RANCH TRIANGLE — Steppenwolf Theatre is bringing in the heavy hitters for the premiere of what is, by all appearances, a major new Tracy Letts play.
Steppenwolf announced Friday that ensemble members (and Hollywood stars) William Petersen and Kevin Anderson would be joining the cast of Letts' new play "The Minutes," set for a Nov. 19 premiere at the theater at 1650 N. Halsted St.
Ensemble members James Vincent Meredith and Sally Murphy were also announced Friday, joining the already-cast Francis Guinan and Ian Barford.
Steppenwolf describes the play as " a scathing new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power that exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely held American narratives while asking each of us what we would do to keep from becoming history’s losers."
Letts likewise is a Steppenwolf trouper, having also starred as an actor in its revival of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," and "The Minutes" is his seventh play to premiere at the company. Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna Shapiro directs, and it's the fifth collaboration between the two.
Letts, of course, wrote the Steppenwolf blockbuster "August: Osage County," which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award after the Steppenwolf production moved on to Broadway. He's since delved in humbler statements like "Superior Donuts," recently converted into a CBS-TV sitcom, and the time-traveling "Mary Page Marlowe."
His most recent "Linda Vista," however, starring Barford as a newly divorced man, displayed a new maturity and refinement of his craft, while peppering in caustic lines about President Donald Trump and those who voted for him, clearly added ahead of the premiere earlier this year after the play had been scheduled before Trump's election.
"The Minutes" would appear to be continuing down that same path, perhaps in an even more aggressive manner, and Steppenwolf's production is already set to move on to Broadway in the spring.
Peterson is a longtime Chicago stage actor who was a founding member of the legendary Remains Theater and went on to star in the original CBS-TV drama "CSI." He later joined Steppenwolf and starred in the company's version of Samuel Beckett's "Endgame."
Anderson is perhaps best known for the TV series "Nothing Sacred" and "Skin," although he returned to Steppenwolf in 2010 to star opposite Laurie Metcalf in "Detroit" (a comedy unaffiliated with the current feature film).