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Martha Lavey, Former Steppenwolf Artistic Director, Dies at 60

Lavey shepherded the Chicago company to 9 Tony Award wins. logo
Martha Lavey has died at the age of 60.
(© Joel Moorman)

Martha Lavey, former artistic director of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and a longtime ensemble member of the company, died today, April 25, at the age of 60. Lavey suffered a stroke last Wednesday, April 19, and had long been recovering from a debilitating stroke she suffered in May 2015.

Born in Washington, D.C., Lavey became a Steppenwolf ensemble member in 1993, performing through the years in more than 30 productions, including Will Eno's Middletown, Samuel Beckett's Endgame, Tony Kushner's SLAVS!, and Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile, among many others. After becoming the company's artistic leader (and the first female to lead the organization), the company added multiple performance spaces, doubled the size of its famed ensemble, and transferred multiple productions to Broadway, including Lisa d'Amour's Airline Highway, Tracy Letts' August: Osage County and Superior Donuts, and revivals of This Is Our Youth, Buried Child, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? In her tenure as artistic director, Steppenwolf received nine Tony Awards and the National Medal of the Arts.

Lavey is survived by her parents, sister, and five brothers.