Steppenwolf Theatre Company hosted a public memorial celebrating the life of ensemble member and former artistic director Martha Lavey, who passed earlier this year at the age of 60. On October 9, more than 500 people gathered in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre for a tribute to the cultural leader, hosted by current Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro and Executive Director David Schmitz.

Speakers included ensemble members Amy Morton, Bruce Norris, Yasen Peyankov, Molly Regan (sharing the words of ensemble member Austin Pendleton) along with Jenny Avery, Doug Brown, Ben Cameron, Curt Columbus, Nora Daley, Michele Dragisity, Evan Hatfield, Bruce Sagan, Jessica Thebus and Andy White. The event also included musical performances by the All Nations Worship Assembly Chicago Ensemble, Suzi Petri and ensemble member Jim True-Frost.

The following morning, the stretch of Halsted Street in front of Steppenwolf was renamed “Martha Lavey Way” in an honorary ceremony.

Lavey passed away on April 25, 2017, due to complications from a stroke.


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