“Will The Circle Be Unbroken” gets one-night-only reading at Steppenwolf Theatre Company on May 21


Free performance is part of the Citywide Centennial Celebration of Legendary Chicago Journalist Studs Terkel 


CHICAGO, IL – Steppenwolf Theatre Company hosts a one-night-only performance of Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith, excerpted from the stage adaptation by Derek Goldman, from the book by Studs Terkel on Monday, May 21 at 7pm. The staged reading is directed by Artistic and Educational Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults Hallie Gordon, and features thirteen actors and three vocalists. Steppenwolf hosts the performance with the Studs Terkel Centenary Committee as part of a citywide celebration of Terkel’s birth. Born on May 16, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oral historian Louis “Studs” Terkel was a Chicago television pioneer who, after being blacklisted during the McCarthy hysteria of the 1950s, carved out an illustrious career as the nation’s pre-eminent radio interviewer for nearly half a century at WFMT in Chicago. Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith is on May 21, 2012 at 7pm in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). The performance is FREE though tickets are required and available May 1 at 11am in person through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted) or by phone at 312-335-1650; tickets are not available online. Limit 2 tickets per person.

“Studs was a great friend to Steppenwolf, where we have performed adaptations of both Division Street and Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” recalls Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey. “Studs has also appeared numerous times on the Steppenwolf stage as a part of our Traffic series, including his one-man performance as Dalton Trumbo. We are honored to help celebrate the centenary of a great Chicagoan and a great American voice.”

The cast of Will the Circle Be Unbroken includes Steppenwolf ensemble members Ian Barford (Dr. Gary Slutkin/Bob Gates), Robert Breuler (Dr. John Barrett/Kurt Vonnegut), Ora Jones (Helen Sclair/Mamie Mobley), Martha Lavey (Matta Kelly) and Alan Wilder (Quinn Brisben/Ed Reardon) with Anthony Fleming III (Delbert Lee Tibbs), Justin Hayford (Himself), Rick Kogan (Studs Terkel), L. J. Slavin (Doc Watson), Mary Ann Thebus (Uta Hagen), Guy Van Swearingen (Tom Gates), Andrew White (Marc Levinson/Randy Buescher) and Dennis Zacek (William Herdegen). Robert Reddrick is the Musical Director; the vocalists will be announced at a later date.

An unabashedly left-wing activist in such causes as the peace, labor and civil rights movements, Studs Terkel died at the age of 96 in October 2008, just four days before Barack Obama was elected the first African American president. In early 2012, a loose-knit group of Terkel’s friends, neighbors, associates and admirers formed the Studs Terkel Centenary Committee to recognize Studs and his wife, Ida Goldberg Terkel, who also would have turned 100 on May 9 of this year.

The committee, headed by longtime Terkel colleague and friend Tony Judge, is organizing a re-dedication of the Division Street Bridge, which was originally named for Terkel twenty years ago. Division Street: America, published in 1966, was Terkel’s first book of oral history. The bridge re-dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 12 and will feature a live music performance by the marching band Mucca Pazza.

For additional information about the Studs Terkel Centenary Committee and other Chicago events celebrating Terkel’s birth, contact Tony Judge at tjudge@judgecompany.com, or visit studsterkel.org, facebook.com/studsterkel100 or twitter.com/studsterkel100.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and nine Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.