Steppenwolf Theatre Company will host a memorial to celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of Martha Lavey, who served as Steppenwolf Artistic Director from 1995 – 2015. The event is open to the public and tickets are free, but reservations are required as there is limited seating. Early reservations are encouraged

On Tuesday, October 10 at 10am, the stretch of Halsted Street in front of Steppenwolf Theatre will be renamed Martha Lavey Way in an honorary ceremony. The ordinance was submitted by Alderman Michele Smith of the 43rd Ward and granted by the City Council. All are welcome to gather at 10am for remarks from Steppenwolf leadership and Alderman Smith followed by a ceremonious sign unveiling. More details on both events to be released at a later date.

About Martha Lavey

Martha Lavey joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in 1993 and served as Artistic Director from 1995 to 2015. She was named one of the ‘100 Most Powerful People’ by Chicago Magazine twice, was selected as one of the city's ‘10 Most Powerful Women in the Arts’ by the Chicago Sun-Times and was awarded the title of ‘2010 Chicagoan of the Year’ by the Chicago Tribune. Lavey and former Steppenwolf Executive Director David Hawkanson were recipients of the 2015 ‘Citizen Advocate Award’ presented by the Arts Alliance Illinois for their extraordinary contributions to the arts locally and nationally. In May 2016, she received an honor from the City of Chicago for her two decades of service as artistic director.

Steppenwolf MARTHA LAVEY
Martha Lavey Photo: Lisa Predko

Lavey oversaw the conception of and programming for the Garage Theater, which provided an additional platform for outside companies, new works and audience engagement. Several programs were established during her tenure, including Steppenwolf for Young Adults, The School at Steppenwolf, The Professional Leadership program for emerging arts managers and designers, The First Look Rep of New Work for plays in development, and the Garage Rep.

Martha Lavey also performed in more than 30 Steppenwolf productions. Elsewhere in Chicago she performed at the Goodman, Victory Gardens, Northlight and Remains Theaters. She performed in New York at the Women’s Project and Productions.

During Lavey’s tenure, Steppenwolf was awarded the National Medal of the Arts, (the only theater to ever receive the honor), as well as the Illinois Arts Legend Award, Equity Special Award and nine of the company’s 12 Tony Awards.

Lavey also served as Board President for the Theatre Communications Group from 2009 – 2011. She served on grants panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Theatre Communications Group, Three Arts Club, USA Artists and the City Arts panel of Chicago.

Lavey earned a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and was a member of the National Advisory Council for the School of Communication at Northwestern University. She was a recipient of the Sarah Siddons Award, an Alumni Merit Award and an Honorary Doctorate from Northwestern University.

Lavey passed away on April 25, 2017 due to complications from a stroke. Steppenwolf comments, “Faithful friends, audience members, donors, staff, artists, mentees, members of the Steppenwolf family and the national theatre community were all indelibly impacted by Martha's passion, commitment, vision and unmatched intellect. She will be dearly missed.”


Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 7pm


Steppenwolf Theatre,
1650 N. Halsted.


Reservation required - RSVPs from the public will be accepted starting Wednesday, September 13 at 11am by calling the box office at 312.335.1650.

For more information, visit the Steppenwolf Theatre Website.

*Photo by Lisa Predko 


Share this:

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *