Wednesday, February 5, 2020

World Premiere Adaptation of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Coming to Steppenwolf February 26 – March 21, 2020

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List

Announcing a Series of Special Events Surrounding the Production—Including Book Signing and Post-Show Discussion with Erika L. Sánchez, March 1

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Based on the Book by Erika L. Sánchez 
Adapted by Isaac Gómez
Directed by Ensemble Member Sandra Marquez
Featuring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez
February 26 – March 21, 2020

I’m especially looking forward to this production. I got to know Isaac Gomez last winter, during a play writing workshop I was chosen for, that he co-led. I've also seen a good handful of his productions now and find them insightful, colorful, and well written. My 16 year old daughter, Sage, came to a fall book signing/author talk with Erika L. Sánchez and brought I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter home, so we’re both reading it. I plan to come out for the press opening February 29th, so check back soon for my full review. 

Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) is now in rehearsals with the world premiere of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter based on the New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Finalist by Erika L. Sánchez, adapted by Isaac Gómez, directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez and featuring ensemble member Karen Rodriguez (Julia). Firmly rooted in Chicago, this poignant and vibrant new work is a love story to young Chicanas who, in trying to find the truth about the people and the world around them, end up finding themselves.

A world premiere adaptation of Erika L. Sánchez’s award-winning novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter follows Julia, a Chicago high school student as she navigates trials and tribulations of following her dreams of becoming a writer alongside the death of her older sister, Olga—who might not have been quite as perfect as she seemed.

Performances run February 26 – March 21, 2020. The press performance is Saturday, February 29 at 3pm. Tickets to public performances ($20 & $30; $15 with student I.D.) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and While weekend performances are open to the public, weekday performances are reserved for school groups only; more than 15,000 participants from Chicago Public Schools will experience Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ productions each year. 

Steppenwolf is proud to support the Teen Arts Pass (TAP) initiative as an arts partner, which allows teens to experience live arts performances all around Chicago for only $5. Teens can register for free to TAP at

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter will tour to three Illinois Juvenile Justice Facilities in partnership with Storycatchers Theatre following the run. 

Steppenwolf for Young Adults hosts a special post-show discussion and book signing with author Erika L. Sánchez on Sunday, March 1 immediately following the 3pm performance.  

Playwright Isaac Gómez shares, “the world Erika has crafted in her brilliantly nuanced, holistic portrayal of a young Chicana living in the wake of loss, in the midst of love, and on a journey of finding herself is, perhaps, one of the greatest contributions to American literature. I cannot wait for audiences who have fallen so deeply in love with Julia’s story to see it on its feet in this way.”

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Special Events

Special post-show discussion followed by book signing with author
Erika L. Sánchez 
Sunday, March 1
Immediately following the 3pm performance 
FREE with ticket to the performance 
Upstairs Theatre/ Upstairs Theatre lobby

Post show discussion in the Upstairs Theatre with author Erika L. Sánchez, moderated by artistic producer Hallie Gordon and members of Steppenwolf’s Young Adult Council immediately following the performance. This will be followed by a book signing in the Upstairs Theatre lobby. Patrons are welcome to bring their own copy of the book or purchase one on site.  

Reading of The Round House by Native American award-winning author Louise Erdich
Tuesday, March 10
FREE; reservations suggested 
Presented as part of the Lookout Series in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre

As part of a partnership with the National Museum of Mexican Art, the American Indian Center and Mujeres Latina En Accion, Steppenwolf Education presents a reading of excerpts from Louise Erdich's award-winning novel The Round House. Through events hosted by each organization during March and April, audience members will experience the incredible story of Erdich's novel, which transports readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Audience members at the March 10th reading will receive a special offer for $5 tickets to public performances of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter!   

Special Storycatchers Theatre post-show performance
Saturday, March 14
Immediately following the 3pm performance 
FREE with ticket to the performance 
 Upstairs Theatre

A special post-show featuring performers from Illinois Youth Center-Chicago who are part of Storycatchers Theatre Firewriters Ensemble. Singing a stirring and lovely song, “Leaving Zacateca”, one young man examines the clashing cultures of his Aztec history and Chicago gang life.  

The Scene: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Saturday, March 14
Performance at 7:30pm,event to follow 
$5 tickets, exclusive to teens
Upstairs Theatre

Curated by Steppenwolf’s own Young Adult Council, The Scene is an exclusive opportunity for teens to score a cheap ticket to a Steppenwolf production, meet the artists involved with the play, and connect with like-minded teens. Each ticket includes dinner and a post-show discussion with the actors.  

About Storycatchers Theatre and the Tour to Juvenile Justice Facilities 
Following its four-week run at Steppenwolf, and working in collaboration with Storycatchers Theatre, Steppenwolf for Young Adults will tour its production of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter for a week to three Juvenile Justice Facilities in Illinois. Storycatchers Theatre, winner of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, guides justice-involved youth to write true personal stories in order to overcome traumatic experiences and to empower their individual growth. These young people turn their narratives into powerful musical theatre performances for the community, facilitating discussions that create change in themselves and their audience.

Meet the Cast 

The cast features (pictured top row L to R) ensemble member Karen Rodriguez (Julia), Charín Alvarez (Amá/ensemble), Eddie Martinez (Apá/ensemble), Peter Moore (Mr. Ingrahm/ensemble), (pictured bottom row L to R) Leslie Sophia Perez (Lorena/ensemble), Robert Quintanilla (Juanga/ensemble), Dyllan Rodrigues-Miller (Olga/ensemble) and Harrison Weger (Connor/ensemble). 

Playwright and Director Bios

Isaac Gómez is an award-winning Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta received its world premiere at Steppenwolf last Winter. His one-woman show the way she spoke received its Off-Broadway premiere at the Minetta Lane Theatre (produced by Audible, directed by Jo Bonney, starring Kate del Castillo) this summer. He is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Alley Theater, and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. His plays have been supported by Steppenwolf Theater Company, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, City Theatre, Artists Rep, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, WaterTower Theater, Haven Theater, Teatro Vista, Greenhouse Theater Center, Jackalope Theater Company, Pivot Arts, Definition Theater Company, Broken Nose Theater, Stage Left, The VORTEX, and Something Marvelous. He is the recipient of the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award, the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, an inaugural 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee, Co-Creative Director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Artistic Associate with Victory Gardens Theater, Ensemble Member with Teatro Vista, Artistic Associate with Pivot Arts, an advisory committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and a core producer with the Jubilee. He is a Professional Lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is represented by The Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.

Sandra Marquez is a Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member. She was most recently seen at Steppenwolf in A Doll’s House, Part 2 as Nora. She directed the acclaimed sold-out production of La Ruta by Isaac Gómez  at Steppenwolf and her acting credits with the company include The Roommate, The Doppelgänger (an international farce), Mary Page Marlowe, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sonia Flew and One Arm. At Teatro Vista, where she is a longtime company member, she directed Fade, My Mañana Comes, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and the Jeff nominated production of Our Lady of the Underpass. Her many acting credits at Teatro Vista include A View from the Bridge for which she received a Jeff Award. Marquez completed a three year arc playing Clytemnestra in what was billed as Court Theatre’s Iphigenia Cycle (Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra and Agamemnon). Film and television credits include Red Line, Boss, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice and Timer amongst others. She is on the theater faculty at Northwestern University.

Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, novelist, and essayist, her debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf in July 2017, and was a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. Her debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, published in October 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers, is a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist. She is currently a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow, and a recent recipient of the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Erika grew up in Cicero, IL and is currently Chicago based.

The I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter production team includes Arnel Sancianco (Scenic Design), Uriel Gómez (Costume Design), Heather Sparling (Lighting Design), Matthew Chapman (Sound Design) and Rachel Flesher (Intimacy and Fight Choreography). Additional credits include Michelle Medvin (Production Stage Manager), Jacqueline Saldana (Assistant Stage Manager), JC Clementz (Casting Director) and Hallie Gordon (Artistic Producer).

Ticket and production info
Production information

Dates: February 26 – March 21, 2020
Press Performances: Feabruary 29, 2020 at 3pm
There are 10 public performances of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: Friday February 28 at 7:30pm, Saturday, February 29 at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, March 1 at 3pm, Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm; Saturday, March 7 at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Saturday, March 14 at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Saturday, March 21 at 3pm and 7:30pm in the Upstairs Theatre. *The March 21 at 3pm performance will be a Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performance. Weekday performances are reserved for school groups. To bring a school group or learn more about Steppenwolf’s robust education offerings visit

Teen Arts Pass

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is proud to support the Teen Arts Pass (TAP) initiative as an arts partner, which allows teens to experience live arts performances all around Chicago for only $5. With TAP all Steppenwolf performances are now available to young people ages 13 to 19 for $5. Teens can register for free to TAP at TAP is a program of Urban Gateways, which engages young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change..

Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language Interpretation, Open Captioning and Audio Description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance and the Downstairs and 1700 Theatres are each equipped with an induction hearing loop. All theaters feature wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms, and Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.

Accessible performances

Relaxed/Sensory Friendly Performance: Saturday, March 21, 1pm lobby and 3pm curtain   
American Sign Language Interpretation and Open Captioning (public): Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm
Audio Description and Touch Tour: Saturday, March 7 at 3pm

Visitor information
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation, bike racks and Divvy bike stands. The parking facility ($15 or $17, cash or card) is located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($15 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12noon before Wednesday matinees. Limited street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at 312.335.1774.

Sponsor Information

Allstate is the lead sponsor of the tour of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Major support for Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by Allstate, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the Crown Family, the Polk Bros Foundation, and United Airlines. 

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks

Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, offering an inviting space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesdays – Sundays, Front Bar serves locally roasted coffee and espresso by Passion House Coffee Roasters and features food by The Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Steppenwolf Education’s unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families, as well as a professional leadership program for early-career professionals. Every season Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) creates two full-scale professional productions specifically for teen audiences. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, Steppenwolf Education annually ensures access to the theater for more than 20,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in almost 100 classrooms in public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after-school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations, as well as other teen and community based programs.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble members represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programming includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.

Steppenwolf's mission

Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.

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