Steppenwolf Selects Anna Shapiro

The addition of a new ensemble member to Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a highly uncommon event: Since 2000, only two artists -- actor-playwright Tracy Letts and actor Yasen Peyankov -- have been formally asked to join the company's ranks. It is thus of special significance that director Anna D. Shapiro, who has been affiliated with the acclaimed Tony Award–winning troupe since 1995, has been named the ensemble's newest member, only the 36th person to join Steppenwolf since it was founded in 1974.

Shapiro's elevation to ensemble member makes her a rarity among rarities: She is one of only a handful of directors to be so honored, following in the footsteps of Frank Galati, Eric Simonson, and Tina Landau, previously the only woman director in the ensemble.

Among Shapiro's 12 productions with Steppenwolf to date are Richard Greenberg's "Three Days of Rain" (1999), Warren Leight's "Side Man" (1999), Letts' "Man From Nebraska" (2003), and Robert Anderson's "I Never Sang for My Father" (2004). Her production of Michael Healey's "The Drawer Boy," which originally played at Steppenwolf in 2001, is currently running at the Paper Mill Playhouse starring fellow ensemble member John Mahoney.

Shapiro's major New York credits include Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Rona Munro's "Iron" and Atlantic Theatre Company's mounting of Edwin Sanchez's "Trafficking in Broken Hearts."

In addition to founding members Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry, and Gary Sinise, some of the members currently active in the ensemble are John Malkovich, Austin Pendleton, Amy Morton, Martha Plimpton, Martha Lavey (who serves as artistic director), Gary Cole, Kevin Anderson, and Lois Smith.