Showing posts with label Randall Arney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Randall Arney. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar: True West By Sam Shepard At Steppenwolf Theatre Company Through August 25, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Presents 
True West
By Sam Shepard
Directed by Ensemble Member Randall Arney 
Now Playing Through August 25

Highly Anticipated Revival of Shepard’s Masterpiece Featuring 
A New Generation of Steppenwolf Ensemble

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company for the press opening of True West on July 16th. Can't wait for this hotly anticipated revival!

Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents its first ever revival of the play that launched the company onto the national scene in 1982, True West, directed by ensemble member Randall Arney. Through the lens of a new generation of Steppenwolf artists, the 2019 production stars ensemble members Jon Michael Hill (CBS’s Elementary; Steppenwolf, Lincoln Center, and Spike Lee’s Pass Over) and Namir Smallwood (Lincoln Center’s Pass Over and Pipeline). Joining Hill and Smallwood are ensemble member and original cast member Francis Guinan and celebrated Chicago actor Jacqueline Williams.

Previews began July 5 and the production is now playing through August 25 in the Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Opening night is Sunday, July 14 at 6pm. Press performances are Sunday, July 14 at 6pm and Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30pm. Single tickets ($20-$96) are available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or

In 1982, Steppenwolf exploded onto the American Theatre scene with its now legendary production of Sam Shepard's True West. This American classic traces the volatile relationship of Austin and Lee, estranged brothers who find themselves holed up together in their mother's well-kept suburban house with a typewriter, a set of golf clubs and the undeniable call of the desert. In its first Steppenwolf revival, our new generation of artists take on Shepard's masterpiece.

Steppenwolf’s original production of True West opened in 1982 with then fairly unknown actors Jeff Perry (Austin) and John Malkovich (Lee) playing the leads, alongside ensemble members Francis Guinan (Saul) and Laurie Metcalf (Mom), directed by Gary Sinise. With Sam Shepard's approval, Steppenwolf’s production transferred to Off-Broadway, where it opened at Cherry Lane Theatre in October 1982 with Gary Sinise taking on the role of ‘Austin.’ The show closed on August 4, 1984 after 762 performances. A television movie of the stage play, featuring Sinise and Malkovich, aired on the PBS series "American Playhouse" in January 1984.

Cast Bios
Francis Guinan (Saul Kimmer) is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble. He has appeared in more than 30 Steppenwolf productions including Downstate (both in Chicago and at the National Theatre), You Got Older, The Minutes, The Rembrandt, Hir, The Herd, The Night Alive, Tribes, The Birthday Party, The Book Thief, Time Stands Still, Endgame, American Buffalo, Fake, The Seafarer, August: Osage County and The Real Inspector Hound. Guinan also played the role of ‘Saul’ in the original 1982 production of True West.

Jon Michael Hill (Austin) has been a Steppenwolf ensemble member since 2007 and was last seen on Steppenwolf’s stage as Moses in Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over, which was filmed by Spike Lee and released by Amazon Studios. Hill reprised the role of Moses in the Lincoln Center Theater production the following year. Hill currently appears as ‘Detective Marcus Bell’ in the CBS-TV series Elementary. He was nominated for a Tony Award and won an Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Award for his role as ‘Franco Wicks’ in the Broadway production of Superior Donuts by ensemble member Tracy Letts, a role which he originated at Steppenwolf. Hill has also performed at Steppenwolf in The Hot L Baltimore, The Tempest, Kafka on the Shore, The Unmentionables and others. Additional television and film credits include Detroit 1-8-7, Eastbound and Down, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Person of Interest.

Namir Smallwood (Lee) joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in March 2017, where he has been seen in Aziza Barnes’ BLKS, Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ Monster, Christina Anderson’s Man In Love and The Hot L Baltimore. Other Chicago credits include The Lost Boys of Sudan (Victory Gardens Theater); the world premiere of Philip Dawkins’ Charm (Northlight Theatre); The Grapes of Wrath (Gift Theatre) and East Texas Hot Links (Writers’ Theatre). Regional credits include Marin Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, Ten Thousand Things and Guthrie Theater. New York credits include Lincoln Center Theater’s productions of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau and Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu. Television credits include Chicago Fire and Betrayal.

Jacqueline Williams (Mom) Steppenwolf credits include Familiar, The Christians, Airline Highway, Head of Passes (also at Mark Taper opposite Phylicia Rashad), Hot L Baltimore, Brother Sister Plays, and others. At the Goodman, she performed in Father Comes Home from the Wars, Pullman Porter Blues (some performances), stop. reset, Camino Real, Trinity River Plays, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Amen Corner, Ooh-Blah-Dee, and many others. Additional credits include Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Harvey, Man in the Ring, Gem of the Ocean, Fences, Caroline or Change, Electra (title role) at Court Theatre; Skeleton Crew, The Miser, Gees Bend at Northlight; The House That Will Not Stand, A Wonder in my Soul, Gospel of Loving Kindness, others at Victory Gardens. She toured with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg. She is a multi-award winner and has worked and toured extensively regionally.  She performed on Broadway in Young Man From Atlanta and Off Broadway in From The Mississippi Delta (Oprah Winfrey co-produced), Talented Tenth, Mill Fire. TV/film credits include cast of Turks, recurring Mrs. Brown on The Chi, Officer Becerra on Chicago Fire/PD/Med, Warden Myers on Empire, Prison Break, Heartlock, The Break Up and The Lake House.

Director Bio
Randall Arney has been a theater professional for more than 30 years and ensemble member and former artistic director of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre where his directing credits include Slowgirl, The Seafarer, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Death and the Maiden, Curse of the Starving Class, Killers and The Geography of Luck, among others. Arney also directed Steppenwolf’s world premiere of Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile, as well as the subsequent national and internationally acclaimed productions. Arney’s acting credits with Steppenwolf include Born Yesterday, Ghost in the Machine, The Homecoming, Frank’s Wild Years, You Can’t Take It with You, Fool for Love, True West (played ‘Saul’ in the Apollo remount), Balm in Gilead, and Coyote Ugly. As the artistic director for Steppenwolf from 1987 to 1995, Arney oversaw the creation of a new state-of-the-art theater which is Steppenwolf’s current home. Broadway transfers under his leadership include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Song of Jacob Zulu (six Tony Award nominations) and The Grapes of Wrath (1990 Tony Award, Best Play). Arney recently served as the artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles (1999 to 2017). In addition to his artistic programming and oversight at the Geffen, Arney has directed many productions for the theater, including Icebergs, Outside Mullingar, The Night Alive, Reasons to Be Pretty, Slowgirl, American Buffalo, Superior Donuts, The Female of the Species, Speed-the-Plow, and All My Sons.  Arney has an M.F.A. degree in Acting from Illinois State University and has taught master classes and workshops at the University of California, Los Angeles; Steppenwolf, around the U.S., and in Tokyo. Member of SAG-AFTRA, SDC, and Equity.

True West production team includes Todd Rosenthal (Scenic Design), Trevor Bowen (Costume Design), Ann G. Wrightson (Lighting Design), Richard Woodbury (Sound Design & Original Music), Ned Mochel (Fight Choreographer) and Gigi Buffington (Company Voice and Text Coach). Additional credits Laura Glenn (Production Stage Manager), Amanda Landis (Assistant Stage Manager), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director) and Jonathan Berry (Artistic Producer).

Production Details
True West is now playing through August 25, 2019 in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Previews: July 5 – July 13, 2019; Press Performances: Sunday, July 14 at 6pm and Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30pm; Opening: July 14, 2019 at 6pm; Regular Run: July 16 – August 25, 2019. Curtain Times: Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm and 7:30pm; Wednesdays at 2pm.

Ticket Info:
Previews: $20 – $78, Regular Run: $20– $96. Prices subject to change

20 for $20: Twenty $20 tickets are available for subscription shows on the day of the performance at 11am (Mon – Sat) and 1pm (Sun), by phone only. Limit 2 per person.

Rush Tickets: Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show.

tudent Discounts: Limited $15 student tickets are available online. (Limit 2 tickets. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket).

Group Tickets: All groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance.

Black Card Memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility. Cards include six tickets for use any time, are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts. Red Card Memberships are available for theatergoers under 30.More info at

Audience Services: For tickets or more information, contact Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) at 312-335-1650 or

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and the Downstairs and 1700 Theatres are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theaters feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.

Accessible Performances:

American Sign Language Interpretation: Sunday, July 28 at 7:30pm

Open Captioning: Thursday, August 1 at 7:30pm and Saturday, August 17 at 3pm

Audio Description and Touch Tour: Sunday, August 11 touch tour at 1:30; performance at 3pm

Visitor Information
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ($13 or $15, cash or card) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($15 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12noon before Wednesday matinees. Limited street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at 312.335.1774.

Sponsor Information

Lead support for this production of True West is provided by Helen Zell and Northern Trust. ComEd is the 2018/19 Season Lighting Sponsor. United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf.

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks

Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, offering a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesdays – Sundays, Front Bar serves locally roasted coffee and espresso by Passion House Coffee Roasters and features food by The Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service.

Year of Chicago Theatre
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Pass Over and Downstate—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. 

For additional information, visit,, and    

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