Laurie Metcalf returns to Steppenwolf for 'Little Bear Ridge Road'; talks 'The Conners'

ByMarsha Jordan and Hosea Sanders WLS logo
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Laurie Metcalf returns to Steppenwolf for 'Little Bear Ridge Road'
Actress Laurie Metcalf said it's been especially rewarding to be back on her home stage.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Little Bear Ridge Road" is a big hit at Steppenwolf Theatre, with rave reviews and high ticket demand.

Actress Laurie Metcalf said it's been especially rewarding to be back on her home stage, with director Joe Mantello at the helm. He's another Midwest native who fell in love with theater in Illinois.

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Both went on to become Tony winners, and still love the Chicago stage.

"We've been talking about the audience and how really open they have seemed, really generous, really responsive, which is great, and I hope they're getting a kick out of the show because we really are," Metcalf said. "I love all the humor in the play; it's really fun to bring that to an audience. That is really addictive for me."

"Little Bear Ridge Road" takes place in rural Idaho. It follows estranged family members, as they sort out the mess after a troubled father's passing.

"(Steppenwolf) is a fantastic theatre. Not only the physical space, but the history of this theatre, to be a small part of it, for me, is an incredible thing," Mantello said.

Mantello started out as an actor in his hometown.

"I love being from Rockford. Those Midwestern values that were instilled in me as a kid, I like to think that they're still there. We had so much theater in Rockford: Professional, amateur, community theatre, as you're growing up, that kind of opportunity shapes who you are."

Metcalf also played Jackie on "The Conners."

"Yes, I will (miss her). Right after the play ends, I go back there and do six episodes. And that's gonna be a finale on 'The Conners' and that whole cast. That's gonna be wild," she said. "We have been doing those people for 15 years."

"Roseanne" preceded ABC's hit comedy "The Conners."

Metcalf is also a founding member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

"We're close to the 50th anniversary, and none of us would have guessed we'd be sitting here in this gorgeous brand new theatre at this stage of the game," she said. "I'm really proud that Steppenwolf is contributing to the city; there's programs here that give back to the community and young people. It's up and running and doing its own thing, and it's an integral part of Chicago. I can, in my small role that I played, feel really proud about that."

Jane Lynch, who grew up in Dolton, will return to Steppenwolf with her Christmas show this December.

She'll be joined by Kate Flannery, who also launched her career on Chicago's comedy stages.

"Little Bear Ridge Road" runs through Aug. 4.