Plus Steppenwolf has always had a reputation for being some of the best theatre that Chicago has going.
But here's the problem: Some years later, it hasn't been. I can recall maybe three memorable productions. Okay: Four.
And only one chance to see my boy M on stage. (Curiously, I’ve only seen Malkovich twice on stage – once in London and once in Chicago -- and both times he played the heir apparent of an Eastern Bloc country. What are the odds?)
So this year I didn't re-enlist, deciding instead to drop the coin on the one or two shows that I might really want to see at Steppenwolf, and then spread the rest of the wealth to some of the other great productions that are running in this city – that would include chasing the skirts of Mary Zimmerman wherever she may flit.
Then I got this email from David Hawkanson, Executive Director of Steppenwolf:
Renew your subscription by July 31st and if the 2006-2007 season does not completely meet your expectations, we'll provide a full refund.
All of it?
In essence, we're so confident you'll be satisfied by our upcoming season that we're willing “to put our money where our mouth is.” All of the productions will offer great acting of compelling stories, each in our intimate theatres. If after seeing all five plays you are disappointed in the Steppenwolf experience, we'll refund your money at the end of the season.
But how come?
We do not want to lose you as a subscriber. For whatever reason you've been reluctant to renew, please take this offer seriously.
So it seems I was not alone in assessing the suckitude of recent Steppenwolf seasons -- they've organized a whole marketing campaign around recovery.
Give me a few. I'll think it over.