Steppenwolf Theatre Company
The Beginning: In January of 1974, in Highland
Park, Illinois, Gary Sinise was approached by high school
classmates Rick Argosh and Leslie Wilson about putting on
a production of Paul Zindel's And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little.
Sinise had recently graduated from high school and Rick and
Leslie had one semester remaining. Highland Park High School
was where co-founders Jeff Perry and Gary Sinise had met and
became fast friends having done several plays together. Jeff
was now attending college at Illinois State University where
he had met co-founder Terry Kinney.
Gary agreed to be in the production of Zindel's play and proceeded
to seek out a space where Rick, Leslie and Gary could produce
the play. Gary's parents had a very good friend who had designed
a beautiful Unitarian church on Half Day Road in Deerfield,
Illinois and it was through this family friend that he was
able to secure the right to use the church for this inaugural
production of The Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The name Steppenwolf
came from the book by Herman Hesse which Argosh happened to
be reading at the time.
Three more plays were produced under this very first incarnation
of Steppenwolf. Grease, which Sinise would produce, direct
and act in with Argosh in the band and Wilson acting on stage,
The Glass Menagerie, which Argosh directed with Sinise appearing
as Tom, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, also directed
by Argosh, which would reunite high school pals Sinise and
Perry and be the first teaming of Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry,
and Gary Sinise, our three founders. It was during this production,
in June of 1974, that the three founders decided that when
Kinney and Perry were finished with college they would find
a permanent space and would attempt to start a professional
resident ensemble theatre company.
Steppenwolf was incorporated in 1975 and in the summer of
1976 they took up residence in the basement of a Catholic
school in Highland Park and expanded the ensemble to include
six other friends from Illinois State University. Steppenwolf
has now grown into a company which includes thirty-five theater
artists whose strengths include acting, directing, playwriting,
and textual adaptation.
Now in its third decade as a professional theater company,
Steppenwolf has received unprecedented national and international
recognition from media, theater critics, and audiences alike.
While Steppenwolf continues to live up to its many accolades,
the company has not lost sight of its original vision. Today
Steppenwolf remains committed to producing dynamic and exciting
theater. The company's subscription base of over 20,000 is
an indicator of the Chicago community's enthusiasm for Steppenwolf