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Steep Theatre Company has announced its upcoming 17th season, featuring a Chicago premiere from Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, a world premiere from Calamity West, a U.S. premiere from Tony and Olivier Award-winner Simon Stephens, and a Midwest premiere from Penelope Skinner. Steep Ensemble Members Brad DeFabo Akin, Jonathan Berry, and Robin Witt and Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Audrey Francis are slated to direct.
“I don‘t know what excites me more: the line-up of playwrights or the line-up of directors. It‘s a lovely problem to have,“ said Artistic Director Peter Moore. “They are some of the essential voices of right here and right now, and we‘re honored to provide a home for them this coming season.”
The season kicks off in October with the Chicago premiere of the OBIE award-winning geopolitical thriller THE INVISIBLE HAND by Ayad Akhtar, directed by Audrey Francis. Akhtar won the Pulitzer Prize for DISGRACED, which premiered in 2012 at American Theatre Company in Chicago and later played on Broadway.
In January, Brad DeFabo Akin directs the world premiere of Calamity West’s HINTER, based on the true story of a murder on a farm in 1922 Germany.
Jonathan Berry will direct the U.S. premiere of Simon Stephens’ BIRDLAND in April. Stephens, who won a Tony and Olivier Award for THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, is an Associate Playwright with Steep. This production will mark the fifth Steep-Stephens collaboration, which includes HARPER REGAN, PORNOGRAPHY, MOTORTOWN, and last season’s WASTWATER.
The U.S. premiere of Penelope Skinner’s LINDA, directed by Robin Witt, will close out the season in July. LINDA, a story of an aging beauty industry titan, premiered at the Royal Court in 2015 and at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2017.
Steep’s 2017-2018 season (from the press release):
THE INVISIBLE HAND
By Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Audrey Francis
October 5 – November 11, 2017
A Chicago Premiere
An American banker has been taken hostage by an isolated militant group in Pakistan. When his ransom goes unpaid, his only hope is to trade on his expertise in international finance to earn his way to freedom, whatever the cost. The Invisible Hand is a geopolitical thriller from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar.
By Calamity West
Directed by Brad DeFabo Akin
January 25 – March 3, 2018
A World Premiere
A gruesome murder scene has been discovered at the Gruber family’s small farmstead, Hinterkaifeck. Set in 1922 Germany and inspired by real events, Calamity West’s Hinter is a chilling tale about a family, a community, and the post-World War I socio-political climate by one of Chicago’s most exciting new playwrights.
By Simon Stephens
Directed by Jonathan Berry
April 5 – May 12, 2018
A U.S. Premiere
Paul has attained rock stardom and all the spoils that go with it. As his world tour winds its way home, the rewards of his fame are quickly diminishing. Birdland is a sexy, searing exploration of empathy by Olivier and Tony Award winner Simon Stephens.
By Penelope Skinner
Directed by Robin Witt
July 12 – August 18, 2018
A Midwest Premiere
Linda Wilde is a titan – an award-winning executive of a beauty corporation with a brilliant new campaign up her sleeve. She’s also a wife, a mother, and a woman “of a certain age,” but her success in balancing family and career hasn’t prepared her for the battle for visibility in a world focused on everlasting youth. Olivier Award nominee Penelope Skinner’s Linda is a searingly funny portrait of a woman on the front lines of the fight for relevance.