Steppenwolf Theatre Company announces actor and comedian Rainn Wilson, well-known for his role as “Dwight Schrute” on NBC’s award-winning comedy The Office, will play the lead role of Thomas Irdley/Jimmy in the world premiere production of The Doppelgänger (An International Farce). Written by Chicagoland native Matthew-Lee Erlbach (Showtime’s Masters of Sex, Off-Broadway’sHandbook for an American Revolutionary) and directed by ensemble member Tina Landau (Broadway’s The SpongeBob Musical, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes), this new American farce features Steppenwolf ensemble members Alana Arenas, Audrey Francis, Ora Jones, Sandra Marquez and James Vincent Meredith along with Michael Accardo, Whit K. Lee, Andy Nagraj and Karen Rodriguez. Previously announced ensemble member Gary Cole is no longer in the cast due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict.
The Doppelgänger (An International Farce) begins previews April 5 (opening is April 15) and runs through May 27, 2018 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Press performances are Sunday, April 15 at 6pm and Tuesday, April 17 at 7:30pm. Single tickets ($20 - $99) go on sale this Friday, January 26 at 11amthrough Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org. Members have special pre-sale ticket access starting today through Friday. The two remaining shows of the season – Guards at the Taj and The Roommate also go on sale Friday, January 26 at 11am. To access pre-sale offer, purchase a Flex Membership at steppenwolf.org/memberships or 312-335-1650.
In the dangerous back channels of international resource politics, a wealthy British businessman suffers an untimely accident just before a critical African copper deal is signed. So when his unwitting (and witless) American doppelgänger is thrust into negotiations to avert intercontinental disaster, chaos erupts, leaving us wondering: whose side are we supposed to be on...and who will save Africa?? The Doppelgänger (An International Farce) is a hilarious, irreverent and timely look at the back-room deals that shape our world and the unlikely cast of characters who make them.
Rainn Wilson is an Emmy nominated and SAG award-winning actor with Chicagoland roots (he graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill.) who has found himself in a variety of comedic and theatrical roles throughout his career. His first breakthrough role came when he played assistant mortician “Arthur Martin” in HBO’s Six Feet Under, winning him and the cast a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.” Wilson is best known for playing the inimitable “Dwight Schrute” for nine seasons on NBC’s Emmy award-winning comedy The Office.
Wilson’s film credits include the Netflix feature Shimmer Lake, directed by Oren Uziel; Hesher, opposite Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon-Levett; Super, with Kevin Bacon, Liv Tyler, and Ellen Page; Cooties opposite Elijah Wood; and the acclaimed comedies Juno and Almost Famous. Most recently he starred in The Boy, which premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival; Permanent, opposite Patricia Arquette. Next up, Wilson co-stars in Warner Bros adventure feature “The Meg,” opposite Jason Statham.
On TV, Wilson portrayed the irascible but brilliant Detective Everett Backstrom in FOX's subversive/comic crime procedural Backstrom; and he recently appeared as a special guest star in Cameron Crowe’s Showtime series Roadies. Most recently, he made a splash in the new season of Star Trek as conman ‘Harry Mudd,’ and is upcoming in the HBO Duplass series 'Room 104.'
Wilson has an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts, and spent ten years doing theatre in New York before moving to Los Angeles. He was on Broadway in The Tempest with Patrick Stewart, and the Tony nominated London Assurance. Wilson worked off-Broadway at The Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons, and performed regularly at The Arena Stage, The Guthrie, and with the touring repertory theater The Acting Company. The comedy show he created, The New Bozena, had a successful off-Broadway run at The Cherry Lane, and later played in Los Angeles at The Hudson Guild and The Tiffany. Most recently, Wilson performed the critically acclaimed one-person monologue Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) at The Geffen.
Wilson founded the YouTube channel Soul Pancake, which has 2.5 million subscribers. In 2015 he published his memoir, “The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.”
Also featured in the cast: Ensemble member Alana Arenas (Rosie Akintunde) was last seen on the Steppenwolf stage in The Fundamentals and Marie Antoinette and played Cookie in the Steppenwolf, The Public and Mark Taper Forum’s productions of Head of Passes; ensemble member Audrey Francis (Beatrix Geddes-Renwick) is currently in rehearsal at Steppenwolf for You Got Older, recently directed Steep Theatre’s production of Invisible Hand and was in the Steppenwolf productions of The Fundamentals, Between Riverside and Crazy, and The Herd; ensemble member Ora Jones (Lolade Dtjotodia) was most recently in Steppenwolf’s world premieres of The Wheel and Three Sisters, was recently in the Studio Theatre’s production of Curve of Departure and in last season’s Broadway revival of Les Liasons Dangereuses; ensemble member Sandra Marquez (Theresa Irdley) was last seen on the Steppenwolf stage in Mary Page Marlowe and The Motherf**ker with the Hat and was recently in Teatro Vista’s production of FADE at Victory Gardens and The Sol Project’s production of Oedipus El Rey at The Public; and ensemble member James Vincent Meredith (Michel Dtjotodia) most recently performed in Steppenwolf’s world premiere of The Minutes, was in the 2015 Steppenwolf production of Between Riverside and Crazy and in a highly lauded production of Othello at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Michael Accardo(General Stanley Harcourt) was recently seen onstage in Drury Lane Theatre’s production of Chicago as Master of Ceremonies and Porchlight Music Theatre’s staged concert series as "Benny Buchsbaum" and "General 'Over-the-Top' Schreiber” and onscreen in Shameless and Chicago P.D.; Whit K. Lee (Wen Xiaoping) was in Actors Theatre of Louisville’s A Christmas Carol, the Off-Broadway productions of Attack of the Evis Impersonators and Junie B. Jones’ Essential Guide to School and the Netflix series Orange is the New Black; Andy Nagraj (Prince Amir Abdullah) is currently playing Ed Knight/Isaac Jaggard in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts production of The Book of Will and was recently in Court Theatre’s production of Harvey as Duane Wilson; Karen Rodriguez (Marina) was most recently seen on Steppenwolf’s stage in The Rembrandt as Madeline/Henny, in Hookman at Steep Theatre and in the critically acclaimed one woman show The Way She Spoke at Greenhouse Theater Center.
About the Playwright
Matthew-Lee Erlbach is an actor/playwright from Chicago and NYC whose plays include his critically acclaimed solo play, Handbook for an American Revolutionary (Gym at Judson) and Eager to Lose, a Burlesque Farce in Rhyming Verse (Ars Nova). Other plays include Kevin Lamb, King George III, Revelations, A Neighbor in the Area, and Electronic Persons, which have been developed with The New Group, Vineyard, Ars Nova, MCC, Williamstown, NYTW, SPACE on Ryder Farm and the Orchard Project, among others. A recipient of the 2016 Humanitas Prize New Voices Award, Puffin Foundation Grant, and member of Ars Nova’s 2014/15 Play Group, he has written for Showtime's Masters of Sex as well as for Nickelodeon, MTV, WWE, and The Huffington Post. He is a graduate of the public school system from K-College, a team leader for Habitat for Humanity Global Villages program, and runs a writing program for The Midnight Mission.
About the Director
Tina Landau is a writer, director, and teacher whose work includes directing/conceiving The Spongebob Musical(which opened in Chicago ahead of its Broadway run), Tarell McCraney’s Head of Passes (Steppenwolf, The Public and the Mark Taper Forum), Wig Out! (Vineyard Theatre), In the Red and Brown Water (The Public), Bill Irwin/David Shiner’s Old Hats and Chuck Mee’s Big Love and Iphigenia 2.0 (all Signature Theatre), Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas (New York Theatre Workshop), and her musical Floyd Collins (also bookwriter/additional lyrics, Playwrights Horizons.) On Broadway, Landau directed Tracy Letts’s Superior Donuts and the revival of Bells Are Ringing. At Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where she is an ensemble member, her directing credits include The Wheel, Hot L Baltimore, The Brother/Sister Plays, The Tempest, The Time of Your Life (also Seattle Rep, ACT), The Diary of Anne Frank, The Cherry Orchard, The Ballad of Little Jo, Berlin Circle, and her own play Space (also Mark Taper Forum, the Public.) Regional credits include Beauty (also writer, La Jolla Playhouse), Antony and Cleopatra (Harford Stage), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (McCarter Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse). Landau has co-authored The Viewpoints Book with Anne Bogart and has taught regularly at such schools as Yale, Columbia, Harvard, and Northwestern. She is currently at work on their follow-up book, Viewpoints on Viewpoints.
The Doppelgänger production team includes Todd Rosenthal (scenic design), Clint Ramos (costume design), Scott Zielinski (lighting design), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design and original music). Additional credits include Malcolm Ewen (stage manager), Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director), Gigi Buffington (company vocal coach) and Jonathan Berry (artistic producer).
Tickets & Membership Info
Single Tickets ($20-$99) go on sale Friday, January 26 at 11am through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650, steppenwolf.org. Members receive pre-sale access starting now through Friday, January 26. Black Card Memberships are still available for the remainder of the 17/18 season. They are designed for audiences interested in extreme flexibility with six tickets for use any time for any production. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts for pre- and post-show socializing. Red Card memberships are available for theatergoers under 30. To purchase a Flex Card Membership, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org/memberships.
Remaining 2017/18 Season
Up next on the Steppenwolf stage is the Chicago premiere of You Got Older by Clare Barron, directed by Jonathan Berry (January 25 – March 11); followed by Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ production of The Burn by Philip Dawkins, directed by Devon de Mayo (February 17 – March 11).
Also on sale Friday, January 26 at 11am are the final two shows of the 17/18 season:
Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph, a story about the search for beauty in desperate circumstances (May 31 – June 22, 2018) directed by ensemble member Amy Morton who returns to direct the cast from the acclaimed Off-Broadway production; and The Roommate, by Jen Silverman, directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show, A Raisin In The Sun, Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County). In The Roommate a comically mismatched pair of roommates leads to a surprising and touching friendship (June 21 – August 5, 2018).
Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance, and the Downstairs and 1700 Theatres are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theaters feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ($12 or $14, cash or card) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance at 1650 N Halsted St starting at 5pmon weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12 noon before Wednesday matinees. Limited street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at312.335.1774.
The Doppelgänger is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as United Airlines and PwC. United Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor for the 17/18 season.
Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks
Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, offering a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesdays – Sundays from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso is provided by La Colombe and food prepared by Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service. www.front-bar.com
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble of 49 members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programming includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre,twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.