Steppenwolf channels New Orleans in EXPLORE event

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In conjunction with its production of Lisa D’Amour’s New Orleans-themed play, “Airline Highlway,” the Steppenwolf Theatre will host a free Big Easy-themed EXPLORE event in its Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17.

“EXPLORE: The World of ‘Airline Highway’,” will feature live music provided by Four Star Brass Band (a Chicago-based New Orleans-style band), as well as authentic New Orleans cuisine prepared by Blue Door Farm Stand. Performance poetry from New Orleans-based Danny Kerwick, the real-life inspiration for the play’s character of Francis, will kick off the event. Kerwick will be joined by such Chicago-based performance poets as Gregorio Gomez, Marty McConnell and Billy Tuggle. Participants also will have the chance to make their own Mardi Gras masks and take some photos before heading next door to the Downstairs Theatre to see Steppenwolf’s production of D’Amour’s play.


Hedy Weiss’ review of “Airline Highway”

EXPLORE events, which are tailored to create an immersive environment that reflects the world of a particular play, are free, but space is limited. To reserve a spot and to book tickets ($20-$82) to “Airline Highway” itself, call (312) 335-1650. (NOTE: Steppenwolf is offering a special EXPLORE 25-percent-off ticket valid only for the Jan. 17 matinee at 3 p.m. Use code 19075 when ordering.)

This world premiere of “Airline Highway,” directed by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello, runs through Feb. 8 and will be presented on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club in Spring 2015. Set in the parking lot of The Hummingbird, a once-glamorous motel on New Orleans’ infamous Airline Highway, the play homes in on a rag-tag collection of strippers, hustlers and philosophers who have gathered to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies.

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