The New 411
By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader
Steppenwolf Announces Final Director For 2017/18 Season
Steppenwolf Theatre Company recently announced acclaimed director, actor, singer and 2017 Steppenwolf Women in the Arts honoree Phylicia Rashad will direct Steppenwolf’s Chicago premiere production of The Roommate, a comedy by Jen Silverman.
The production features ensemble members Ora Jones and Sandra Marquez. This touching comedy will be the final slot in the 2017/18 season, June 21 – August 21, 2018 in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N. Halsted St).
Sharon is Midwestern nice. But to Robyn, her new roommate from the Bronx, that just means nosy and very, very talkative. A comical mismatch leads to a surprising and touching friendship in The Roommate, a new comedy about how early-life choices lead to mid-life challenges and the unexpected rewards of bridging the divide.
“We are thrilled to have the phenomenal Phylicia Rashad join us next season. Her captivating artistry spans theater, television and film, and her work continues to break boundaries. Steppenwolf’s relationship with Phylicia began when she portrayed Viola Westin in August: Osage County on Broadway and has deepened through her work in ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes. It was a true joy to pay honor to her at this year’s Women in the Arts luncheon, and we look forward to welcoming her back to direct this beautiful play,” shares Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro.
Whether she is bringing laughter to millions of television viewers around the world, moving theatre-goers to tears, thrilling movie fans, offering new insights to students by teaching at renowned learning institutions such as Howard University and Julliard, or breaking new ground as a director, Phylicia Rashad is one of the entertainment world’s most extraordinary performing artists.
Phylicia Rashad’s directing credits include August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (2014 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director) and Fences at the Long Wharf Theatre and the McCarter Theatre.
Ms. Rashad received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her riveting performance in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun.
Well-known to television audiences for her groundbreaking role of attorney Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, her recent film credits include Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls and the 2015 Rocky spin-off and sequel Creed, and she currently has a featured guest-starring role in Empire.
Jen Silverman’s The Roommate premiered at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in 2015, and has received subsequent productions at South Coast Rep, Williamstown and SF Playhouse. Additional work includes The Moors, Phoebe in Winter, The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane (Barrymore Award) and Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops (Woolly Mammoth). She is a member of New Dramatists, and has developed work with the O’Neill, New York Theatre Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Berkeley Rep and the Royal Court in London. A recipient of the Helen Merrill and Yale Drama Series Awards, she’s also a two-time MacDowell Fellow and 16/17 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark.
Ora Jones has been a Steppenwolf ensemble member since 2007, and was most recently seen in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Booth Theatre in New York. Sandra Marquez has been an ensemble member since 2016, and returns to Steppenwolf after last being seen in Tracy Letts’s Mary Page Marlowe.
Subscription and Flex memberships for the 2017/18 season are currently available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org.
Steppenwolf’s Subscription Memberships allow audiences to lock in dates, confirm seats in advance and receive all the membership perks. Options include 7-Play, 6-Play and 5-Play Subscription Memberships, in addition to discounted Student/Educator Series and Accessible Series.
To purchase a 2017/18 Subscription Membership, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org/memberships. Single tickets to the 2017/18 will go on sale at a late