Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-06-24
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.

Tickets: 312-335-1650 or; $20-$125. Runs through: March 15

There are so many reasons why Steppenwolf Theatre Company's revival of Bug is the major event of the Chicago theater season—or any other season for that matter. It bursts at the seams with star power, civic pride and damn terrifying theatricality.

For celebrity buzz, Bug features Steppenwolf ensemble member and TV star Carrie Coon ( HBO's The Leftovers, FX's Fargo ). There's also the frisson of watching Coon performing an early work by her Tony Award-winning playwright/actor husband ( and fellow Chicago-based ensemble member ), Tracy Letts.

Bug also has historical Windy City ties. Letts' 1996 drama originally starred Chicago actor and future Academy Award-nominee Michael Shannon as the paranoid army veteran Peter Evans, a role he preserved in William Friedkin's 2006 film version.

Bug's artistic bona fides continue with Tony Award-winning director ( and former Chicagoan ) David Cromer at the helm of Steppenwolf's revival. Cromer leads a dynamic acting ensemble and pitch-perfect production design team that all creep the living daylights out of an audience.

Bug focuses on the lonely and drug-addled Oklahoma waitress Agnes White ( Coon ). She lives on the edges in a bleak motel room, and is upset about early parole being granted to her abusive ex-husband, Jerry Goss ( Steve Key ).

Agnes also surrounds herself with partying friends like the lesbian biker R.C. ( Jennifer Engstrom ). R.C. introduces Agnes to Peter ( Namir Smallwood ), who is between jobs and asks for a place to stay.

Agnes and Peter bond over their tragic pasts, and take in copious amounts of drugs and booze. Peter becomes obsessed with the motel room being infested with bugs, which grows to disturbing conspiracy-theory levels. The arrival of Dr. Sweet ( Randall Arney ) offers the hope for some sanity ( or not ).

Cromer's production benefits from amazing production design elements. From the unexpected transformation of Agnes' dreary motel room ( kudos to set designer Takeshi Kata and lighting designer Heather Gilbert ) to the small and unnerving clatter of the air conditioner unit ( amazing work by sound designer Josh Schmidt ), Steppenwolf's Bug is truly supersized and intimate at the same time.

Cromer and his fine cast also go the distance with this extreme material, which features lots of nudity and upsetting blood-letting. Everyone is unflinchingly believable with their bleak performances, especially when the plot hurls toward a conclusion that is both operatic and comically banal with its tragic finality.

With Bug, Lett's is implying that love, desire and belief can be as contagions as any vermin infestation or deadly virus. And Bug is also horrifyingly topical, especially with so many conspiracy theories and untruths shared locally and globally on social media. Steppenwolf's Bug will truly haunt you.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Director David Zak steps down from post after community outcry 2020-07-04 - Pride Films & Plays (PFP) Executive Director David Zak stepped down from his longtime post July 3 after numerous members of Chicago's theater ...

Gay News

Broadway suspends shows through 2020 2020-06-30 - The Broadway League announced June 29 that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to ...

Gay News

'Magic Parlour at Home' during July 2020-06-28 - Magician Dennis Watkins is taking his experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed "The Magic Parlour at Home." ...

Gay News

CHF talk to feature Abby McEnany and Samantha Irby 2020-06-24 - Actor Abby McEnany and writer Samantha Irby will have a conversation in a Chicago Humanities Festival digital program that will take place Thursday, ...

Gay News

THEATER Despite everything, there are shows for Pride Week 2020-06-24 - It's almost impossible to write about the indelible events of 2020 ( which is still not quite half over ) without diminishing them. ...

Gay News

Raven Theatre names new managing director 2020-06-24 - Following a nationwide search, Raven Theatre's board of directors announced Markie Gray as the company's new managing director, effective July 1. Originally from ...

Gay News

47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces honorees 2020-06-22 - June 22, 2020 — Chicago — As part of the annual recognition of theater excellence, the 47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards has announced honorees ...

Gay News

'That's Queer, Grandma' June 22-July 6 2020-06-17 - PlayMakers Laboratory ( PML ) celebrates Pride Month virtually with a free presentation of That's Queer, Grandma—a romp through student-written stories that at ...

Gay News

COVID-19 Mercury Theater permanently closing 2020-06-17 - Executive Director L. Walter Stearns and partner, business manager Eugene Dizon, announced the permanent closure of Mercury Theater Chicago after 10 years and ...

Gay News

The Last Sunday in June online live reading June 28 2020-06-16 - Chicago, IL - Jonathan Tolins' look at gay life in the 1990s - THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE — will be performed via ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.