Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Anna D. Shapiro (BA ’90), artistic director of Chicago’s acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company, is directing the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts’ new drama, Mary Page Marlowe. Shapiro’s previous collaborations with Letts include the Steppenwolf world premiere and subsequent Broadway production of his play August: Osage County, which won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play — and for which Shapiro won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Play. Mary Page Marlowe is the first show Shapiro has directed at Steppenwolf since becoming the company’s artistic director in fall of 2015. Both Letts and Shapiro are Steppenwolf ensemble members.
“Tracy and I have developed a shared aesthetic over many years of collaborating together as actor/director and playwright/director. We have a mutual vocabulary that embodies the ensemble principle while, at the same time, challenges our individual sensibilities and ideas in complementary ways,” says Shapiro. “For me, this play does what Steppenwolf Theatre does best: finding the spectacular in the mundane and turning the every-day into the most-important-day, and all the while reflecting our common humanity.”
Shapiro received an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Columbia College Chicago in May 2015, when she addressed the commencement exercises for graduating Theatre majors. To see a video of her commencement speech, click here.
Mary Page Marlowe‘s title character is an accountant from Ohio. She’s led an ordinary life, making the difficult decisions we all face as we try to figure out who we really are and what we really want. As the play examines moments — both pivotal and mundane — from Mary’s life, a portrait of a surprisingly complicated woman emerges. Seven different actors portray Mary over the span of her lifetime.