Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, is pleased open its 48th season with the Chicago premiere of Sanctuary City, Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok’s (Cost of Living, Ironbound) harrowing and hopeful tale of immigration and young love, directed by Steph Paul, playing September 14 – November 18, 2023 in Steppenwolf’s stunning in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, 1646 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Classic Memberships are now on sale for Steppenwolf’s 2023/24 season at steppenwolf.org/myseason. Single tickets for Sanctuary City starting at $20 are now on sale at steppenwolf.org or the Box Office at (312) 335-1650. The press opening is Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 7:30 pm.
Sanctuary City will feature Grant Kennedy Lewis, Brandon Rivera and Jocelyn Zamudio.
Newark, NJ. Post-9/11. Two teenagers, brought to America as children, now face an unlikely foe: unexpected, unreciprocated love. Their friendship is no longer enough (for one of them) and their adopted country doesn’t love them back. Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok brings light to the sacrifices made by DREAMers, lovers and life-long friends in the heartbreaking and hopeful Sanctuary City – a story that fractures and transcends – crossing boundaries, borders and genre in search of a place to call home.
Comments playwright Martyna Majok, “At its core, Sanctuary City is about a great love and deep friendship – a personal, human story of connection tested by something political. The characters are composites of people I know, combinations of aspects of people I grew up with or people I’ve been. Sanctuary City invites an audience into that world at that specific time in history – which I think more and more feels like the time we're living in now.”
An Intergenerational Experience
Sanctuary City is the first Steppenwolf production that includes both a full Membership Series run, as well as a full run of student matinees as a part of the Steppenwolf for Young Adults series, providing a synergistic opportunity to cultivate more intergenerational audiences. Student matinees will take place at 10 am on weekdays from October 23 – November 17, 2023. Tickets are only $5 for students and chaperones are free. To register your school, click here. Recommended for grades eight and up. Throughout the full run, tickets start at $5 for teens through the Teen Arts Pass and regular tickets are $15 for college students.
In addition to student matinees, being a part of SYA means that Sanctuary City will have a robust study guide created by Steppenwolf’s education staff, pre-show events for teens hosted by the company’s teen council and several intergenerational community events with partner organizations across Chicago. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/education.
The Sanctuary City creative team includes Yeaji Kim (Scenic Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Reza Behjat (Lighting Design), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Design), Greg Geffrard (Intimacy Choreographer), Kate DeVore (Vocal Coach), Patrick Zakem (Creative Producer), Alex Lee Reed (SYA Producer), Elise Hausken (Production Manager), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Michelle Medvin (Production Stage Manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (Assistant Production Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, click here.
LookOut Series Programming
This September, Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series is excited to present three shows in conversation with Sanctuary City. These three productions in Steppenwolf’s intimate 1700 Theater (1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago) offer audiences the opportunity to continue exploring the themes of Sanctuary City with Chicago-specific stories about immigration and our relationship to the idea of home. Tickets are now on sale at steppenwolf.org/lookout or by calling the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.
Your Driver Has Arrived
By Nestor “The Boss” Gomez
Wednesday, September 13 & Friday, September 15 at 8 pm
Tickets: $25 general admission, $15 students
Get in the driver seat with Nestor “The Boss” Gomez and hear Chicago stories from the point of view of a former undocumented immigrant, learning to navigate the streets and interact with the many residents of his adoptive city.
By Jitish Jaggi
Thursday, September 14 & Saturday, September 16 at 8 pm
Tickets: $25 general admission, $15 students
This hilarious soul-stirring one-man show by Jitesh Jaggi shares a collection of stories about immigrating from India to the United States of America. From battles with visa authorities to culture shock and harsh weather, this show is for anyone who has ever longed for a home.
Good Evening with Pat Whalen
Friday, September 22 at 8 pm
Tickets: $20 general admission
Good Evening with Pat Whalen has been Chicago's only late-night talk-show news-alternative for over eight years. Combining civic and state-wide issues with a comedic format, Good Evening with Pat Whalen strives to leave everyone entertained, educated and engaged. This episode focuses on issues of immigration and the city of Chicago. Featured guests to be announced.
Sanctuary City Production Details:
Title: Sanctuary City
Playwright: Martyna Majok
Director: Steph Paul
Cast: Grant Kennedy Lewis (B), Brandon Rivera (Henry) and Jocelyn Zamudio (G).
Location: Steppenwolf’s Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, 1646 N. Halsted St., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, September 14 at 7:30 pm, Friday, September 15 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, September 16 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm, Sunday, September 17 at 3 pm, Wednesday, September 20 at 7:30 pm; Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 pm and Friday, September 22 at 7:30 pm.
Press performance/Opening: Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Tuesday, September 26 – Saturday, November 18, 2023
Curtain Times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays and Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm; and Sundays at 3 pm (through October 21, 2023). Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm (October 28 – November 18, 2023). Please note: there will be a 2 pm performance on Wednesday, October 11; there will not be at 7:30 pm performance on Wednesday, October 11 or Tuesday, October 17.
Tickets: Classic Memberships are now on sale for Steppenwolf’s 2023/24 season at steppenwolf.org/myseason featuring two world premieres and three Chicago premieres. Single tickets for Sanctuary City ($20 - $114) are now on sale at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650. Steppenwolf Flex Memberships are also currently on sale: Black Card Memberships with six tickets for use any time for any production and RED Card Memberships for theatergoers under 30. Tickets start at $15 for teens through the Teen Arts Pass and regular tickets are $15 for college students.
Accessible Performance Dates:
Audio-described and touch tour: Sunday, October 8 at 3 pm (1:30 pm touch tour, 3 pm curtain)
Open-captioned: Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 pm & Saturday, October 21 at 3 pm
ASL-interpreted: Friday, October 13 at 7:30 pm
Relaxed/sensory-friendly: Saturday, October 28 at 3 pm
ASL-interpreted student matinee: Friday, November 3 at 10 am
Spanish language-captioned: Saturday, November 4 at 3 pm
Martyna Majok (Playwright) was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, Cost of Living, which debuted on Broadway this fall. Other plays include Sanctuary City, Queens and Ironbound. Other awards include The Obie Award for Playwriting, The Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Exceptional Playwriting, Hull-Warriner Award, Lanford Wilson Prize, Lilly Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Helen Merrill Prize, Helen Hayes Award, Jean Kennedy Smith, two Jane Chambers Awards, The Hermitage/Greenfield Prize, Francesca Primus Prize and NYTW's 2050 Fellowship. She is currently writing a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and developing projects for TV and film.
Steph Paul (Director) is a Brooklyn-based director/choreographer who clears space for uninhibited physical truth. What comes up must come out. She weaves together her lived experience as a first-gen Haitian-American, body percussionist, dancer and athlete, and is passionate about art as a means to build a team. Her work includes: How to Defend Yourself (New York Theatre Workshop, Victory Gardens, Humana Festival), Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (Manhattan Theatre Club, Humana Festival), The Royale (Kansas City Repertory Theatre, City Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, American Theater Company), Becky Nurse of Salem (Lincoln Center), The Last Match (Writers Theatre), The Wolves (Studio Theatre). Additional credits include: Shakespeare Theatre Company, American Players Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Goodman Theatre, Definition Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project and Third Rail Projects. International: NYU Abu Dhabi, Royal Opera House Muscat, National Theatre of Scotland. Awards: Princess Grace Award, Helen Hayes Award, St. Louis Theatre Circle and Jeff Award nominee. Steph is a proud NYTW Usual Suspect, Chicago Dance Crash Artistic Associate, and SDC member. She is also a big fan of curating playlists, açaí bowls and improbable comebacks. www.stephpaul.com
Grant Kennedy Lewis (B) is excited to make his Steppenwolf Theatre Company debut. Chicago: The Whistleblower (u/s) (Theater Wit); Murder on the Orient Express (u/s), A Christmas Carol (u/s) (Drury Lane Theater); Wellesley Girl (Compass Theatre); Film: Mover’s Ultimate. Television: The Chi, Chicago Med. Education: BFA, Northwestern University. “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” Lewis is repped by Gray Talent Group (www.graytalentgroup.com). Instagram: @grantklew.
Brandon Rivera (Henry) Steppenwolf: Debut. Chicago: Pretty Shahid (Jackalope Theatre); Rust (Goodman Theatre); Light Falls, The Leopard Play (or sad songs for lost boys), Pomona, Zürich, Brilliant Adventures (Steep Theatre); Pinocchio (The House Theatre of Chicago); Akeelah and the Bee (Adventure Stage Chicago); Into the Beautiful North (16th Street Theater). Regional: Ironbound (Penobscot Theatre Company); No Child (Cape Fear Regional Theatre). Education: BFA, University of Illinois – Urbana, Champaign. Rivera is a proud ensemble member of Steep Theatre and prouder alumnus of the Steppenwolf Young Adult Council.
Jocelyn Zamudio (G) Steppenwolf Theatre Company: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (u/s). Chicago: Rust (Goodman Theatre, New Stages). Regional: Bull: a love story (Paramount Theatre). Television: Chicago PD, The Chi. Zamudio is represented by Gray Talent Group.
As a commitment to make the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each STC production (see dates above). Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and all our spaces are equipped with an induction hearing loop. Our building features wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, push-button entrances, a courtesy wheelchair and all-gender restrooms, with accessible counter and table spaces at our bars. For additional information regarding accessibility, visit steppenwolf.org/plan-your-visit/accessibility or e-mail email@example.com.
United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is also grateful for the significant season support from Northern Trust, Allstate Insurance Company, Amazon, ComEd, Conagra Brands Foundation, PNC, and Vinci Restaurant. Additional Steppenwolf Education support comes from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros. Foundation, ADM and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. Steppenwolf also acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.
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 membership series; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; and LookOut, a multi-genre performance series. 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 marked the opening of Steppenwolf’s landmark 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. Keating Crown 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.