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Caroline Neff and Sandra Marquez to join Steppenwolf ensemble

Caroline Neff, one of two actresses joining the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble. (Photo: Chris Popio)

That Chicago tribe widely known as Steppenwolf Theatre has just welcomed two additional members into the family – actresses Sandra Marquez and Caroline Neff.

Both Marquez and Neff have extensive credits on a wide variety of stages in Chicago and beyond, and have performed in multiple shows with the company. Marquez currently plays a nurse in Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe,” running through June 5 in the Downstairs Theatre. Neff is on stage through May 8 in the Upstairs Theatre where she plays a movie projectionist in Annie Baker’s “The Flick” – her sixth show with Steppenwolf. They are the first two members to be added to the ensemble since Anna D. Shapiro became the company’s artistic director last year, and bring its total population to 46.

Actress Sandra Marquez is one of two new additions to the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble. (Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux)
Actress Sandra Marquez is one of two new additions to the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble. (Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux)

In a prepared statement Shapiro said: “Over the years the ensemble has developed strong ties with Sandra Marquez and Caroline Neff, and we are thrilled to welcome them into our Steppenwolf family. Their incredible talents and collaborative approach have enriched our work, and we look forward to continuing to build our creative relationships with them as we enter an exciting new chapter in our history.”

Marquez, an actor, director and longtime ensemble member of Teatro Vista (for which she served as associate artistic director from 1998 – 2006), previously appeared in Steppenwolf’s productions of “The Motherf**ker with the Hat,” directed by Shapiro, as well as “Sonia Flew,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “One Arm” and “The Boiler Room” (for Steppenwolf for Young Adults). Other credits include “Iphigenia at Aulis” (which will travel to The Getty Villa in the fall of 2017); “Agamemnon” and the upcoming “Electra” (at Court Theater); “The Happiest Song Plays Last,” “Mariela in The Desert,” “Electricidad” and “The Upstairs Concierge” (all at the Goodman Theater); “Mojada” (at Victory Gardens); “Mala Hierba” (at New York’s Second Stage Theater, Uptown), and “Breakfast Lunch and Dinner” (at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival). She directed Teatro Vista’s productions of “My Manana Comes” and “Our Lady of the Underpass,” and received a Jeff Award for her performance in that company’s recent revival of “A View from the Bridge.” A member of the theater faculty at Northwestern University, Marquez’s film and television credits include “Boss,” “Empire,” “Chicago Med” and “Timer.”

“I am absolutely honored, excited and gob-smacked by this invitation to join the artists of Steppenwolf whom I respect and admire so much,” said Marquez in a prepared statement. “I celebrate this invitation with my Latino community here in Chicago and across the country. Together, we will continue to pave the way for opportunities like this.”

Neff is an acclaimed Chicago-based actor currently performing in her sixth show with Steppenwolf, and she will be featured next season in Steppenwolf’s world premiere of Erika Sheffer’s “The Fundamentals, running Nov. 10 – Dec. 23. She was featured in Steppenwolf’s world premiere of Lisa D’Amour’s “Airline Highway,” which transferred to the Manhattan Theatre Club production that marked her Broadway debut. Other Steppenwolf credits include “The Way West” (2014), “Three Sisters” (2012), “Annie Bosh is Missing” (2013) and “Where We’re Born” (2011). Select Chicago credits include “A Brief History of Helen of Troy,” “Harper Regan” and “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings” (all with Steep Theatre Company); “The Downpour” (Route 66 Theatre); “Port” (Griffin Theatre); “4000 Miles” (Northlight Theatre); “Cherrywood” (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.); and “Moonshiner” (Jackalope Theatre). Most recently she appeared in “Peerless” (Yale Repertory Theatre). Neff is the recipient of the 2011 non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Principal Role in a Play for “A Brief History of Helen of Troy” at Steep, where she is an ensemble member. Her television and film credits include “Chicago P.D” (in a recurring role as Olive Morgan), “Chicago Fire,” “Open Tables” and “Older Children.”

“I am beyond honored to be a part of an ensemble that is creating some of the most vital theater in the world,” said Neff. “One of my favorite things about riding the Brown Line is the stretch of track between Armitage and Sedgwick because it offers this wonderful view of the entire Steppenwolf campus. Simply passing by and seeing the marquee, the building (and the giant ‘August: Osage County’ poster) inspires me, and encourages me to do better work.”