Chicago Shakespeare Theater Announces
A Season of Rivalry and Revelry
Fools and Foes Share the Stage in CST's 2008/09 Season
Chicago—July 10, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson have announced CST's 2008/09 Season. In 13 newly-imagined and classic works throughout the coming year, fierce rivals and witty fools collide on stage in the Theater's ninth season on Navy Pier.
This summer, Funk It Up About Nothin’, a hip-hop re-imagining of Much Ado About Nothing by the creators of The Bomb-itty of Errors, revels in a modern take on Shakespeare's wit and wordplay. CST will also stage Willy Wonka, the delightful family musical based on Roald Dahl's much-loved novel, where children discover the fantastical world in the mysterious candy maker's factory. This summer, Compagnie Transe Express will make its American premiere with Maudits Sonnants, a free outdoor theatrical spectacle in Navy Pier's Gateway Park, opening Chicago Shakespeare's 2008/09 World's Stage Series. Then on stage this fall, envy erupts into a fatal struggle between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Viennese court composer Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, staged by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin. For the first time, Shakespeare's contemporary rival Christopher Marlowe infiltrates Shakespeare's home in Chicago as Sean Graney directs a promenade production of The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward II, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer. From India, CST presents A Midsummer Nights Dream, in a lush celebration of converging cultures performed in eight languages (including English) by actors, dancers, street musicians and acrobats from across India and Sri Lanka.
In the New Year, an ambitious Scottish warrior and his Lady clash with their kingdom's nobles and their own consciences in a deadly contest for the crown as Barbara Gaines directs William Shakespeare's Macbeth. CST presents the Chicago premiere of Michael Pennington's one-man homage to the Bard—Sweet William—a large-spirited celebration of William Shakespeare's life and work. In the spring, with Short Shakespeare! directed by Amanda Dehnert, CST invites audiences new to Shakespeare to engage in a lively, accessible production of his dramatic work. Finally, lovers confuse their passions amid a conspiracy to make a fool out of a brooding steward in William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night directed by Josie Rourke, Artistic Director of The Bush Theatre, in London.
The 2008/09 season of rivalry and revelry runs through June 2009 as follows:
The world premiere of Funk It Up About Nothin', the "ad-rap-tation" of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing created and directed by GQ and JQ—the team whose past work includes the international success, The Bomb-itty of Errors—kicks off the summer at Chicago Shakespeare. Developed in a series of workshops at Chicago Shakespeare, this production showcases a cast of six rap and hip-hop MCs playing multiple roles, setting rhyme and rhythm to a DJ's tracks. Shakespeare's love of wit and wordplay translates perfectly to this modern take on Shakespeare's classic comedy. After its summer run on Navy Pier, CST will present the work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Now through August 3, 2008, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Tickets are on sale now for $25–30.
The summer line-up also includes CST's production of the family musical Willy Wonka, based on the 1971 musical film version of Roald Dahl's classic children's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, featuring music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The CST production of Willy Wonka, directed by
Joe Leonardo, is the first stage production of the theatrical adaptation of the film, following its development at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Willy Wonka and his band of Oompa Loompas lead the sweet-natured Charlie Bucket and four other Golden Ticket winners on the tour of a lifetime through a mysterious candy-maker's fantastical factory. Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka features many memorable songs—including "The Candy Man," "I Want It Now!" and "Pure Imagination." Now through August 17, 2008, Courtyard Theater.
Recommended for ages five and up. Tickets are on sale now for $18–23.
CST continues its celebrated World's Stage Series of international theatrical events with a free outdoor arts spectacle created by France's Compagnie Transe Express. In the American premiere of Maudits Sonnants, a beautiful human carillon is suspended 200 feet in the air over Gateway Park at Navy Pier. Set against the extraordinary theatrical backdrop of Chicago's architectural skyline, a telescopic crane will lift a "musical chandelier" adorned with performers who ring bells, beat drums and swing on trapezes above the heads of tens of thousands of Pier visitors. From this impromptu aerial stage, the players speak to the city, charming the awestruck populace below with their music box performance—a celestial sound which will reverberate up and down the shoreline and out across Lake Michigan. July 11 – 12, 2008. Gateway Park, Navy Pier.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), announced today that it will produce a staged reading of Romeo y Julieta, a newly commissioned, bilingual adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in the Theatre at Little Village Lawndale High School July 25 and 26. Henry Godinez, co-founder of Teatro Vista, director of Chicago's Latino Theatre Festival and a veteran of nine productions at Chicago Shakespeare, will direct a local and national cast of Latino theater artists including Elizabeth Peña, four-time winner of the American Latino Media Arts Award. Karen Zacarías, founding artistic director of Young Playwrights' Theatre in Washington, D.C. and winner of the 2006 Francesca Primus Award, will adapt the 75-minute work. Chicago's own Luna Blues Machine, whose music blends Latin influences with modern rock, will create a live musical soundscape for the performance. July 25 – 26, 2008. Theatre at Little Village Lawndale High School.
Kicking off the fall theater season, CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin returns to Chicago Shakespeare to stage Peter Shaffer's award-winning drama Amadeus, and brings us into the tumultuous lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his obsessively jealous rival, Viennese court composer Antonio Salieri. Overcome with envy of Mozart's divinely inspired music, Salieri believes God has bestowed genius upon an "unmannered fool" and sets out to destroy his rival and take revenge upon an uncaring God. The original Broadway production received five Tony Awards, including Best Play, and its subsequent film adaptation garnered eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. September 6 – November 9, 2008, Courtyard Theater.
Chicago director Sean Graney brings the audience into the action in a ‘promenade staging' of Christopher Marlowe's The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward II, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer. Audience members are invited to take part in the production by moving with actors freely about the performance space, or to witness the interactive performance in seating above the action. Promenade tickets will be offered for $20. This exploration of power and persuasion by William Shakespeare's greatest contemporary rival playwright marks a double theatrical debut at CST—for both Marlowe and Graney.
October 1 – November 9, 2008, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare.
One of CST's landmark arts-in-education programs takes to the stage of the Courtyard Theater with two public performances, CPS Shakespeare! Macbeth—the capstone of an intensive four week workshop, creating an ensemble of students and their teachers from each of Chicago Public Schools' five designated geographic districts. This 60-minute adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's classic plays is directed by Kirsten Kelly. October 24 – 25, 2008, Courtyard Theater.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM) present their eighth family friendly collaboration, Leaping Leopold! The Mozart Show by Bruce Adolphe, for children ages four and up. The hour-long concerts will be performed twice on both days at 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. A joint CST and CCM Family production, the annual concerts are designed to introduce children and families to the joys of live performance and will be held one weekend only at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. November 8 – 9, 2008. Courtyard Theater.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, part of Chicago Shakespeare's World's Stage Series, combines the astonishing skills of 23 actors, dancers, martial arts experts, musicians and street acrobats from across India and Sri Lanka, performing in eight different languages with half performed in English. Directed by Tim Supple, this Dream—commissioned by the British Council and produced over a two-year period—is a bold, revelatory production that caused a sensation across India, and performed to sold-out houses at the Royal Shakespeare Company and London's Roundhouse. Chicago audiences will now be able to experience this production during its limited two-week engagement at CST. November 25 – December 7, 2008, Courtyard Theater.
CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines opens the New Year with a production of Macbeth—the first production of the "Scottish Play" in her distinguished career. Written at the height of Shakespeare's dramatic powers, Macbeth is infused with superstition, ghosts and madness. Returning to CST in the title role is Ben Carlson, featured classical actor at the Shaw and Stratford Shakespeare Festivals of Canada. Carlson made his Chicago debut in CST's 2006 production of Hamlet for which he received the Jeff Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. December 31, 2008 – March 8, 2009, Courtyard Theater.
Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Amanda Dehnert, introduces over 50,000 students to Shakespeare and is performed for the public on seven consecutive Saturday mornings in an interactive theater experience. This carefully crafted 75-minute abridgment of Shakespeare's comedy introduces young people, their families, and those new to Shakespeare to the theatrical genius of CST's resident playwright. A question-and-answer session with the entire cast follows—an open forum for audience members to communicate with the actors and share their questions with other families. Saturdays, January 24 – March 7, 2009, Courtyard Theater.
The World's Stage Stage Series continues with Sweet William, Michael Pennington's large-spirited, one-man show—an homage to Shakespeare that looks at his life and his work, side-by-side. Part biography, part analysis and part performance, Sweet William reflects on Pennington's long international experience as a leading Shakespearean actor—a career that has spanned more than 40 years, with leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and his own award-winning English Shakespeare Company. Having spent over 20,000 hours onstage performing Shakespeare, Pennington sets out to celebrate the life and work of this global cultural icon. February 3 – 22, 2009, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare.
The 2008/09 Season concludes with the Chicago debut of British director Josie Rourke staging Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's fairytale comedy set in the make-believe kingdom of Illyria. Shipwrecked twins set into relentless motion this tale of mistaken identity and unlikely love. Josie Rourke has held positions at the Donmar Warehouse, Sheffield Theatres and the Royal Court, and directed King John for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is Artistic Director of The Bush Theater—London's 36-year-old company that presents new plays and develops new writers. Recently, Rourke made headlines when she successfully led the artistic community in a charge to restore Arts Council England funding to theaters. March 29 – June 7, 2009, Courtyard Theater.
Subscriptions, including Amadeus, Macbeth and Twelfth Night begin at $120 and are on sale now. Subscribers can also purchase priority seating, at a discount to The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer ($20–56), A Midsummer Night's Dream ($60–75) and Sweet William ($46–56).
For further information on Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions and to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Mainstage artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous leadership grant from the McCormick Foundation.