2019/20 Season

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The Great Leap

By Lauren Yee
Directed by Jesca Prudencio

September 5 – October 20, 2019
in the Upstairs Theatre

The Great Leap tells the story of Manford Lum, a local star of the sidewalk basketball courts of San Francisco’s Chinatown who strongarms his way onto an American college team travelling to Beijing for a “friendship” game. Set amidst the friction of post cultural revolution China, this Chicago premiere explores the cultural collide of identity and politics through the game of basketball. Witty and weighty, Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap keeps tensions high right up to the final buzzer.


By ensemble member Eric Simonson
Music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Directed by ensemble member Eric Simonson and Jonathan Berry
Featuring ensemble member Yasen Peyankov and Ladysmith Black Mambazo

November 7, 2019 – January 5, 2020
in the Downstairs Theatre

The evocative live music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo forms the foundation of this Steppenwolf world premiere production written and co-directed by ensemble member Eric Simonson. As the story travels from Chicago’s Kingston Mines to South Africa and beyond, Lindiwe’s love story challenges us to define the boundaries between this world and the next, all the while exploring the sacrifices we make for love

Dance Nation

By Clare Barron
Directed and choregraphed by Lee Sunday Evans
Featuring ensemble members Audrey Francis, Caroline NeffTim Hopper and Karen Rodriguez

December 12, 2019 – February 2, 2020
in the Upstairs Theatre

A pre-teen dance troupe navigates ambition, friendship and desire as they claw their way to Nationals in Tampa Bay. Featuring a multigenerational cast of women playing our pre-teen heroines, this Chicago premiere is fiercely funny, theatrically inventive and full of heart.


By ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by David Cromer
Featuring ensemble members Randall ArneyCarrie Coon and Namir Smallwood

January 23 – March 15, 2020
in the Downstairs Theatre

In a seedy Oklahoma motel room, a lonely waitress begins an unexpected love affair with a young drifter.  And then they see the first bugs... Tracy Letts’s mind-bending cult classic — a luridly funny tale of love, paranoia, and government conspiracy — roars back to Chicago for its Steppenwolf debut.

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington

By James Ijames
Directed by Whitney White
Featuring ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper

April 2 – May 17, 2020
in the Downstairs Theatre 

The recently widowed “Mother of America” lies helpless in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and attended to by the very enslaved people who are free the moment she dies. The form-shifting fever dream that follows takes us deep into the ugly, uncomfortable and thorny ramifications of America’s original sin. Both fantastical and fraught with cruel reality, this Chicago premiere from a daring new voice pulls no punches as it puts our idols, and ourselves, on trial.

King James

By ensemble member Rajiv Joseph
Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro
Featuring ensemble member Glenn Davis

May 7 – June 21, 2020
in the Upstairs Theatre

“King” LeBron James’s reign in Cleveland brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city in desperate need of all three.  As the city celebrates a championship, two estranged friends spar in a verbal game of 1 on 1, revealing past secrets, present truths, and a possible future after “The King” has left the building. Steppenwolf in association with Center Theatre Group co-present this world premiere by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, and directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro. King James will also be produced in LA as part of Center Theatre Group’s 2020/21 season.

Catch as Catch Can

By Mia Chung
Featuring ensemble members Gary ColeAudrey Francis and Tim Hopper

June 4 – July 26, 2020
in the Downstairs Theatre

Two blue collar New England families grapple with a spiraling crisis that threatens not just their relationships, but their very identities. Three actors take on the six roles, crossing both generation and gender, upending the kitchen sink drama in what will surely be a theatrical tour-de-force. A distinctive Chicago premiere by the gifted writer Mia Chung.



The Brothers Size

By ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Monty Cole
October 2 – 19, 2019
in the Downstairs Theatre

Returning to our stage for the first time since its celebrated Chicago premiere, Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size. Ogun Size is hardworking and heartbroken. Oshoosi Size is recently returned home from prison and trying to be anywhere but. In this fierce and honest look at the complex bonds of brotherhood, McCraney weaves together poetry, music and Yoruba mythology to magnify the tug-of-war between freedom and the need to belong somewhere, to something, to someone.

Recommended for grades 9+

Student performances at 10am will be held: Oct. 2, Oct. 3, Oct. 4, Oct. 8, Oct. 9, Oct. 10, Oct. 11, Oct. 15, Oct. 16, Oct. 17 and Oct. 18

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Based on the book by Erika L. Sánchez
Adapted by Isaac Gomez
Directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez
Featuring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez
February 26 – April 5, 2020
in the Upstairs Theatre

A world premiere adaptation of Erika L. Sánchez’s award-winning novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter follows Julia, a Chicago high school student as she navigates trials and tribulations of following her dreams of becoming a writer alongside the death of her older sister, Olga—who might not have been quite as perfect as she seemed. This poignant and vibrant new work is a love story to young Chicanas who, in trying to find the truth about the people and the world around them, end up finding themselves.

Recommended for grades 8+

Student performances at 10am will be held: Feb. 26, Feb. 27, Feb. 28, Mar. 3, Mar. 4, Mar. 5, Mar. 6, Mar. 10, Mar. 11, Mar. 12, Mar. 13, Mar. 17, Mar. 18, Mar. 19 and Mar. 20