Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents Dance Nation, A frank and fierce play that explores the untamed inner lives of pre-teens

THE CAST FEATURES (Pictured Top, L to R) Audrey Francis (The Moms/Vanessa), Tim Hopper (Dance Teacher Pat), Caroline Neff (Zuzu), and Karen Rodriguez (Amina); (Pictured Bottom, L to R) Ariana Burks (Sofia), Adithi Chandrashekar (Connie), Ellen Maddow (Maeve),Torrey Hanson (Luke) and Shanésia Davis (Ashlee). Ariana Burks was last seen in Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ The Compass. Other theatre credits include Trevor the Musical (Writers Theatre), Urinetown (BoHo Theatre), The Nutcracker (The House Theatre), Hairspray (Paramount Theatre & Drury Lane), among others. Adithi Chandrashekar is making her Steppenwolf debut. Recent Chicago credits include Bull in a China Shop (About Face Theatre); We're Gonna Be Okay (American Theater Company) and Wit (The Hypocrites). Shanésia Davis was last seen on Steppenwolf’s stage in The Glass Menagerie, One Arm and The Gift Theater’s Richard III. Other Chicago credits include Native Son, Othello (Court Theatre); What I learned in Paris, Brothers of The Dust (BTAA & BEA awards - Best Actress; Congo Square Theatre); Landladies (Northlight Theatre) among others.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is now in rehearsals with Pulitzer Prize Finalist “Dance Nation” by Clare Barron, directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans. Steppenwolf’s production features ensemble members Audrey Francis (The Moms/Vanessa), Tim Hopper (Dance Teacher Pat), Caroline Neff (Zuzu), and Karen Rodriguez (Amina) with Ariana Burks (Sofia), Adithi Chandrashekar (Connie), Shanésia Davis (Ashlee), Torrey Hanson (Luke) and Ellen Maddow (Maeve). A success-driven pre-teen dance troupe finds itself trying to understand their ambition, insecurities, changing bodies, rivalries and friendships while exploring the desires, confusion and sometimes feral nature of adolescence. Featuring a multigenerational cast of women playing the pre-teen heroines, this Chicago premiere is fiercely funny, theatrically inventive and full of heart.

Playwright Clare Barron shares “I hope that an audience will remember things about their 13-year-old selves that they had forgotten, and that there is a little bit of an awakening of old feral rumbles. There’s a strength there that I remember having as a kid that I sometimes miss as an adult. I hope this play is a bit of an archaeology project that allows people to recover their inner teenage girl strength.”

Director Lee Sunday Evans on what excites her about this production: “I have always had an art crush on Steppenwolf Theatre, so it’s a thrill to get to do a new production of this play that I love so much at this legendary theater. Clare is one of my closest collaborators, and I’ve learned so much about theater and art from her. Also I love actors and I love designers, and the cast and creative team that’s on board for this production is totally extraordinary— Arnulfo Maldonado, our brilliant scenic designer from the first production, and Ellen Maddow, who unforgettably originated the role of Maeve, are coming with us to Chicago. I’m also glad everyone in Chicago will get to know them.”

Ticket and Membership Info:

Preview tickets for “Dance Nation” (December 12 –18) range from $20 – $84. The show opens Thursday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m., and single tickets for the regular run (December 20 – February 02) range from $20 – $94.

Steppenwolf offers 20 for $20 – twenty $20 tickets available on the day of the performance beginning at 11:00 a.m. (Monday – Saturday) and 1:00 p.m. (Sunday), by phone only at 312-335-1650. Limit 2 per person. Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. There are a limited number of $15 student tickets available online for each show, at All groups of six or more receive a discounted rate;

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