In 1974, Steppenwolf Theatre Company began performing plays informally in a church basement in Highland Park under the leadership of Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry and Gary Sinise. In 1975, the group incorporated, and by 1976, the ensemble had expanded to include other friends from Illinois State University. Steppenwolf has now grown into a company which includes thirty-three theater artists whose strengths include acting, directing, playwriting and textual adaptation.
Founded on a commitment to the principles of ensemble collaboration and artistic risk, the mission of Steppenwolf is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater, while maintaining the original impulses of the group. With the challenge of superior acting at the core of its theatrical endeavor, the acting ensemble continues to work toward a collective artistic vision not unlike great theater ensembles such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Moscow Art Theatre. To further this effort, Steppenwolf's staff and board of directors continue to provide a vibrant theater experience conducive to artistic growth for actors and audiences.
A professional theater company since 1976, Steppenwolf has received unprecedented national and international recognition from media, theater critics and audiences alike. The Steppenwolf building is large and elegant within, with a lobby servicing two theatres, the Main Stage and 'Upstairs' spaces. Concessions are available prior to the show and during intermission. The Main Stage space is quite large, but manages to maintain an intimate feel for even audience members in the back row of the balcony. Box seats are also available to a lucky few on the sides.
As to the plays themselves: the Steppenwolf is never a company to rest on its laurels. In fact, the a previous season consisted entirely of untried world premiere productions. For meaty drama, biting comedy and even the (extremely) occasional musical or two, this theater remains one of the most exciting venues in the city.
Centerstage Reviewer: Ed Rutherford
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