Steppenwolf 2019-20 Season Includes Cromer-Directed BUG, 4 World Premieres

Steppenwolf 2019-20 Season Includes Cromer-Directed BUG, 4 World Premieres

Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced the 2019/20 season today – its 44th.

“The 2019/20 Season reflects our collective commitment to create more stories for more of us and is sure to stoke novel conversation and broaden our appreciation of the every-day and the extraordinary. Whether it makes you laugh, cry or even ache, you will feel a little bit richer for having been a part of it,” said Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro.

Three world premieres are on the slate: ensemble member Eric Simonson’s “Lindiwe” with music written and performed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a love story that travels from Chicago’s Kingston Mines to South Africa and beyond; new ensemble member Rajiv Joseph’s “King James,” inspired by Lebron James’s impact on the city of Cleveland, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro, featuring ensemble member Glenn Davis and produced in association with the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles; and Isaac Gomez’s young audience premiere of “Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” adapted from the novel by Erika L. Sánchez, directed by Sandra Marquez, and starring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez.

Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Tracy Letts’s “Bug” will be produced for the first time at Steppenwolf, in a production directed by Tony Award-winning David Cromer and featuring ensemble members Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood.

The season also includes four Chicago premieres, beginning with Lauren Yee’s “The Great Leap,” directed by Jesca Prudencio, exploring American and Beijing relations in the late 1980s. “Dance Nation” by Clare Barron will be directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans, featuring ensemble members Audrey Francis, Caroline Neff and Karen Rodriguez. “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” by James Ijames will be directed by Whitney White and feature ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper and Ora Jones. Closing out the season is “Catch as Catch Can” by Mia Chung, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll and featuring ensemble member Audrey Francis.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults will open its season with a revival of Academy Award-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brothers Size,” directed by Monty Cole in his Steppenwolf directorial debut.

Memberships and group tickets are now on sale. Visit for more info.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 2019/20 Season – (descriptions from the press release):

Chicago Premiere
“The Great Leap”
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Jesca Prudencio
September 5 – October 20, 2019
In the Upstairs Theatre
When an American basketball team travels to Beijing amidst tensions in the late 80s, past relationships collide with present day revelations. Witty and weighty, this Chicago premiere explores cultural barriers, political risks and personal sacrifice. Lauren Yee’s “The Great Leap” is sure to be compelling to basketball fans, history buffs and everyone who has ever had a dream.

World Premiere
By ensemble member Eric Simonson
Music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Directed by ensemble member Eric Simonson and Jonathan Berry
Featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo
November 7 – December 29, 2019
In the Downstairs Theatre
The evocative live music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo forms the foundation of this Steppenwolf world premiere production written and co-directed by ensemble member Eric Simonson. As the story travels from Chicago’s Kingston Mines to South Africa and beyond, Lindiwe’s love story challenges us to define the boundaries between this world and the next, all the while exploring the sacrifices we make for love.

Chicago Premiere
“Dance Nation”
By Clare Barron
Directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans
Featuring ensemble members Audrey Francis, Caroline Neff and Karen Rodriguez
December 12, 2019 – January 26, 2020
In the Upstairs Theatre
A pre-teen dance troupe navigates ambition, friendship and desire as they claw their way to Nationals in Tampa Bay. Featuring a multigenerational cast of women playing our pre-teen heroines, this Chicago premiere is fiercely funny, theatrically inventive and full of heart.

By ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by David Cromer
Featuring ensemble members Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood
January 23 – March 8, 2020
In the Downstairs Theatre
In a seedy Oklahoma motel room, a lonely waitress begins an unexpected love affair with a young drifter. And then they see the first bugs…Tracy Letts’s mind-bending cult classic – a luridly funny tale of love, paranoia, and government conspiracy roars back to Chicago for its Steppenwolf debut.

Chicago Premiere
“The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington”
By James ljames
Directed by Whitney White
Featuring ensemble members Celeste M. Cooper and Ora Jones
April 2 – May 17, 2020
In the Downstairs Theatre
The recently widowed “Mother of America” lies helpless in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and attended to by the very enslaved people who will be free the moment she dies. The form-shifting fever dream that follows takes us deep into the ugly, uncomfortable and thorny ramifications of America’s original sin. Both fantastical and fraught with cruel reality, this Chicago premiere from a daring new voice pulls no punches as it puts our idols, and ourselves, on trial.

World Premiere
“King James”
By ensemble member Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro
Featuring ensemble member Glenn Davis
May 7 – June 21, 2020
In the Upstairs Theatre
“King” LeBron James’s reign in Cleveland brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city in desperate need of all three. As the city celebrates a championship, two estranged friends spar in a verbal game of 1 on 1, revealing past secrets, present truths, and a possible future after “The King” has left the building. Steppenwolf, in association with Center Theatre Group, co-presents this world premiere by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph and directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. “King James” will also be produced in Los Angeles as part of Center Theatre Group’s 2020/21 season.

Chicago Premiere
“Catch as Catch Can”
By Mia Chung
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll
Featuring ensemble member Audrey Francis
June 4 – July 26, 2020
In the Downstairs Theatre
Two blue collar New England families grapple with a spiraling crisis that threatens not just their relationships, but their very identities. Three actors take on the six roles, crossing both generation and gender, upending the kitchen sink drama in what will surely be a theatrical tour-de-force. A distinctive Chicago premiere by the gifted writer Mia Chung.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ 2019/20 Season

“The Brothers Size”
By ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Monty Cole
October 2 – 19, 2019
In the Downstairs Theatre
Returning to our stage for the first time since its celebrated Chicago premiere, Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size. Ogun Size is hardworking and heartbroken. Oshoosi Size is recently returned home from prison and trying to be anywhere but. In this fierce and honest look at the complex bonds of brotherhood, McCraney weaves together poetry, music and Yoruba mythology to magnify the tug-of-war between freedom and the need to belong somewhere, to something, to someone.

World Premiere
“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter”
Based on the book by Erika L. Sánchez
Adapted by Isaac Gomez
Directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez
Featuring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez
February 26 – March 21, 2020
In the Upstairs Theatre
A world premiere adaptation of Erika L. Sánchez’s award-winning novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter follows Julia, a Chicago high school student as she navigates trials and tribulations of following her dreams of becoming a writer alongside the death of her older sister, Olga—who might not have been quite as perfect as she seemed. This poignant and vibrant new work is a love story to young Chicanas who, in trying to find the truth about the people and the world around them, end up finding themselves.

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.