When the COVID-19 lockdown hit in March 2020, Chicago’s artistic productions were abruptly placed on hold. Now more than two years later, theater companies are evaluating a path forward with an audience that has new expectations.
“I don’t come here to shame the founders (of our country), or in the case of my play, their spouses,” playwright James Ijames writes. “I come here to test the strength of their ideals.”
Chicago theater is in full bloom for the spring season with a number of new productions and a return of some classic favorites. Hedy Weiss, theater critic for WTTW News, joins “Chicago Tonight” to share her must-see recommendations.
The world premiere play “King James” spotlights the work of two Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members who loved basketball long before they loved theater.
“King James” by Rajiv Joseph receives a terrific world premiere by Steppenwolf Theatre. The play follows a friendship over a decade that began over a shared love for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Steppenwolf Theatre reopens after a 20-month shutdown due to the pandemic. The 46-year-old theater celebrated its return with a ribbon cutting Tuesday for a new wing that includes a state-of-the-art stage.
Any description of Rajiv Joseph’s mini-play — the newest entry in Steppenwolf Theatre’s NOW series of virtual programming that runs about 11 minutes — might make it sound like just a quick virtual doodle. But it is much more than that.
James Ijames’ 20-minute play marks the opening salvo in Steppenwolf Now — a series of six virtual productions designed to serve as placeholders until there is a return to live theater — a return that seems ever more elusive.
The revival of Tracy Letts’ 1996 play “Bug” stars his wife, Steppenwolf ensemble member Carrie Coon. We spoke to the creative team right before opening night.
If you were to consider the dominant feelings expressed by the adolescent girls in these two shows, the obvious conclusion would be that for all the talk, the feminist movement of the past five decades has failed to reach a whole generation or two of girls.
It would be all but impossible to survey the many great, good and sometimes disappointing productions of the past 12 months. But three recent shows suggest the great variety of work produced in Chicago – and the immense amount of talent here.
From a Chicago blues club to South Africa, a new show at Steppenwolf Theatre explores music and love across cultures. We get a behind-the-scenes look at “Lindiwe.”
Playwright Lauren Yee possesses a special gift for animating and personalizing history, and for penning exceptionally dynamic dialogue. And although not a single basketball is dropped into a hoop during “The Great Leap,” the sport comes to life.
Steppenwolf’s fabled 1982 production of Sam Shepard’s darkly comic tale is a foundational part of Chicago theater history. And now, two of the company’s “next generation” of actors are bringing their own high-octane intensity to the play.
This unabashedly flamboyant fantasia by Tina Landau and Tarell Alvin McCraney spins the true story of Joan Jett Blakk, who helped found the Chicago branch of the Queer Nation Party and ran for Chicago mayor in 1991.
Now receiving its Chicago premiere by Steppenwolf Theatre, British playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s quirky tragicomedy tackles aging, sexual competition, parenting and the catastrophic result of certain scientific and engineering “advances.”