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Steppenwolf's Lineup Includes a Bruce Norris Premiere

By Paul Biasco | March 6, 2013 4:35pm

LINCOLN PARK — Steppenwolf Theater's 2013-14 lineup, which was announced Wednesday, will include the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Bruce Norris' "The Qualms" as well as the return of Joan Allen.

"The Qualms," which will debut in early July 2014, is Norris' Steppenwolf follow up to the hit "Clybourne Park." The play is set at a beach-side apartment complex where a group of friends gather for an evening of food, drink, drugs and partner-swapping gone awry, according to the theater.

The play will be directed by Pam MacKinnon, who staged "Clybourne Park" last season on Broadway.

Allen returns to Steppenwolf in the Sept. 12 American Premiere of "The Wheel," which premiered in Scotland in 2011.

"We are so proud to bring these stories to you, animated by some of the most exciting theater artists working today," said Steppenwolf's artistic director Martha Lavey. "It is a season of five plays that will move you, make you laugh out loud, and think deeply about how we live and love."

The season will include the Chicago premiere of "Tribes" on Dec. 5 and "Russian Transport" on Feb. 6.

"The Wheel" is set on a 19th-century Spanish farm that is overrun by soldiers as a family sets up for a wedding and follows a journey across war zones and through time.

"Tribes", by Nina Raine and directed by Austin Pendleton, is centered on a deaf man in an eccentric English family, who, upon meeting his girlfriend, is introduced to a larger deaf community leading to a struggle for self-identity and rebellion against his family. Pendleton recently directed "The Birthday Party" at Steppenwolf.

"Russian Transport," by Erika Sheffer and directed by Yasen Peyankov, premiered Off-Broadway in 2012, and follows a rowdy Russian family in Brooklyn on a daily hustle to achieve the American dream.

"The Way West", which debuts April 3, marks Amy Morton's directorial return to Steppenwolf after her performance on Broadway in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?."

The performance is set in a modern-day California town and tells the story of a mom who shares death-defying tales of pioneer crossings with her two adult daughters while waiting for her bankruptcy to come through.