Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents THE BURN Review – “The Crucible” and “Heathers” Run Face-First into the 21st Century!

Michael Brosilow

Steppenwolf for Young Adults and Chicago Playwright Succeed in THE BURN

Chicago’s Philip Dawkins, author of THE BURN and Steppenwolf for Young Adults bring a tragic theme back to the modern stage. When Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible” McCarthy-Era America was multiple fingers-deep in pointing to and ferreting out Communists in one of the 20th Century’s most notorious witch hunts, paralleling the play’s 17th Century plot.

Dawkins’ most-contemporary take on this theme in THE BURN makes use of the social media to raise questions of authentic identity, the medium of “electronic witchcraft” and a person’s inhumanity to another person.

The performers give gritty, realistic portrayals of high school students replete with vulgarity, self-righteousness and self-justification. Scenes alternate between real time and flashy, noisy e-communication. A cacophony of sound and visual stimuli serves to unsettle the audience into the contemporary milieu. The result is a satisfyingly disturbing climax and resolution.

Dawkins hits the mark with THE BURN, and not only for today’s students. All people of the present-day’s hyper-electronic world, susceptible as we are to viral “truth” in all its bewitching aspects, stand to benefit from getting our e-wits shaken up a bit.

The play will appeal to those who see the satirical tragedy in the overlapping of the “Age of Information” alongside fake news and alternate truth.

THE BURN Michael Brosilow
Michael Brosilow


This play is now added to the Picture This Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO where it will remain until the end of the run.

Michael Brosilow
Michael Brosilow

THE BURN and Storycatchers Theatre and Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly Performance

The play, in partnership with Storycatchers Theatre will tour juvenile justice facilities following the Steppenwolf run.

The first-ever inaugural Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performance for those on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing and/or integration sensitivities will be on March 10th at the 3:00 P.M. show.


Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted
Upstairs Theatre


Student Performances: Tuesdays thru Fridays, (2/14-3/9) at 10:00 A.M.
All other performances: Saturdays (2/17-3/24) at 3:00 P.M. and 7:30 P.M.
Final performance (Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly) Saturday, 3/10 at 3:00 P.M.


General Admission $20
With Student I.D. $15
Or visit them online at the Steppenwolf website.


Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago

Joseph Anthony Rulli
Nathanael Filbert

Joseph Anthony Rulli is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Chicago since the fall of 2006. A 1987 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, History) and a 1992 graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology (MDiv) he taught Social Studies, Religion, Philosophy and History at the high school level. He began writing as a career upon his arrival to his second city and has had two short stories published, a stage play performed, an electronic tour book published online and The Chicago Haymarket Affair (History Press/Arcadia Publishing, 2016) his first print book.


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