The Steppenwolf Theater Company will present its world premiere production of King James by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, directed by acclaimed Tony and Obie Award-winning director Kenny Leon, at Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater from March 3 to April 10. 2022 (opening March 13). Starring ensemble member and artistic director Glenn Davis alongside Chris Perfetti (ABC-TV’s “Abbott Elementary”), this fast-paced, witty and deeply felt comedy is the story of an unlikely friendship forged by fandom, told through the lens of “King” The career and legacy of LeBron James. The two friends’ shared love of basketball and one-on-one word games helps them navigate the hopes, desires and fears they’ve pent up since childhood.
Single tickets to King James ($20-$88) go on sale this Friday, January 28 at 12 p.m. CT at steppenwolf.org and 312-335-1650. Steppenwolf members get single ticket access starting today. King James is co-commissioned and co-produced by Steppenwolf Theater Company and Center Theater Group.
Additionally, Steppenwolf today announced a new 4-game deal for $150 that includes King James, Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool (April 28-May 22), Tarell Ensemble member Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy (June 16-July 24), and ensemble member Yasen Peyankov’s adaptation of Seagull, which opens Steppenwolf’s new Ensemble Theater in the round honoring Helen Zell this spring (28 April-June 12). The 4-Play offer is available now at steppenwolf.org/4for150 and 312-335-1650.
King James is the latest play by Cleveland native Rajiv Joseph, who burst onto the American theatrical scene with Pulitzer Prize finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which had its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theater in 2009 before move to Broadway in 2011- where Glenn Davis starred in the production alongside Robin Williams. Joseph and Davis formed a strong friendship and working partnership that grew out of this production.
Playwright and ensemble member Rajiv Joseph shares, “I’ve always been interested in how sport intersects with our personal and spiritual lives. our local teams, but I always loved how sport brought people together, and how the shared love of a team or an athlete could foster connection and community. I started writing King James to explore those feelings, but while writing it I became fascinated by something else that I think I always knew, but never put into words… namely that some people (most often young men) who find it difficult to express their feelings, manage to do so by talking about sports. rages can often be decoded to reveal something deeper that has nothing to do with sports.”
“I’m thrilled to be back on the Steppenwolf stage for the first time in three years for King James,” said art director Glenn Davis. “Rajiv and I bonded during Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo on Broadway and have been close collaborators ever since. funny and heartfelt about friendship, I had to say ‘yes’ instantly.I feel very lucky to be on this journey with King James and I think Steppenwolf audiences are going to love this amazing and relatable new work from the world. one of America’s greatest writers.
Steppenwolf is one of more than 70 performing arts venues in Chicagoland that have agreed to COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for all audiences, performers and staff. For the most current Steppenwolf policies, visit steppenwolf.org/welcomeback.
By ensemble member Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Tony and Obie Award winner Kenny Leon
Featuring Ensemble Member and Artistic Director Glenn Davis alongside Chris Perfetti
In Steppenwolf’s Lower Theater
March 3 – April 10, 2022
Press openings: Sunday March 13 at 6 p.m.; Tuesday March 15 at 8 p.m.
Co-commissioned and co-produced by the Steppenwolf Theater Company and the Center Theater Group.
The reign of “King” LeBron James in Cleveland brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city that desperately needs all three. It also reunites two unlikely friends in a bond forged by fandom. Told over 12 years (from LeBron’s rookie season to an NBA championship), King James is an intimate exploration of the place sports have in our lives and relationships.
Ensemble member Rajiv Joseph’s clever, fast-paced comedy traces the arcs of two friends whose turbulent relationship is best navigated through their shared love of basketball and the endless amiable arguments that erupt from that love. All the while, the promise and burden of LeBron’s talent and legacy loom large.
Ticket Information: Single tickets ($20-$88) will go on sale to the general public this Friday, January 28 at 12 p.m. Receive a good price and access to the four remaining shows of the season with the new $150 4-Play offer which also includes Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool (April 28-May 22), Choir Boy of the member of the ensemble Tarell Alvin McCraney (June 16-July 24) and ensemble member Yasen Peyankov’s adaptation of Seagull, which opens Steppenwolf’s new in-the-round Ensemble Theater honoring Helen Zell this spring (April 28 to June 12).
4-Plays for $150 is available starting today, and single tickets for King James and the remaining 21/22 show will go on sale Friday, January 28 at 12 p.m. CT on steppenwolf.org and 312 -335-1650.
The King James creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (stage design); Samantha C. Jones (Costume Design); Lee Fiskness (lighting design); Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design); Polly Hubbard (Playwright); Gigi Buffington (corporate voice and text coach); Tom Pearl (production manager); JC Clementz, CSA (casting director); Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager); and Jaclynn Joslin (assistant manager). For full cast and creative team biographies, visit steppenwolf.org/kingjames.
Steppenwolf’s expanded campus
The Steppenwolf Theater Company’s new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture , with a build by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new arts and education center is the new 400-seat circular ensemble theater honoring Helen Zell, one of a kind in Chicago, with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue . The Ensemble Theater’s inaugural production will be ensemble member Yasen Peyankov’s extraordinarily funny and magical adaptation of Seagull, stacked with a cast of ensemble members (April 28-June 12, 2022).
Steppenwolf’s expanded campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, providing bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility and arts-based learning for Chicago’s youth in The Loft, the Steppenwolf’s very first dedicated educational space. The campus expansion also includes bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The new $54 million building is part of Steppenwolf’s $73 million multi-phase expansion campaign, Building on Excellence. Learn more about Steppenwolf’s campus expansion at steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.
A safe return
Steppenwolf is part of the growing coalition of more than 70 Chicagoland performing arts venues and producers who have agreed to COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for all audiences, artists and employees. Spectators must provide proof of vaccination in addition to wearing masks. Learn more about the Steppenwolf guidelines at steppenwolf.org/welcomeback.
Steppenwolf has worked over the past year with our operations team, public health advisors and HVAC consultants to prepare their facility to safely welcome customers for performance. The addition of the new Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center has expanded the square footage of the halls to nearly twice the space previously offered to patrons. Two additional elevators and several staircases have also been added to the Steppenwolf campus to facilitate the transition between seating levels. HVAC systems have undergone upgrades to allow for increased filtration and a higher percentage of circulating fresh air in all three theatres.
Steppenwolf offers accessible services to ensure that all members of the public have access to our work, including American Sign Language interpretation (available for student matinees as arranged with educational staff or for public performances below). below), Spanish subtitles, wheelchair accessible seating and more. If you have any questions, email [email protected]