Steppenwolf Theatre isn’t just back from the pandemic—it’s back and bigger than ever. The ensemble theater company is staging its first performance in 20 months at its new 50,000-square-foot campus on Chicago’s North Halsted Street. Christening the new space is Tracy Letts’s 1996 play, Bug, about an Oklahoma waitress who sleeps with a nomad passing through town (after they smoke crack cocaine together). Set in a cheap motel, the hookup turns into a nightmare after the drifter rips the smoke alarm off the wall and starts searching for an insect infestation. Directed by the Tony-winning David Cromer and starring Jennifer Engstrom and Steve Key—Letts is featured in the ensemble—the play is a thriller fueled by paranoia. After the performance, the audience can ease its nerves at the campus’s wine bar or craft beers bar. For those outside the Chicago area, three new plays by Letts (filmed in the new theater) are streaming online until late October. —J.D.
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