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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Steppenwolf To Open New Theater Building, Education Center During 2021 Comeback Season

The building will feature a 400-seat round theater and a state-of-the-art education center. It's expected to open to audiences in November.

A rendering of Steppenwolf's new theater building and education center, which is expected to be complete this fall.
Provided/Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
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LINCOLN PARK — The Steppenwolf Theatre is gearing up for its 2021–22 season, which will see the ensemble theater company move into its new home in Lincoln Park.

The company’s upcoming season will be a blend of virtual and in-person shows as Steppenwolf prepares to open its larger space at 1646 N. Halsted St. in late fall.

Steppenwolf has been closed for more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but construction on its $73 million campus expansion project continued.

The 50,000-square-foot building is expected to be finished this fall. It will feature a 400-seat Round Theater, in which the audience wraps entirely around the stage, and an education center.

Designed by architect Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the theater building will also feature a two-story atrium lobby, a wine bar and a sidewalk lounge.

“The opening of our new building is a testimony to the confidence that the cultural heartbeat of Chicago will come roaring back with the grandness this city deserves,” Executive Director E. Brooke Flanagan said. “Steppenwolf will continue its legacy of creation and service for generations to come.”

Credit: Provided/Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
A rendering of Steppenwolf’s upcoming Round Theater, which places the stage at the center of a 400-seat audience.

Steppenwolf’s season will kick off virtually before bringing fans to the space for the first time in November for a revival of “Bug,” written by Tracy Letts and directed by David Cromer.

For the first time in Steppenwolf’s 46-year history, every play in the upcoming season is written by an ensemble member.

Upcoming virtual shows by Steppenwolf:

  • A series of three short plays by Tracy Letts, streaming in September:
    • “The Old Country,” an animated short directed by Patrick Zakem about two men in a diner who finish the last of their coffee and are debating whether to order dessert.
    • “Night Safari,” a monologue directed by Patrick Zakem, starring Rainn Wilson, which explores various animal behaviors to pose questions about human biology.
    • “The Stretch,” a monologue directed by outgoing artistic director Anna D. Shapiro about a horse race at the El Dorado Stakes.
  • An untitled play by Tarell Alvin McCraney and directed by Amy Morton, streaming in October: “This production will engage the structure of a one-act told through a series of confessional monologues.”
  • “The Light Remains,” a filmed play written and directed by Tina Landau, which tells “six solo short stories that culminate in one shared, explosive act in a tale about what’s been lost and the myriad of ways in which we grieve.” Streaming in November.

On-stage live shows:

  • “Bug,” by Tracy Letts and directed by David Cromer. Nov. 11–Dec. 12 in the Downstairs Theater.
  • “King James,” by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Feb. 24–April 3 in the Downstairs Theater.
  • “Seagull,” by Anton Chekov and translated, adapted and directed by Yasen Peyankov. April 28–June 12, 2022, in the new Round Theater.
  • “Choir Boy,” by Tarell Alvin McCraney and directed by Kent Gash. June 16–July 24, 2022, in the Downstairs Theater.

More information on Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s upcoming season can be found on its website at

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