Danai Gurira, Bruce Norris, Tarell Alvin McCraney plays set for Steppenwolf

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Danai Gurira’s “Familiar” will be presented as part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s 2018-2019 season. | Little Frog Photos

The world premiere of Bruce Norris’ new play “Downstate,” the remount of Academy Award-winnerTarell Alvin McCraney’s “Wig Out,” and a new production of Danai Gurira’s “Familiar,” are just a sampling of the eclectic 2018-2019 season announced Wednesday by Steppenwolf Theatre.

“One of the things we’re trying to focus on is building seasons that will embrace and reflect our community,” said Steppenwolf Theatre artistic director Anna D. Shapiro, about the new season’s programming. “Steppenwolf is first and foremost a Chicago theater and we look for works that reflect our ongoing conversation with the people who were lucky enough to serve.”

The season will also feature Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” Lucy Kirkwood’s “The Children,” the world premiere of Isaac Gomez’s “La Ruta” and the company’s revival of Sam Shepard’s “True West,” originally staged at Steppenwolf in 1982.

Sandra Marquez | Courtesy Steppenwolf Theatre

Sandra Marquez | Courtesy Steppenwolf Theatre

Here’s some of what Shapiro had this to say about the season:

Bruce Norris | Courtesy Steppenwolf Theatre

Bruce Norris | Courtesy Steppenwolf Theatre

— “Downstate” (Sept. 20-Nov. 4, directed by Pam MacKinnon, featuring K. Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan and Tim Hopper): Bruce [Norris] is so popular in the U.K., and he has a relationship with those artists that’s very real, and a relationship with us is very real. This is a true collaboration between us and the National Theatre of Great Britain. Half the cast is from the U.K., half is from here. Half the design team is from the U.K. as is the producing team. This production will move to The National. We’ve been trying to it since we did ‘August’ [Osage County] over there. Ten years, here we are.”

The Chicago premiere of “Familiar” (Nov. 15, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019, director TBA): “We’re so excited to do ‘Familiar.’ That’s a play that I loved when I read it two years ago but it was really hard to get. It did very well in New York so they held on to it for a little while. Danai [the Tony Award-winner who currently stars in the blockbuster “Black Panther”] is very present in the licensing of her play and we’re fortunate she said yeas to us. It’s a great cast of Ora Jones and Celeste Cooper.”

— The world premiere of Chicago-based playwright Isaac Gomez’s “La Ruta” (Dec. 13, 2018-Jan. 27, 2019, directed by Sandra Marquez): “‘La Ruta’ is a beautiful, soaring piece about the highway through which a lot of Mexican women travel and also disappear along the way. The work is astonishing. We workshopped it last year and did a reading at our 1700 Cabaret and the meaning of it rippled throughout the building.”

— “A Doll’s House, Part 2″ (Jan. 31-March 17, 2019, director TBA, featuring Celeste M. Cooper, Sandra Marquez and Yasen Peyankov): “I loved it when I read it and even more when I saw it. Sandra [Marquez] is perfect for the part. We’re so excited that Laurie [ensemble member Laurie Metcalf who won the Tony Award on Broadway for the show] and equally thrilled that Sandra is now stepping into the role here in Chicago.”

— “The Children” (April 18-June 9, 2019, directed by Jonathan Berry, featuring Ora Jones and Yasen Peyankov): “This was a huge hit in London and then New York. We have a multi-generational artistic staff and when we pick our lineup it sometimes goes right down those generational lines. But this is one play we all really loved and were deeply moved by. ”

— “Wig Out” (May 23-July 7, 2019, directed by Tina Landau): “We’re so excited that Tina is doing anotherplay with us. She called us and said Tarell would love to revisit ‘Wig Out.’ It was very successful for them at The Vineyard in New York. We were thrilled. And then she said:“Tarell wants to star in it. It’s important to him because of what it’s about and who it’s speaking to. He’s never starred in the play and he said he wants to do it before he’s too old to do it.” We love the play and what it’s talking about: being able to be comfortable in your own skin. We love that Tarell is able to take this play in this moment in time and do this piece here. It’s a brand new production with some script changes and some of the original company coming back.”

— “True West” (July 5 – August 18, 2019, director TBA): “We close out the season with our revival of ‘True West’ with Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood. This was a legendary production for Steppenwolf in 1982. What better way to marry what Steppenwolf was to who Steppenwolf is?”

For complete season information and subscription series tickets only, visit steppenwolf.org/memberships. Single tickets will go on sale at a later date.

Tarell Alvin McCraney | Jean-Marc Giboux

Tarell Alvin McCraney | Jean-Marc Giboux

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