Steppenwolf’s LookOut series is proud to present The Yard’s production of columbinus by the United States Theatre Project, written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli. Directed by Mechelle Moe and performed by The Yard’s 15 young-person ensemble, columbinus runs Thursday, May 3 – Saturday, May 26 in the 1700 Theatre. Press date is Friday, May 4 at 8pm. Tickets ($15 - $25) to columbinus are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Red and Black Card Members can use their credits toward columbinus, and Black Card members get 2-for-1 tickets.
columbinus, a docu-drama, explores the cultural and personal pathologies that gave rise to the horrific events in Littleton, Colorado in 1999, when two students went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School, killing a dozen students and a teacher before killing themselves.
This examination of the ecosphere of the average American high school presents an anonymous portrait of high school life in the fictionalized first act, before focusing in detail on the devastating events at Columbine in the second. columbinus probes the psychological warfare of alienation, hostility, and social pressure that goes on in high schools across America.
Created by The United States Theatre Project, written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, with dramaturgy by Patricia Hersch, and conceived and directed by PJ Paparelli, columbinus weaves together excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton as well as diaries and home video footage to bring to light the dark recesses of American adolescence.
In the wake of our most recent school shooting at Parkland HighSchool in Florida, our country’s 12th in the infant stages of 2018, The Yard’s 18 young-person based ensemble teams with Steppenwolf's LookOut Series to explore an epidemic that continues to plague our society at a continually alarming rate.
“Our mission is to perform stories relevant to young people, performed by young people. And, unfortunately, there is no other topic that resonates more right now with the young people of our company. Several members of our cast are the ones leading the charge at school protests and student walkouts in the wake of the Florida school shootings. They are young activists, and this show provides an artistic platform for a much needed discussion of why, so many years after the Columbine shootings, incidents like this--which at the time seemed so surreal and impossible--are now the new norm. The Yard is interested in exploring their art as a form of activism, how theater can engage with a societal problem, and how this story told by young people might be seen through a different lens,” shares Mechelle Moe.
The Yard, a professional youth theatre company founded in 2015 by Mechelle Moe and Joel Ewing, is committed to producing theatre that is relevant to young people and performed by young people. Originally a collective of Senn Arts Magnet High School students, The Yard partners with established theatre companies to create professional theatrical experiences that immerse students in every aspect of the Chicago storefront theatre-making process.
About the Cast & Creative Team
The columbinus cast features Meitav Aaron, Brian Baren, Alex Brinkman, Danielle Chemlewski, Joel Ewing, Jyreika Guest, Thavorey Hang, Rory Hayes, Colin Huerta, Liliana Mastroianni, Victor Musoni, Azalia Resendiz, Iza Rodriguez, Erol Ibrahimovic, Cleo Shine, Ervin Tobar and Elodie Tougne.
The columbinus production team includes John Wilson (scenic design), Brandon Wardell (lighting design) and Aaron Stephenson (sound design). Other credits include Mechelle Moe (director), Jared Bellot (assistant director), Dana Murphy (movement director), Lucas Garcia (dramaturgy), Max Fabian (violence designer) and Daniel Parsons (stage manager). Mechelle Moe and Joel Ewing are the Artistic Directors of The Yard.
LookOut is Steppenwolf’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends.
Schedule & Ticket Info
columbinus runs May 3 – 26 in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre. Press night is Friday, May 4 at 8pm. Performance schedule is as follows: 5/3, 5/4 at 8pm; 5/5 at 4pm & 8pm; 5/9, 5/10, 5/11, 5/17, 5/18 at 8pm; 5/19 4pm & 8pm; 5/23, 5/24, 5/25 at 8pm; 5/26 at 4pm & 8pm. Tickets ($15-$25) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted), steppenwolf.org or 312-335 1650.Steppenwolf Red Card and Black Card Members may use credits towards any LookOut programming. John Zinn, Greta Honold and Patrick Zakem are the producers for LookOut. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/lookout.
Remaining Steppenwolf 2017/18 Season
Currently in rehearsals is The Doppelgänger (an international farce) by Matthew-Lee Erlbach, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau and featuring Rainn Wilson, which plays April 5 – May 27, 2018 in the Downstairs Theatre, followed by 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. Concluding the season is 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 5pm on 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 at 312.335.1774.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble represents 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.
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