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The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of
Miz Martha Washington
By Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames
Directed by Whitney White
PHOTOS: First Look at Steppenwolf Theatre's "The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington" - Performances Begin Sept. 1, 2022. Cast members Sydney Charles, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Celeste M. Cooper, Nikki Crawford, Cindy Gold, Victor Musoni and Donovan Session in rehearsal for the Chicago premiere.
I'll be out for the press opening, September 11th, so check back soon after for my full review.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, is pleased to open its 47th season with the Chicago premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames’ fantastical play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington. Directed by Whitney White, the production features ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper with Sydney Charles, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Nikki Crawford, Cindy Gold, Victor Musoni and Donovan Session.
The recently widowed “Mother of America” lies alone in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and attended to by the enslaved people who will be free the moment she dies. This uproarious form-shifting fever dream takes us deep into the ramifications of one of America's original sins. Dizzying and fantastical, this Chicago premiere from Pulitzer winner James Ijames boldly remixes this country's dark history with a delicate balance of truth and humor.
Single tickets for The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington starting at $20 are now on sale at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at 312-335-1650.
Steppenwolf 2022-23 Memberships are also on sale, including Classic Memberships offering 6-play packages securing dates and seats, and flexible Black Card Memberships with six tickets for use any time for any production. Also available are Red Card Memberships for theatergoers under 30.
The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington
By Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames
Directed by Whitney White
Featuring ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper (Doll) with Sydney Charles (Priscilla), Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Davy), Nikki Crawford (Ann Dandridge), Cindy Gold (Martha Washington), Victor Musoni (William) and Donovan Session (Sucky Boy).
In Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago
September 1 – October 9, 2022
Ticket information: Single tickets starting at $20 are now on sale at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.
The creative team includes Clint Ramos (Scenic Designer), Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer) Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Designer), Fan Zhang (Sound Designer), Manna-Symone Middlebrooks (Associate Director), Rachel Flesher (Fight & Intimacy Choreographer), Benjamin Barnes (Magic Consultant), Silver Fox Wigs (Wig Design), Gigi Buffington (Company Voice, Text Coach & Dialect Coach), Tom Pearl (Director of Production), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Christine D. Freeburg (Production Stage Manager) and Kathleen Barrett (Assistant Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, visit https://www.steppenwolf.org/tickets--events/seasons/2022-23/miz-martha/.
James Ijames (Playwright) is a playwright, director and educator who received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play Fat Ham. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company and People’s Light and Theatre. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, The National Black Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre and Shotgun Players, and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Gardens. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size (Simpatico Theatre Company) and Gem of the Ocean (Arden Theatre). James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ...Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Prize. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia. James is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and a co-artistic of the Wilma Theater.
Whitney White (Director) is an Obie Award and Lilly Award winning director, actor and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the current recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing award, an Artistic Associate at the Roundabout and a part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her original musical Definition was part of the 2019 Sundance Theatre Lab 2016 ANT Fest, and her five-part musical exploration of Shakespeare’s Women and ambition; Reach for It is currently under commission with the American Repertory Theater in Boston. She has developed work with: The New York Times, Ars Nova, The Drama League, Roundabout, New York Theatre Workshop, 59E59, The Lark, The Movement, Jack, Bard College, NYU Tisch, Juilliard, Princeton, SUNY Purchase, South Oxford, Luna Stage and more. Whitney is a believer in collaborative processes and new forms. Her musical discipline is rooted in indie-soul and rock. She is passionate about black stories, reconstructing classics, stories for and about women, genre-defying multimedia work and film. Past fellowships include: New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellowship, Ars Nova’s Makers Lab, Colt Coeur and the Drama League. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep. BA Political Science, Certificate in Musical Theatre: Northwestern University.
The Expanded Steppenwolf Campus
Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s trailblazing new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, with construction by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new Arts and Education Center is the new 400-seat in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell—one of its kind in Chicago—with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue.
The expanded Steppenwolf campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, offering bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility, and arts-driven learning for Chicago youth in The Loft, Steppenwolf’s first-ever dedicated education space. The campus expansion also features bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The $54 million new building is part of Steppenwolf’s multi-phase $73 million Building on Excellence expansion campaign. Learn more about Steppenwolf’s campus expansion at steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.
A Safe Return
As the Chicago theatre community continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Steppenwolf Theatre remains committed to the safety of its patrons and staff. For the most up-to-date information on our venue’s COVID precautions, please visit steppenwolf.org/welcomeback.
Steppenwolf offers accessible services to ensure all audience members have access to our work, including American Sign Language interpretation (available for student matinees as scheduled with education staff or per public performances below), Spanish Language captions, wheelchair accessible seating and more. With questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is also grateful for the significant season support from the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, Northern Trust, Allstate Insurance Company, ComEd, Conagra Brands Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, PNC and Vinci Restaurant.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America’s ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church—today Steppenwolf is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards—have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. 2021 marks the opening of Steppenwolf’s landmark Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts & Education Center—deepening the company’s commitment to Chicagoland teens and serving as a cultural nexus for Chicago. Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis are the Artistic Directors and E. Brooke Flanagan is Executive Director. Keating Crown is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.
Steppenwolf’s Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world. steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.