, to show at every turn not just who we are but who it is possible for us to be.
The plays we programmed this season embrace conversations about what American culture is, the stories we tell ourselves and the truths we all share. With plays filled with humor
and joy, introspection and irreverence, Steppenwolf Theatre is poised and ready to join the art we make with the moment we are in and we plan on being a vital, uplifting and humane cultural leader for our city and our country, both of whom seem to need us now more than ever.
With world premieres by Tracy Letts, Aziza Barnes, Matthew-Lee Ehrlbach, the return of ensemble members John Mahoney, Gary Cole and Tina Landau, along with old friends Arian Moayed and Omar Metwally and new friends Nataki Garrett and Rajiv Joseph, this new Steppenwolf season reminds us that it is our diversity that makes us strong, our compassion that makes us human and our imaginations that illuminate the world.
Please join us for what I know will be many, many more moments of reflecting on who we are and celebrating all that we share.
Anna D. Shapiro