Chicago Shakespeare Theater Announces 21st Season
2007/2008 Season Includes Works By
Shakespeare, Sondheim, Beckett and Shaw
Featuring CST Directors Barbara Gaines and Gary Griffin, Jackie Maxwell (Shaw Festival Artistic Director), Peter Brook, James Thiérrée and Marti Maraden (Stratford Festival Artistic Director)
Chicago—April 18, 2007—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson announced today the scheduled lineup of plays for the 2007/2008 Season, including a Shakespeare three-play Subscription Series—all performed in CST's Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier: The Comedy of Errors and Cymbeline—both directed by Barbara Gaines—and Othello, directed by Stratford Festival Artistic Director Designate Marti Maraden. CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin will direct Passion, Stephen Sondheim's hymn to romantic obsession. Chicago Shakespeare's international programming initiative, The World's Stage Series, brings the triumphant return of James Thiérrée to the CST stage with the American premiere of Au revoir, parapluie (Goodbye, Umbrella). The World's Stage Series continues with the Chicago premiere of Canada's celebrated Shaw Festival with their production of Saint Joan, by Bernard Shaw. Saint Joan is directed by Shaw Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and features two of Canada's leading young actors: Tara Rosling as Joan of Arc and Ben Carlson, who garnered critical acclaim for his performance in the title role of CST's 2006 production of Hamlet. Peter Brook's production of Fragments, based on texts by Samuel Beckett, makes its American premiere, concluding the 2007/2008 World's Stage Series. This summer, the CST Family Series continues to entertain families with two CST family favorites: How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? An Aesop's Fables Musical and Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew. Team Shakespeare, CST's arts-in-education program that introduces Shakespeare to more than 50,000 students each year, will stage Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare Three-Play Subscription Series
Chicago Shakespeare's three-play Subscription Series begins with Cymbeline. Shakespeare's dark fairy tale about love, fidelity and deception, directed by Barbara Gaines, plays September 1 through November 11, 2007. Britain's King Cymbeline, enraged when he discovers his daughter Imogen's marriage to the poor, but worthy, Posthumous, banishes her new husband. The journey to their reunion is populated with colorful characters, a wicked queen, sword fights, sleeping potions—all the elements of a wondrous tale of love lost and found.
The Subscription Series continues with Othello, Shakespeare's heart-wrenching masterpiece about envy, greed, jealousy and love, February 3 through April 6, 2008. Stratford Festival Artistic Director Designate Marti Maraden returns to CST, where she directed Much Ado About Nothing in 2006, to direct Shakespeare's tragic story of the Moorish general who "loved not wisely, but too well." One of Canada's foremost stage directors, Maraden has directed for such major Canadian theaters as the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage Company, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the Grand Theatre, and in the United States at the Mark Taper Forum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1997 to 2005 she served as Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre English Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario. Maraden has taught at several Canadian and American universities and has performed in productions at the NAC, Stratford Festival, and Shaw Festival.
The Comedy of Errors, playing April 27 through June 29, 2008, concludes the Subscription Series. Barbara Gaines directs Shakespeare's madcap comedy follows the story of Antipholus and his servant Dromio, in search of their long-lost twin brothers. Filled with mayhem and madness, this early Shakespeare comedy doubles the laughter as identical twin brothers and their identical twin servants get lost in a hilarious, mixed-up world of mistaken identities.
"Taken together, these three plays—a romantic adventure, the most poignant of tragedies and a thoroughly zany comedy—are quintessential Shakespeare. It is a season of remarkable plays that fully display Shakespeare's gifts for magnificent language, indelible characters and masterful storytelling that reveal the human condition in all its complexity. And I especially look forward sharing the Subscription Series with a remarkable artist and my good friend Marti Maraden from the Stratford Festival of Canada," says Barbara Gaines.
2007/08 Subscriptions are on sale now and range in price from $120-$198.
Gary Griffin Stages a CST Sondheim Production
Expanding CST's catalogue of innovative works of musical theater, Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin mounts Stephen Sondheim's rhapsodic tour de force, Passion. Griffin's inspired staging of Sondheim Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare includes Sunday in the Park with George and the seldom-produced Pacific Overtures (which garnered the Joseph Jefferson Award for outstanding musical production in Chicago and the Laurence Olivier Award for the transfer of the CST production to the Donmar Warehouse in London). Passion, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical about the obsessive force of power, beauty, manipulation and love begins in October 2007, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare.
THE WORLD'S STAGE SERIES HAILS AMERICAN AND CHICAGO PREMIERES
Through The World's Stage Series, CST has brought to its stage 19 international productions, and has shared CST's uniquely American brand of Shakespeare with the world.
"Bringing the world's great theater to Chicago Shakespeare is a serious commitment to our community's vision of Chicago as a world-class city," says Criss Henderson. "Attending the European debut of James Thiérrée's new production, Barbara and I were again amazed by his singular theatrical brilliance. We have the opportunity to introduce Canada's distinguished Shaw Festival to Chicago audiences and, for the first time at CST, bring the work of Bernard Shaw side-by-side with our resident playwright. It is an honor to continue our relationship with the incomparable Peter Brook and to premiere his newest inspired work to complete this season's World's Stage Series."
Infused with childlike imagination reminiscent of his grandfather, Charlie Chaplin, James Thiérrée's exceptional physical theater returns to CST November 20 through 30, 2007, for the American premiere of his new work Au revoir, parapluie (Goodbye, Umbrella). Evoking the artistry of 2005's Bright Abyss, Thiérrée's Au revoir, parapluie dazzles audiences with spectacular theatrics, performed by a highly skilled cast of acrobats, dancers and musicians. A stunning physical spectacle, Au revoir, parapluie promises to be another visually phenomenal event on the CST Courtyard Theater stage.
Canada's Shaw Festival makes its Chicago debut with the production of Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, directed by Shaw Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and starring Tara Rosling as Joan of Arc and featuring Ben Carlson, whose distinguished portrayal of the title character in CST's 2006 production of Hamlet won critical acclaim. With the publication of Saint Joan in 1924, Shaw became regarded as "a second Shakespeare," revolutionizing the British theater. One of Shaw's most celebrated plays, Saint Joan chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the charismatic Joan of Arc. On the Courtyard Theater stage for a limited two-week engagement, January 8 through 20, 2008, Saint Joan spotlights hero worship, the roots of nationalism, religious fervor and tolerance.
Peter Brook's Fragments, a performance based on the texts of Samuel Beckett's "Rough for Theatre I," "Rockaby," "Act Without Words," and "Neither," makes its American debut at CST, January 28 through February 10, 2008, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Fragments was presented in French in October, 2006 at Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, and will be revived in English with an international cast including Jos Houben, Marcello Magni and Kathryn Hunter from the extraordinary Complicité Theatre at the Young Vic Theatre in London in September, 2007. Peter Brook has redefined theater for audiences around the world through four decades of groundbreaking work, including The Tragedy of Hamlet and Le Costume, staged at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Throughout his career—from the world-respected Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in London to his own international ensemble company in Paris—Brook continues to explore, innovate and fascinate.
CST Family Series Favorites Return for the Summer
Back by popular demand, this summer CST mounts two CST Family Series productions: How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? An Aesop's Fables Musical by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler and Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew.
How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? An Aesop's Fables Musical brings Aesop's timeless fables into a contemporary classroom. After-school detention is transformed into an adventure when a teacher shows six students the power of a good fable. High-spirited and clever songs give a modern twist to Aesop's "The Tortoise and the Hare," "The Ant and the Grasshopper" and "Androcles and the Lion," Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare July 5 through August 12, 2007. How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? An Aesop's Fables Musical is recommended for everyone age 6 and up. Tickets, which are on sale now, are $16 for children, and $20 for adults.
David H. Bell's abridged production of Shakespeare's classic farce of love and marriage, Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew follows the volatile courtship between the shrewish Katharina and the fortune-seeking Petruchio, determined to both subdue Katharina's temper and win her dowry. Set against a backdrop of Italy's commedia dell'arte tradition, this critically acclaimed production is a perfect introduction to Shakespeare for all audiences and is recommended for everyone ages 10 and up. Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew will run July 12 through August 12, 2007, on the Courtyard Theater stage. Tickets, on sale now, are $16 for students, 18 and younger, and $20 for adults.
CST Arts-in-Education Program Presents Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
For the past 16 seasons, Chicago Shakespeare Theater has built Team Shakespeare into one of the nation's largest arts-in-education theater programs. Participants benefit from access to classroom support and professional development opportunities for teachers. Under the Team Shakespeare banner, CST serves approximately 50,000 students and teachers, presenting 100 professional Shakespeare productions, teacher workshops and special student performance initiatives.
CST's popular Short Shakespeare! program offers students an accessible introduction to one of the world's greatest storytellers by staging abridged adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, specifically for student audiences, both at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier and on tour to their own communities. Students and teachers from nearly 550 schools come together to share in this expansive live performance series. This season, Short Shakespeare! will stage of one of world's greatest love stories and a staple of high school curriculums: Romeo and Juliet. Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet will be performed for students on the Courtyard Theater stage February 20 through April 4, 2008, and on tour throughout Illinois April 1 through May 9, 2008. As part of the CST Family Series, families can enjoy Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet for seven consecutive Saturday mornings February 23 to April 5, 2008.
CPS Shakespeare!, an extraordinary collaboration between CST and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), welcomes a group of CPS high school students and their teachers from across the city to CST to participate in a month-long mentorship, culminating in performances of a Shakespeare play for an audience of the participants' families, friends and the general public. The unprecedented initiative was inaugurated in 2006 with CPS Hamlet and received enthusiastic praise across the city of Chicago. This season, CPS Romeo and Juliet will play November 2 and 3, 2007, on the Courtyard Theater stage.
"By discovering Shakespeare through the performance of CPS Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet, students—and teachers—will experience their power to decipher meaning, understand context, articulate thoughts and work collaboratively," explains CST Director of Education and Communications Marilyn J. Halperin.
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
Main stage artistic productions are supported, in part, through The Trust for Courtyard Theater Programming, established by a generous leadership grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation.