Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf for Young Adults' world-premiere stage adaptation of the bestselling novel, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, adapted by Heidi Stillman. The Book Thief is staged by Hallie Gordon in partnership with Chicago Public Library's One Book, One Chicago and the citywide, season-long Now Is The Time initiative with Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves and other local cultural organizations. The Book Thief runs October 16 – November 9, 2012 in Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St); the press performance is on October 20 at 3pm. Author Markus Zusak will participate in a post-show discussion following the 3pm performance on Sunday, October 21. School performances are sold out, and tickets to public performances are limited.
Leisel Meminger is a young girl struggling to survive in Nazi Germany. Her life is filled with risk and danger but her love of books guides her through a brutal world. Death watches over her, fascinated by humankind's will to live. The Book Thief looks at the terrible cost of violence, bearing witness to our compassion and complicity. When Death tells a story, you listen.
"In recent years, violence towards youth has become overwhelming," comments director Hallie Gordon. "As theater artists we work with students scared to play outside, scared to travel to school, scared because they face torment at school from bullying. Therefore, we have engaged with Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves and other theaters and cultural organizations for Now Is The Time, a season-long partnership inspiring positive change in our great city."
Now Is The Time is a year-long citywide conversation about how young people can make positive change in their communities and stop the trend of youth violence and intolerance. They are joined by dozens of other organizations and institutions around the city, including a coalition of Chicago's finest theater companies, for Now is the Time to ACT. Learn more at nowisthetimechicago.org.
Since the fall of 2001, One Book, One Chicago has encouraged Chicagoans of all backgrounds and ages to read the same book at the same time, and come together to discuss a great piece of literature. This marks the third Steppenwolf production of a One Book, One Chicago selection, following The House on Mango Street (2009) and The Crucible (2007).
The Cast of The Book Thief features ensemble member Francis Guinan (Him) with Patrick Andrews (Max), Amy J. Carle (Rosa Hubermann), Rob Fagin (Hans Jr.), Rae Gray (Liesel Meminger), Dennis William Grimes (Steiner), Nikki Klix (Ensemble), Ian Knox (Ensemble), Anthony-Jon LeSage (Ensemble), Clancy McCartney (Rudy), Andy Monson (Tommy), Mark Ulrich (Hans Hubermann) and Nicole Wiesner (Ilsa).
Adaptor Heidi Stillman is an ensemble member and Artistic Director of New Work at Lookingglass Theatre Company. Her writing and directing credits at Lookingglass include Cascabel: Dinner, Daring, and Desire, Hephaestus, The Brothers Karamazov (2009 Raven Award), Hard Times (five Jeff Awards) and The Master and Margarita (Jeff Award nomination). Additional writing credits include The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, The Old Curiosity Shop (Jeff Award for adaptation) and The Baron in the Trees (Jeff Award nomination). Directing credits include Trust, The Wooden Breeks and Hillbilly Antigone. Heidi has also staged Around the World in 80 Days (Kansas City Repertory Theatre) and Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).
Along with selecting the young adult productions each season, director Hallie Gordon has created the Young Adult Council, a group of high school students who collectively help to create innovative programming for their peers. As a theater artist, Hallie has directed Eclipsed at Northlight Theatre. For Steppenwolf, Hallie has directed Heart is a Lonely Hunter, To Kill a Mockingbird, the world premiere of a new adaptation by Tanya Saracho of The House on Mango Street and Harriet Jacobs adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond. A new premiere of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond and transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. She has directed staged readings for Goodman Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Hallie is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Achievement Award.