(left to right) Ensemble member Jeff Perry and Mark Ulrich in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s revival of “No Man’s Land” by Harold Pinter, directed by Les Waters, playing now through Aug. 20, 2023. (Michael Brosilow)

Four lost souls are the variously screwed-up men living in “No Man’s Land,” Harold Pinter’s strange, angry, status-conscious and somewhat absurdist talkathon of a play. It first opened in London in 1975 and is now on stage at Steppenwolf Theatre in a production directed by Les Waters.

(left to right) Sally Murphy, Glenn Davis and Charence Higgins in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of “Describe The Night” by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton, running now through April 9, 2023. (Michael Brosilow)

Part history, part imagination, and awash in clever verbal interplay, “Describe the Night” captures the spirit of Russian author and war correspondent Isaac Babel. The play follows certain aspects of his life and times — from his romantic attachments to his tense interaction with Soviet intelligence.

Writer and director Frank Galati poses for a portrait on July 29, 2004, in a practice room at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., where his play “Oedipus Complex” premiered during the summer. (AP Photo / Jeff Barnard, File)

 Frank Galati won twin Tonys in 1990 — best play and best director — for his adaptation and staging of Steppenwolf’s production of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” starring Gary Sinise as Tom Joad. He was also nominated for directing the 1998 celebrated musical “Ragtime.”

The view from the stage out into the nearly empty seats of a concert hall. (Kevin Schmid / Unsplash)

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. 

From left, Cindy Gold, Celeste M. Cooper and Sydney Charles in Steppenwolf Theatre’s “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” by James Ijames. (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

“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.”

John Zdrojeski, left, and Sean Hayes in Doug Wright’s “Good Night, Oscar” at the Goodman Theatre. (Credit Liz Lauren)

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. 

Chris Perfetti, left, and ensemble member and Artistic Director Glenn Davis in Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere production of “King James” by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph. (Credit Michael Brosilow)

The world premiere play “King James” spotlights the work of two Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members who loved basketball long before they loved theater.

Ensemble member and Artistic Director Glenn Davis, left, and Chris Perfetti in Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere production of “King James” by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph. (Credit Michael Brosilow)

“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. 

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s new Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, designed by architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. (Credit James Steinkamp Photography.)

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. 

(Illustration by Rajiv Joseph)

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.

Pictured (from left): Steppenwolf ensemble members K. Todd Freeman and Jon Michael Hill in Steppenwolf’s virtual production of “What Is Left, Burns” by James Ijames, directed by Whitney White. (Photography and design by Lowell Thomas)

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.

Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts talk “Bug” with WTTW News.

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.

From left: Danielle Wade, Megan Masako Haley, Mariah Rose Faith and Jonalyn Saxer in the National Touring Company of “Mean Girls.” (Credit: © 2019 Joan Marcus)

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.

Nondumiso Tembe in “Lindiwe,” left, Kelvin Roston Jr. in “Oedipus Rex,” center, and Christina Hall in “Always … Patsy Cline.” (Photos by Michael Brosilow)

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.

A rehearsal for the Steppenwolf Theatre production of “Lindiwe.” (WTTW News)

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.”

Glenn Obrero in Steppenwolf’s production of “The Great Leap” by Lauren Yee. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

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.