Steppenwolf Announces Summer Lineup in New ‘1700 Theatre’

Steppenwolf Announces Summer Lineup in New ‘1700 Theatre’

Fawzia Mirza in ME, MY MOM AND SHARMILA. Photo: Joe Mazza

Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced today the summer lineup for LookOut, a new multi-genre performance series, presenting a variety of work from a diverse array of artists, including concerts, theater, a live game show, and a live podcast festival, and Laurie Metcalf in the previously announced VOICE LESSONS. LookOut programming will take place throughout the summer in the 1700 Theatre, Steppenwolf’s new 80-seat black box space at 1700 N Halsted St, which connects to the existing building.

“LookOut will showcase the rich variety of performance in Chicago and nationwide. This infusion of new creative voices will enliven the Steppenwolf experience for our audiences and artists alike,” says Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. “We’re thrilled to offer so many adventurous artists, working across and between creative genres, a place to showcase their work, as well as more opportunities for the ensemble to experiment and share the work of the artists who inspire them.”

The lineup as described by Steppenwolf’s press release:

Charlie Strater and Friends
Thursday, May 19

Charlie Strater honed his songwriting and performing skills like many other artists, by playing countless restaurant and tavern gigs. After releasing his critically acclaimed debut recording, Bluesy Stuff, he quickly earned a name for himself as a powerhouse performer with skilled blues-guitar chops and a vocal intensity and passion. His second album Thornhill Road, an exuberant exploration of acoustic blues, funk, bluegrass and troubadour folk, continued to define himself as a uniquely modern singer/songwriter and guitarist.  His third album Charlie Strater combined country and rock in an album that Copeland Music says, “hits the emotional bull’s eye in each song.”

Curio & Mikey Classic
Friday, May 20

Curio is a hell-raisin’ and soul-shakin’ rock n’ roll band from Chicago. Their music is steeped in southern gothic lore by way of the Midwest. Heavily influenced by the growl of Chicago blues, the low-down and dirty swamp rock of Louisiana and the twang of Tennessee country, Curio conjures a sound that has as many influences as there are miles on I-55 from The Windy City to The Big Easy.

Me, My Mom and Sharmila
Written and Performed by Fawzia Mirza
Monday, May 23 & Tuesday, May 24

A hilarious coming-of-age story told by a first generation American woman of color. At some point, we all realize we are not exactly the person our parents expected us to become. How do we find our own voice and embrace our personal identity in the face of societal and familial pressures? Told with humor and deep insight, dynamic writer-performer Fawzia Mirza shares a journey of self-discovery and strength that carries her all the way from childhood as a Pakistani Muslim in small-town Canada to living out as an actress in the heart of

Voice Lessons 
By Justin Tanner
As originally directed by Bart Delorenzo
Produced by Linda Toliver and Gary Guidinger
Featuring ensemble member Laurie Metcalf with Maile Flanagan and French Stewart
Tuesday, May 31 – Sunday, June 12
Tue – Thur 8pm; Fri-Sat 8pm and 10pm; Sun 8pm

Laurie Metcalf spars with French Stewart in this outrageous, unlikely romance between a deluded community theater actress and the over-educated vocal coach she hires to make her a star. Maile Flanagan rounds out the shenanigans.

Science Night
Created by The Dilettantes
Wednesday, June 15

A live interactive game show that invites audience members to experience what it means to be a scientist on the cusp of glory…or failure. Scientists will face off against each other to win the title of Pre-Eminent Tandem Scientists by completing middle school science experiments.  Scientists must outmaneuver their opponents all before time – or resources – run out.

The Dilettantes craft distinctive, immersive experiences that contain both performance and participation. Their projects can be narrative‐based, structurally experimental, or anywhere in between, exploring what is joyful, unexpected and necessary about being in a room with other human beings.

Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18
9:30pmSand is a Chicago-based improv ensemble that has been performing together since 2009. Made up of three improvisers who collectively perform at iO, the Annoyance Theatre and Second City, Sand was named “Best Improv Troupe of 2015” by NewCity. Sand explores the public and private lives of three characters by improvising a series of documentary-style monologues and scenes. Sand can be seen performing at Spitballin, a variety show they curate every Monday night at Quenchers Saloon. Sand is Thomas Kelly, Scott Nelson and Mike Brunlieb. They are accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Tim Joyce.Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents The Yard
Tuesday, June 21

This summer, Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) will team up with The Yard, a professional youth theatre company founded in 2015 by Mechelle Moe and Joel Ewing. The Yard, originally a collective of Senn Arts Magnet High School students, partners with established theatre companies to create professional theatrical experiences that immerse students in every aspect of the Chicago storefront theatre-making process. In its inaugural season, The Yard had artistic alliances with The Hypocrites (The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide), Raven Theatre (Milk Like Sugar) and Jackalope Theatre Company (I & You) and are now proud to partner with Steppenwolf’s acclaimed young adults program for a staged reading to be presented in June.

In The Round hosted by singer-songwriter Dylan Rice

With special guests Daryn Alexus, Cloudstomper and Emma Jayne
Thursday, June 23

Growing up an outsider in the blue laws of Utah, Chicago’s Dylan Rice is a singer-songwriter who overcame his Episcopalian choir-boy desolation by clinging to his Fender Strat, reveling in the moody Brit-pop of crooners like Morrissey, Dave Gahan and Peter Murphy, and writing fevered folk-rock melodies in the spirit of Chris Isaak, Cowboy Junkies and Camper Van Beethoven. Dylan is bringing along some of Chicago’s coolest singer-songwriters to join him for an evening of music and more.

David Singer & The Sweet Science
Friday, June 24

The composer for Steppenwolf’s award-winning August: Osage County, David Singer is also a filmmaker and musician who returns to Steppenwolf for a night of live music with his band, The Sweet Science. Greg Kot of NPR’s Sound Opinions called David, “one of the city’s most evolved pop craftsmen of the last decade.”

The People vs. Friar Laurence, the Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet       
Book by Ron West, Music and Lyrics by Phil Swann and Ron West
A staged reading directed by Ron West
Featuring Bruce Greene as Friar Laurence
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26

Steppenwolf’s LookOut and Second City Theatricals have teamed up to re-create a staged-reading of the smash hit musical, The People vs. Friar Laurence, the Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet. This musical is a hilarious spoof of Shakespeare’s most famous love story. This rowdy re-dux of the legendary tale lays the ultimate blame for Romeo and Juliet’s fated demise at the feet of Friar Laurence. Grilled, Court TV-style by an aggressive Prince Escalus, the clergyman is forced to recount the entire tale of the star-crossed lovers in an effort to prove his innocence.  Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune writes “laughs come thick and fast in this Shakespeare parody…In short, it’s a blast.”

The People vs. Friar Laurence, The Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet is part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago.

Isaac Oliver: Intimacy Idiot
Monday, June 27

Writer/performer Isaac Oliver makes his Chicago debut with a glass of pink wine, reading stories from his debut collection of essays, Intimacy Idiot, hailed as “hilarious and unsparing” by New York Magazine, “transcendent” by Entertainment Weekly, “surprisingly moving” by Kirkus and named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015.

Salonathon Presents Shelley Duvall’s Women Under the Influence Theatre
Conceived by and Starring Alex Grelle
Friday, July 8 – Saturday, July 9
Fri 8pm and 10pm; Sat 8pm

Hosted by the lovely Shelley Duvall (as played by Alex Grelle), Women Under the Influence Theatre pays homage to heightened moments in iconic cinema by breaking them apart and reimagining them from the ground up. Part drama and part camp, this action-packed hour is a rollicking study in the fluidity of gender, form, sincerity and hilarity.

The show was developed in partnership with the Chicago Performance Lab through the Theatre and Performance Studies Program at the University of Chicago. Conceived by and starring Alex Grelle and featuring Aileen May, Marta Jean Evans, Mary Williamson and more.

Sounds Like Chicago: A Live Podcast Festival
Curated and produced by Tyler Greene from WBEZ, The Moth and NPR live events
Monday, August 15 – Wednesday, August 17

Steppenwolf started in a basement, and many of your favorite podcasts did too. This three-night live podcast festival features the best of local Chicago-made shows. Each night will be themed (Pop Culture, Performance, Storytelling) and include live bands, games and, of course, your favorite alcoholic beverages.

Tickets to LookOut programming will go on sale April 22 at 11 A.M. at or 312-335-1650. Steppenwolf’s Red Card and Black Card Members may use credits towards any LookOut programming. Prices vary for each show. For information, visit
About author


PerformInk is Chicago's entertainment industry trade publication.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *