Familiar face stars in Steppenwolf's 'Doppelganger'

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Rainn Wilson, best known for his role of the popular series "The Office," is the star of "Doppelganger," an international farce about back room deals that shape the world and the c

Steppenwolf's latest play is called "The Doppelganger," which is defined as a look-alike of a living person. You may recognize a familiar face onstage if you go see the show: Rainn Wilson, best known for his role in the popular series "The Office," is the star of "Doppelganger," an international farce about back room deals that shape the world and the characters who make them.

"There's something really beautiful and spiritual about theatre, there's something about a group of people coming together in a room and a bunch of them are pretending to be other people and it's a shared experience," he said.

Wilson plays dual roles in the show. Playwright Matthew-Lee Erlbach said Wilson brings special qualities to the roles.

"You have to come to the table with an open heart and an understanding and an empathy for the world we're in and he certainly does," Erlbach said.

Long before his TV fame, Wilson got his start as a stage actor right here in Chicago.

"I started acting in Chicago at New Trier High School and it's where I took my first acting class and I wouldn't be an actor if my family hadn't moved to Chicago, so it's a great kind of homecoming," he said.

Fellow ensemble member Ora Jones said she recognized Wilson's Chicago roots in his acting.

"After a few days of working with him, I said, 'You know, there's something about you like a Chicago actor, there's something about your input, your presence, your appreciation for team work to me, it's like, you're doing Chicago acting up here, man,'" she said.

Wilson played his "Office" character Dwight Shrute for nine seasons. He said he's grateful for the role, but doesn't revive it.

"I saw a couple of office fans on an early preview and they had Dunder Mifflin shirts and they were in the front row," he said. "I saw this perplexed look on their faces, 'That's not Dwight, I thought he was going to be Dwight!'"

"The Doppelganger" is at Steppenwolf through May 27. The show's director, Tina Landau, also currently has the hit musical "Spongebob Squarepants" playing on Broadway.
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