Steppenwolf to stage ‘Constellations’; Jon Michael Hill to star

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Steppenwolf Theatre today announced it has added British playwright Nick Payne’s “Constellations” to its summer lineup.

The Chicago premiere of Payne’s critically acclaimed work will begin previews May 26, with opening night scheduled for June 1. Directing the production is Steppenwolf artistic producer Jonathan Berry. The two-character drama will feature ensemble member Jon Michael Hill (“Elementary”) as Roland; the role of Marianne will be announced at a later date.

“Constellations,” which debuted at London’s Royal Court before moving the West End and later Broadway (with a cast that included Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson), tells the story of beekeeper Roland and theoretical physicist Marianne, who meet at a party by chance and whose relationship can lead to a brief affair or a meaningful relationship — or they may just go their separate ways. In a series of vignettes, their romance plays out over a variety of possible lifetimes depending on the paths they choose.

Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean in the 2008 Steppenwolf Theatre production of “Superior Donuts.” | Photo by Michael Brosilow

Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean in the 2008 Steppenwolf Theatre production of “Superior Donuts.” | Photo by Michael Brosilow

A Steppenwolf ensemble member since 2007, Hill is currently starring as Det. Marcus Bell in the CBS series “Elementary.” His portrayal of the street-smart Franco in Steppenwolf’s 2008 world-premiere production of Tracy Letts’ “Superior Donuts” (opposite Michael McKean) led to a Tony Award nomination for his role reprisal when the show arrived on Broadway in 2009.

“’Constellations’ is a play that has been on my radar for some time. It’s a beautiful navigation of all that is extraordinarily complex and imminently possible within a human relationship. I can’t imagine a better place to explore this work than at Steppenwolf, where the focus can so fully be on the work of the two actors in this intimate space,” said Berry via today’s official announcement. Berry, who makes his main season Steppenwolf directorial debut with “Constellations,” has directed for numerous Chicago theater companies including the Goodman, Griffin, Remy Bumppo and Lifeline, and is currently directing the Steep Theatre production of “Posh.”

Single tickets ($20-$89) for “Constellations” will go on sale at 11 a.m. March 18 at the theater box office, 1650 N. Halsted) and at steppenwolf.org. Note: A limited number of half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.

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