AGE: 27
HOMETOWN: New Orleans, Louisiana
LIVES IN: Logan Square

During a recent review of his bank statement, Stephen Grush faced the reality of his record-collecting addiction. “I spend twice as much on vinyl as I do on nutrition,” says the actor, who currently plays a best-selling blogger/author in the risqué Steppenwolf Theatre production of Sex with Strangers. The role gives audience members a peek at some of Grush’s tattoos, another fetish. They haven’t proved much of an obstacle to his career, however. “Directors tell me to take off my shirt in just about every show now,” he says with a laugh. Grush’s Southern accent emerges when he’s in New Orleans visiting his family, a large group who likes to “eat big and have fun,” he says. Grush, who lives with his painter girlfriend and publishes an annual literature magazine through his production company, XIII Pocket, has lived in Chicago since age 19, when he was lured here by the city’s storefront theatre scene. “I like the DIY approach this city has to its arts,” he says. “It’s great for pursuing a multidisciplinary approach.”



Photograph: Maria Ponce