The Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble has come a long way since it began performing in a Unitarian Church basement in the 1970s. Today, the highly regarded performance group has three dynamic spaces in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Its mainstage Downstairs Theatre hosts world production premieres and fresh interpretations of classic and contemporary plays. The Upstairs Theatre has 299 seats that reflects the company’s commitment to the intimacy of the actor-audience relationship. And the newest theater, the 1700, is a casual, intimate and flexible space dedicated to the Steppenwolf company and emerging local theater companies.
Steppenwolf Theatre Facilities
The Steppenwolf Theatre houses three diverse venues on Halsted Street in Lincoln Park. The Downstairs Theatre is the largest venue, with 515 seats and a full bar with liquor, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. The slightly smaller Upstairs Theatre has 299 seats with a fully stocked bar and comfortable lounge area in the lobby.
The newest venue is the 1700 Theatre, which has a casual, intimate, and flexible design for 80 seats. It is located directly behind the theater’s Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks 2,500-square-foot cafe and bar. By day, the cafe and bar space serves as a neighborhood hub for La Colombe coffee, pastries, and lunch. At night, this creative space is great to meet with collaborators, before and after performances.
Steppenwolf Theatre Programs
The downstairs hosts the company’s largest and most impressive performances. It has featured an array of intricate stage set-ups. For example, a string quartet has floated above the stage for A Clockwork Orange. It has been washed with rain for Three Days of Rain and has hosted life-size cars for I Just Stopped By to See the Man. Productions like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Song of Jacob Zulu originated in the theater before touring Broadway and beyond. The venue also hosts co-productions with visiting companies, like Tennessee Williams One Arm, presented by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, About Face Theatre and Tectonic Theater Project.
????Meanwhile, the Upstairs Theatre (formerly Steppenwolf Studio) was inaugurated in 1993 Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile. It still works to reflect the company’s vision for an intimate actor-audience relationship.
The theater’s newest space, the 1700 Theatre was created as a casual, intimate, and flexible space for a wide variety of genres and shows. It hosts everything from dance to live music and spoken word. It is home to LookOut, the theater’s performance series.
Ardent theater-buffs can purchase a membership subscription. The Classic Membership boasts guaranteed seats and early access to 5, 6, or all 7 shows for as low as $20 per show. The Director’s Circle boasts VIP status and premium benefits plus two complimentary five-play packages. Or, invest in the Black or Red card for anytime access and exclusive previews.
Getting to Steppenwolf Theatre
It’s easy to drive to Steppenwolf Theatre, with self parking just 150 feet south of the theater at 1624 N Halsted. Steppenwolf also partners with Rapid Valet for valet service directly in front of the venue at 1650 N Halsted Street.
Or, take public transit on the Red Line L to North Clybourn. The CTA number 8 and 72 busses also have routes convenient to the venue.