Stephanie Alison Walker is the playwright of the first show of our 2019/20 Season, The Abuelas. Stephanie is an award-winning playwright whose works have been produced across the country. The Abuelas was developed right here in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab.
Get to know Stephanie- the person, the playwright, the… plant killer?
Where did you grow up?
Suburbs of Chicago with a few early years in London.
How did you get into theater?
I worked as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Producer of a Broadway Production company in Chicago called Fox Theatricals. It was a very fancy introduction to the world of theatre as we were renovating the Cadillac Palace Theatre, developing Thoroughly Modern Millie and opening One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Gary Sinise at Steppenwolf and then Broadway. I was writing short stories and poetry at the time and decided to take a playwriting class. My first class was at Chicago Dramatists with Lisa Dillman. I was immediately hooked.
Do you play a musical instrument? If no, is there one you would like to play?
I used to play the piano and would love to go back to it. Our 9-year-old started to learn the violin last year at school and it makes me wish I had learned a string instrument. I tried playing the guitar at one point, but wasn’t passionate about it and let it go. Oh- and there was a brief period where I bought a saxophone off of craigslist and took sax lessons at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. I lived in a condo building and felt badly about torturing my neighbors. So that ended really before it started. Though, I do wish I could really wail on a sax. And I love the cello. That’s why I picked it for this play. I just love the sound and it also felt tonally like the perfect instrument for this story.
Do you have a food/dish you are known for making really well?
Sadly, no. I mean. I cook. Average. My 9-year-old is the sweetest and says I’m the best cook in the world. He has my heart.
Symphonic concerts: love or snoozefest?
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Beware: Leo through and through.
What is one of your beloved family traditions?
Well, I don’t know if this counts as a tradition, per se… but being on the water. I come from a long line of boaters on my mom’s side. And we are drawn, pulled towards water. We always find a way to get there when we’re together.
What is the best birthday present you have ever received?
My husband once surprised me with a trip to Vegas for my 30th. He took me to see Elton John’s show The Red Piano, I think it was called. And a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. Nothing will ever top that. I felt so totally spoiled.
Do you wear your heart on your sleeve or keep your emotions hidden?
Heart. On. My. Sleeve.
What words do you live by?
Tell the truth. Even when it’s painful or scary. Always. Especially.
If your life were a TV show, what genre would it be?
What’s your go-to Starbucks order?
Venti drip coffee.
Pajamas or sleep in your clothes?
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Do you have a green thumb or do plants have no hope under your care?