Steppenwolf Theatre announces casting for new production of
By Oscar-winning ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Kent Gash
Starring La Shawn Banks, Sheldon D. Brown, Richard David,
William Dick, Gilbert Domally, Tyler Hardwick and Samuel B. Jackson
June 16–July 24, 2022
CHICAGO (May 25, 2022) – Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, announces casting for its new staging of the Tony Award-nominated play Choir Boy by Oscar-winning Steppenwolf ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), June 16 – July 24, 2022 (press opening on Sunday, June 26 at 6 p.m.). Directed by Kent Gash, the production features La Shawn Banks, Sheldon D. Brown, Richard David, William Dick, Gilbert Domally, Tyler Hardwick and Samuel B. Jackson.
Choir Boy – threaded throughout with soul-stirring a cappella gospel hymns – is the story of a young gay Black man and his battle between identity and community. Pharus Young is a senior at the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys, an institution committed to building “strong, ethical Black men,” where he endeavors to be the best leader of the school’s prestigious choir in its 50-year history. But in a world built on rites and rituals, should he conform to the expectations of his peers in order to gain the respect he desperately seeks? This Tony-nominated play is an elegy to quiet rebellion, filled with the sound of longing and aspiration.
Single tickets for Choir Boy starting at $20 are on sale now at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at 312-335-1650.
By ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Kent Gash
Featuring La Shawn Banks, Sheldon D. Brown, Richard David, William Dick, Gilbert Domally, Tyler Hardwickand Samuel B. Jackson
In the Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago
June 16 – July 24, 2022
Press opening: Sunday, June 26 at 6 p.m.
Ticket information: Single tickets starting at $20 are on sale now are on sale now at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.
The creative team includes Arnel Sancianco (Scenic Designer), Kara Harmon (Costume Designer), Jason Lynch (Lighting Designer), Pornchanok (Nok) Kanchanabanca (Sound Designer), Stan Brown (Company Voice & Text Coach) and Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, visithttps://www.steppenwolf.org/tickets–events/seasons/2021-22/choir-boy/.
Tarell Alvin McCraney is an acclaimed writer. His script In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the basis for the Oscar-winning film Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins, for which McCraney and Jenkins won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He wrote the film High Flying Bird which premiered on Netflix directed by Steven Soderbergh. McCraney’s plays include: MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT (co-written with Tina Landau), The Brother/Sister Playstrilogy, Head of Passes, Wig Out! and Choir Boy, which was nominated for four Tony Awards. McCraney is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Award and a USA Artist Award. He is currently Chair of Playwriting at Yale School of Drama; an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre Chicago; and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects. McCraney is currently working on an original scripted TV series, David Makes Man, for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, produced by Michael B. Jordan and Page Fright Productions.
Kent Gash is the new Artistic Director of The Acting Company, which returns to National Touring in 2022 with a World Premiere adaptation of The Three Musketeers by Kirsten Childs, conceived and directed by Mr. Gash centering Alexander Dumas and the Black imagination responsible for the classic swashbuckler, playing in rep with Leah Gardiner’s Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Gash directed the World Premiere of Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue at the Public Theatre and is co-author and director of Langston in Harlem (2010 Audelco Awards Best Musical). New York productions include: Cori Thomas’ Lockdown for the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the virtual co-production with WP Theater, Broke-ology at the Juilliard School, the Off Broadway premiere of Miss Ever’s Boys for Melting Pot Theatre Co., the York Theatre presentation of Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday and the Off-Broadway revival of Samm-Art William’s Home. Most recent among nearly one hundred regional productions are Dominique Morisseau’sParadise Blue for City Theatre, “Master Harold”… and the Boys at Arizona Theatre Co., Guys and Dolls at the Guthrie, The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre (Washington Post Ten Best, Broadway World Best Musical Award, Three Helen Hayes Awards), August Wilson’s The Gem of the Ocean at South Coast Rep (LA Times Ten Best), The Mountaintopat Trinity Rep, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out for Studio Theatre, D.C., Choir Boy at the Studio Theatre in D.C. and Marin Theatre Co. (Bay Area Critics Award for Best Production) and The Comedy of Errors, set in the Harlem Renaissance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Gash is the former Associate Artistic Director of The Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre (2001-2009) and The Alabama Shakespeare Festival (1999-2001), is an Arts Professor at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU where he is Founding Director of the New Studio on Broadway. Mr. Gash is a graduate of the Carnegie-Mellon School of Drama (BFA in Acting) and UCLA (MFA in Directing for Theatre and Television).
The Expanded Steppenwolf Campus
Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s trailblazing new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, with construction by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new Arts and Education Center is the new 400-seat in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell—one of its kind in Chicago—with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue.
The expanded Steppenwolf campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, offering bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility, and arts-driven learning for Chicago youth in The Loft, Steppenwolf’s first-ever dedicated education space. The campus expansion also features bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The $54 million new building is part of Steppenwolf’s multi-phase $73 million Building on Excellence expansion campaign. Learn more about Steppenwolf’s campus expansion at steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.
A Safe Return
Steppenwolf is part of the growing coalition of more than 70 Chicagoland performing arts venues and producers that have agreed upon COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for all audiences, artists and staff. Audience members must provide proof of vaccination in addition to wearing masks. Learn more about Steppenwolf’s guidelines at steppenwolf.org/welcomeback.
Steppenwolf has worked over the past year with our operations team, public health advisors and HVAC consultants to prepare its facility to safely welcome patrons back for performances. The addition of the new Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center has expanded the square footage of the lobbies to nearly twice the previous amount of space offered to guests. Two additional elevators and multiple stairways have also been added to Steppenwolf’s campus for ease of transition between seating levels. The HVAC systems have undergone upgrades to allow for increased filtration and a higher percentage of circulated fresh air across all three theaters.
Steppenwolf offers accessible services to ensure all audience members have access to our work, including American Sign Language interpretation (available for student matinees as scheduled with education staff or per public performances below), Spanish Language captions, wheelchair accessible seating and more. With questions, email [email protected].
Choir Boy is generously supported in part by Ameriprise Financial. United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is also grateful for the significant season support from the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, Northern Trust, Allstate Insurance Company, ComEd, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, and Vinci Restaurant.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America’s ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church—today Steppenwolf is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards—have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. 2021 marks the opening of Steppenwolf’s landmark Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts & Education Center—deepening the company’s commitment to Chicagoland teens and serving as a cultural nexus for Chicago. Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis are the Artistic Directors and E. Brooke Flanagan is Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.
Steppenwolf’s Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world. steppenwolf.org,facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.
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