MarieAntoinette_Production05

What? A Black Marie? Marie Antoinette? A Black Marie at the Steppenwolf Theatre? Yep and Yes’m. Running through May 10, the Steppenwolf Theatre presents the fantastical re-imaginings of the story of that gal who so boldly replied when told that the peasants of her country had no bread to eat – “then let them eat cake.”

Marie Antoinette was born an archduchess of Austria and as a teen in April 1770, she married Louis-Auguste, the dauphin of France. When her husband ascended to the throne in May 1774, she became the queen of France. Seven years later, she gave birth to her first daughter. At the onset of her queendom, she was adored across the land, but when the tides turned on the finances of France, the people turned on Marie.

Let’s think, the highly popular FOX-TV series, Empire. Perhaps Tianna marries Hakeem; the IPO goes through; Hakeem’s daddy, Lucius, dies; and Hakeem becomes the king. Tianna becomes the new queen of Empire Nation with Cookie looking from the wings with some serious side-eye. The other brothers plot away. Cookie decides to make the best of the situation and places Tianna in the spotlight, moving from true teen sensation to legitimate star. Tianna has a child to satisfy the bloodline and further the musical dynasty, but her other proclivities build and mount. She spends more than she spins; she laughs lavishly and entertains enormously until the coffers are almost bare, but she has no care. She didn’t build it. Such is the rethinking of the story of Marie Antoinette, an historical figure seen through the same lens in which we see, love and often loathe celebrity today.

David Adjmi’s contemporary take on the young queen of France is such a modern retelling. More Britney, more Mariah, more Miley, more Whitney. “David Adjmi gives us a Marie both set in her historical moment with references to the events of her time, but with anachronisms that point to our current cultural moment,” shares Martha Lavey, Steppenwolf’s artistic director.

Marie Antoinette received a critically acclaimed world premiere co-production with American Repertory Theatre and Yale Repertory in 2012 and won three Connecticut Critics Circle Awards. The play received its New York premiere at Soho Rep in fall 2013 in a sold-out run.

“I think we’re in love with train wrecks. And Marie was a glorious train wreck,” says Robert O’Hara, director. “Watching someone who we put up on a pedestal fall down is thrilling. It says something about our own humanity actually. So I want people to walk into this world of royalty and make it a sort of high-end event. It will be beautiful—we’re going to wreck it, but you’re going to enjoy it.”

David Adjmi is an award-winning playwright and recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mellon Foundation Playwrights Residency and many other awards.

Director Robert O’Hara received the NAACP Best Director Award for his direction of Eclipsed by Danai Guiria.

Marie Antoinette is played by Steppenwolf Ensemble member Alana Arenas as the oh-so-loveable and hate-able Marie. You might have seen Arenas in Steppenwolf’s The Bluest Eye and The Brother/Sister Plays, Eyes (eta Creative Arts), SOST (MPAACT), WVON (Black Ensemble Theater) and Hecuba (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

The cast features ensemble members, Tim Hopper and Alan Wilder, along with Matthew Abraham, Tim Frank, Keith D. Gallagher, Mark Page, Tamberla Perry, Ericka Ratcliff and Ariel Shafir.

So, put on your best frock to see the queen! For more details, visit http://www.Steppenwolf.org.

David Adjmi is an award-winning playwright and recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mellon Foundation Playwrights Residency and many other awards.

Director Robert O’Hara received the NAACP Best Director Award for his direction of Eclipsed by Danai Guiria.

Marie Antoinette is played by Steppenwolf Ensemble member Alana Arenas as the oh-so-loveable and hate-able Marie. You might have seen Arenas in Steppenwolf’s The Bluest Eye and The Brother/Sister Plays, Eyes (eta Creative Arts), SOST (MPAACT), WVON (Black Ensemble Theater) and Hecuba (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

The cast features ensemble members, Tim Hopper and Alan Wilder, along with Matthew Abraham, Tim Frank, Keith D. Gallagher, Mark Page, Tamberla Perry, Ericka Ratcliff and Ariel Shafir.

So, put on your best frock to see the queen! For more details, visit http://www.Steppenwolf.org.

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