Public Affairs, The California State University

Steppenwolf Role Reprised at CSU Summer Arts

By Erik Fallis

Acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company Co-founder Jeff Perry joins forces with celebrated guest artists from across the county to educate the next generation at California State University Summer Arts

Trading the winds of Chicago for the gentler breezes of Monterey Bay, Jeff Perry, the celebrated co-founder of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, has again assembled a tremendous ensemble of artists for Steppenwolf Classes West ­– instructing, engaging and inspiring the next generation of artists enrolled in California State University Summer Arts.

Perry brings tremendous performance experience as a member of Tony award-winning casts of August: Osage County and The Grapes of Wrath. August: Osage County also secured a Pulitzer Prize.

“The opportunity for our Summer Arts’ students to work with Jeff and members of the world-renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company though their Steppenwolf Classes West program is truly remarkable,” said John Mayer, chair of the Theatre Department at CSU Stanislaus. “This once-in-a-lifetime experience deeply affects students as both collaborative artists and human beings.”

The first Steppenwolf Classes West at CSU Summer Arts program was offered in 2002, when Perry, Sheldon Patinkin and Kim Rubenstein conducted a two-week intensive workshop coordinated by Mayer.

Due to the success of the program and the student demand, the workshop was repeated in 2005, 2008, 2010 (as a month-long workshop), 2011 and now again for an entire month in 2013. CSU Summer Arts has been fortunate to feature many exciting public events in conjunction with the Steppenwolf workshops, including an evening with Gary Sinise and the play Voice Lessons with Laurie Metcalf and French Stewart.

In 2013, the Steppenwolf program will present the play Tribes, starring Perry, which had a wonderful run in New York in 2012, the classic play Love Letters, featuring Evelyn Carol Case and Mayer, and a staged reading entitled Steinbeck in Vietnam: The Last Published Works of John Steinbeck.

The Steppenwolf co-founder is not alone in distinction among CSU Summer Arts masters. This year, a cadre of celebrated guest artists will provide real-life perspective of their industry along with artistic instruction. Below are several other award-winning artists with links to their respective summer courses.

  • Oliver Goldstick ­– wrote the Obie Award-winning musical Dinah Was
  • Caridad Svich – 2012 Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient
  • Ed Kashi – 2010 UNICEF Photo of the Year recipient
  • Andrew York – Grammy Award with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (former member)
  • William Kanengiser – Grammy Award with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (current member)
  • Scott Tennant – Grammy Award with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (current member)
  • Ondi Tomoner – two-time Sundance Grand Jury Prize recipient
  • Kirby Dick – Academy Award Best Documentary Feature nominee for The Invisible War and Twist of Faith