What’s better than a story driven forward by the willpower of an intelligent and beautiful woman? Meet East of Eden, the Steppenwolf Theatre’s latest production, Steinbeck’s 1952 novel was first adapted into a film starring James Dean, and this stage production is the newest transformation the text has taken. This is Frank Galati’s second adaptation of Steinbeck; his first was The Grapes of Wrath, which traveled to London, Broadway, and California in 1989-90 and won two Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Director. As Galati said, “For me, this adaptation and production are the continuation of a journey Steppenwolf began with The Grapes of Wrath. After 40 years, our company is still together, still telling stories, still an ensemble against all odds.”
This family drama, propelled by the mysterious Kate, makes for emotionally engaging viewing. The play runs for three hours, but is fast-paced and low on filler; each scene carries weight and contributes to the mesmerizing spiral of the plot. Beyond the stellar performances of the cast, the staging is breathtakingly beautiful as it guides the audience through the years in Salinas Valley, California, leading up to and through World War I.
With Steppenwolf co-founder Terry Kinney directing and ensemble members Kate Arrington, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper, and Alan Wilder performing a play written by Tony winner Galati, East of Eden is Chicago’s can’t-miss cultural event this Fall.
East of Eden runs through November 15, 2015. You can purchase tickets here.