You don’t have to be a theater lover to appreciate what’s happening up on 1650 North Halsted Street. Today, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company officially opened its new building, The Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center. The project consists of a $54,000,000 multi-purpose building designed by The Loop’s AS+GG.
Inside the 50,000-square-foot structure is a 400-seat theater called The Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell. It is one of those theater-in-the-round experiences that work so well with really old stuff, like Shakespeare, and really new stuff like the one-person shows that seem to come and go like the seasons. Because it’s “in-the-round,” the four-hundred seats fit into just six rows, so even if you’re in the cheap ones, you’re only 20 feet away from the action. We won’t call it “intimate” because pretty much every other publication has called it that. We’ll go with “personal,” because it will allow people to experience not just the performance, but the performers, in a way that is special.
Also on offer is The Loft, which spans the entirety of the fourth floor and is a dedicated education space for theater students.
If you do get a chance to check out a show at Steppenwolf, keep an eye out for the new history wall, which showcases ephemera from the organization’s history.