“We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” –The Tempest IV,i
Like all seemingly impossible things, Chicago Shakespeare Theater began with a dream—a dream of a place in Chicago as bold and vibrant as the city itself. Where Shakespeare’s vision and daring scope might inspire productions not only of his work, but embrace all theater that mirrors his genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language, and above all his extraordinary depth of feeling for the human condition.
In dreams we enter a world limited only by our imagination. All possibilities are present. I believe the same is true of great theater—we suspend our disbelief to enter a place that will delight, astound, arouse and even terrify us. Often in this suspended place, we feel more real, more authentic, than in our day-to-day world. We give ourselves the freedom to explore our lives in ways our conscious selves seldom allow.
In this 25th Anniversary Season, we invite you to journey through a vibrant, theatrical dreamscape. We launch the season with Stephen Sondheim
and James Goldman’s musical FOLLIES, staged by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, and presented with a company of more than 40
actors and musicians in our 500-seat Courtyard Theater. Gary will also continue his reimagining of Shakespeare’s canon, following his gorgeous 2011 production of As You Like It. Entering another forest and exploring a different kind of enchantment, he directs the heart-winning comedy of magic and romance, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.
I am excited to be directing one of my favorite contemporary plays in this landmark season—ELIZABETH REX, a daring, original drama by Timothy Findley, concerning an imagined encounter between Queen Elizabeth I and an actor in Shakespeare’s company. Having founded this Theater on the exploration of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, I look forward to directing TIMON OF ATHENS, starring the great Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid in a brilliant and timely look at a world seduced by the power of money and excess.
We also celebrate another milestone—the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s creation of Prospero—as we join one of the city’s most imaginative theaters, Redmoon, and Chicago artists Frank Maugeri and Jessica Thebus to create THE FEAST: AN INTIMATE TEMPEST This muscular retelling of Shakespeare’s tale of captivity and the quest for freedom will be witnessed as never before through this creative collaboration.
I hope you will agree that the range of these extraordinary plays exemplifies what Chicago should expect from Chicago Shakespeare Theater—thrilling stories as Shakespeare would have wanted them told: with great humor, unexpected insight, and theatrical passion. We look forward to celebrating this special season with you—and to sharing our dreams
for the future.