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NEA awards $100,000 to Steppenwolf for McCraney play

Steppenwolf Theatre has received a National Endowment of the Arts grant for $100,000 to help support the world-premiere production of “Head of Passes,” a work by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney.

It will be directed by Tina Landau on the company’s mainstage, running April 4–June 9, 2013.

Described as “a profound and intimate exploration of faith and its role in American culture today,” the show focuses particularly on the African-American community, “in which women are typically the keepers of tradition, the bearers of suffering, and the tellers of story.”

McCraney, whose earlier work, “The Brother/Sister Trilogy,” was staged at Steppenwolf several years ago, has taken his inspiration from the biblical Book of Job to spin a contemporary story about God’s retribution and a woman’s sacrifice as it plays out in the murky swamplands at the mouth of the Mississippi — an area named “Head of Passes.”

The production will feature Steppenwolf ensemble members Alana Arenas and Tim Hopper, as well as Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Glenn Davis and Jacqueline Williams.

Steppenwolf is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive this NEA Art Works grant in the amount of $100,000.

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