CHICAGO, IL â€“ Celebrating 40 years as Americaâ€™s premier ensemble theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company launches its landmark 2015/16 Subscription Season with a large-scale world premiere production of John Steinbeckâ€™s masterpiece East of Eden. Adapted by two-time Tony Award winner and ensemble member Frank Galati and directed by Steppenwolf co-founder Terry Kinney, the epic production features a 10-person cast including ensemble members Kate Arrington, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper and Alan Wilder. A full underscore of originally composed music by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen will be performed live. East of Eden begins previews September 17 (opening night is September 27; press performances are Saturday, September 26 at 3pm and Tuesday, September 29 at 7:30pm) and runs through November 15, 2015 in Steppenwolfâ€™s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 – $89) go on sale Friday, August 7 at 11am at 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.
Escaping a turbulent past, Adam Trask is determined to make a new start in Californiaâ€™s Salinas Valley. Adam and his wife Cathy settle on a beautiful farm, and soon Cathy gives birth to twins Caleb and Aron. But family history, sibling rivalry and the impending danger of World War One will threaten their little piece of paradise. East of Eden is a sprawling and unflinching story that asks if is it possible to escape the mistakes of previous generations and choose your own course.
â€œFor me, this adaptation and production are the continuation of a journey Steppenwolf began with The Grapes of Wrath. After 40 years our company is still together, still telling stories, still an ensemble against all odds,â€ shared adaptor Frank Galati. â€œNow our co-founder Terry Kinney (who played the mesmerizing Jim Casey in Grapes) is directing. What a glory! Our bond as an ensemble has always made each of us better. We have tried damned hard to be honest. I think that’s what Steinbeck valued most.â€
Steppenwolfâ€™s connection with John Steinbeck can be traced back to the companyâ€™s 1988 production of The Grapes of Wrath, which Frank Galati adapted and directed. The production transferred to Broadway, California and London and received two Tony Awardsâ€”Best Play and Best Directorâ€”garnering Steppenwolf international acclaim. Ensemble members Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper, Terry Kinney and Alan Wilder, who all performed in the original production of The Grapes of Wrath, reunite for this new adaptation of East of Eden.
The complete cast for East of Eden features ensemble members Kate Arrington as Cathy Trask, Francis Guinan as Samuel Hamilton, Tim Hopper as Adam Trask and Alan Wilder as Dr. Murphy and Mr. Bacon along with Casey Thomas Brown as Aron Trask, Aaron Himelstein as Caleb Trask, Elizabeth Laidlaw as Eva/Mrs. Bacon/Nurse, Stephen Park as Lee, Brittany Uomoleale as Abra Bacon and Dan Waller as Joe and Will Hamilton.
Terry Kinney co-founded Steppenwolf in 1976 with Gary Sinise and Jeff Perry and has directed many notable productions with the company, including John Steinbeckâ€™s Of Mice and Men, The Violet Hour and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play in 2000. Kinneyâ€™s New York directing credits include the world premiere of Checkers by Doug McGrath, reasons to be pretty and The Money Shot for MCC and Broadway, and After Ashley and Beautiful Child at the Vineyard Theatre, among others. He is widely known for his roles in HBOâ€™s prison drama Oz, as well as the ABC series, The Black Box. Recently, he appeared in HBO’s Show Me a Hero and he recurs on Showtime’s new series, Billions.
Frank Galati has been a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble since 1986. He has receivedÂ nine Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work in Chicago theater. He won two Tony Awards in 1990 for his adaptation and direction of Steppenwolfâ€™s production of The Grapes of Wrath and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1998 for directing the musical Ragtime.Â He has staged operas for Chicago Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago andÂ the Metropolitan Opera House.Â In 1989, Galati was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay (with Lawrence Kasdan) of The Accidental Tourist and in 2000 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a professor emeritus in the department of performance studies at Northwestern University.
The production team includes Walt Spangler (scenic design), Mara Blumenfeld (costume design), David Weiner (lighting design), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design and original music) and Matt Hawkins (fight choreography). Additional credits include Erica Daniels (casting), Malcolm Ewen (stage manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager).
Single tickets to East of Eden ($20 – $89) go on sale Friday, August 7 at 11am through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Previews: $20 â€“ $54 and Regular Run: $20 â€“ $89. Prices subject to change. 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket. For additional student discounts, visit steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups. For subscription packages and flexible pass options available, call 312-335-1650. Subscriptions: Season subscriptions are currently on sale. Packages start at $100. Student, educator and access discount subscriptions available. To purchase a 2015/16 subscription, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org.
Accessible performances include an American Sign Language interpretation on Sunday, October 25 at 7:30pm, Open Captioning on Saturday, October 31 at 3pm and an Audio Description and Touch Tour on Sunday, November 8 (1:30 touch tour; audio-described performance at 3pm). For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/access.
Full performance schedule included at end of the release. Curtain times are Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm and Wednesday matinees at 2pm on October 28, November 4 and November 11.
Major support for East of Eden is provided by The Negaunee Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.
Major support for Steppenwolfâ€™s New Play Development Initiative is provided by The Davee Foundation and the Zell Family Foundation.
Steppenwolfâ€™s 2015/16 Subscription Season includes the world premiere adaptation of John Steinbeckâ€™s East of Eden, adapted by ensemble member Frank Galati, directed by co-founder Terry Kinney (September 17 â€“ November 15, 2015); the Chicago premiere of Domesticated written and directed by ensemble member Bruce Norris (December 3, 2015 â€“ February 7, 2016); the Chicago premiere of The Flick by Annie Baker, directed by Dexter Bullard (February 4 â€“ May 8, 2016); the world premiere of Mary Page Marlowe by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro (March 31 â€“ May 29, 2016); and the Chicago premiere of Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov (June 23 â€“ August 21, 2016).
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is Americaâ€™s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spacesâ€”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 44 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and two repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, and Garage Rep. 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, Galway 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 12 Tony Awards. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Managing Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolfâ€™s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.