John Mayer’s new book, which was released Aug. 11, would be a must-read for anybody interested in ensemble theater. But in addition, “Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago: In Their Own Words,” is gaining wide notice in Mayer’s native Chicago.
On the day the book dropped, an interview with Mayer, the chair of Stanislaus State’s Department of Theatre, was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The analogy I like to make about Steppenwolf is that it’s what Apple is to computers,” Mayer said. “Apple started in a garage and look where they are. Steppenwolf started in a basement, and look where they are.”
Mayer was part of the Highland Park, Ill., high school group in the 1970s that cultivated the idea of starting Steppenwolf, and appeared in several of the group’s earliest productions. Since then, Steppenwolf has moved from the high school to an 88-seat church basement to its present home – a state-of-the-art facility in Chicago’s Old Town district.
The book reads as an oral history of the theater, using the words of many performers who have moved through Steppenwolf, including Gary Sinise, Tom Irwin, Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, Joan Allen, Francis Guinan, Martha Lavey, Tracy Letts and Rondi Reed.
The book and its subject matter also has caught the attention of the famed Drama Book Shop in New York City, which is hosting Mayer for a discussion and book signing on Aug. 30. A similar event will be hosted by the Stan State University library in September.
More information on Mayer’s book can be found HERE.