The Comedy of Errors
Second City's Ron West Brings Additional Comedic Twist
Now through June 29, 2008
Chicago—May 7, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) concludes its 21st Season with The Comedy of Errors staged by CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, whose collaboration with Second City veteran Ron West brings an additional comedic twist to the production. Set in 1940, during the golden age of film, Shakespeare's comedic classic unfolds as an eccentric group of stage and screen actors gather on an English movie set during World War II in the midst of the London blitz to film the play. Performed in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater, The Comedy of Errors runs now through Sunday, June 29, 2008. Tickets are $44-70 and can be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or by visiting the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Chicago Shakespeare Artistic Director Barbara Gaines stages The Comedy of Errors for the first time in her distinguished career. Collaborating with Second City veteran Ron West, Gaines' production sets Shakespeare's earliest comedy as a play-within-a-play in which an eccentric group of stage and screen actors gather on an English movie set in the midst of the London blitz to film The Comedy of Errors. Set in the golden age of film, the cast is populated with a mélange of glamorous movie stars and theatrical characters—each performing a role in The Comedy of Errors as a gift to the troops in war-torn Europe. Backstage antics abound as the onstage story unfolds in which Antipholus and his servant Dromio land in Ephesus searching for their long-lost identical twin brothers. Mistaken identities make for hilarious complications as the two men search for their twins lost since infancy. Comedic chaos gives way to clarity and a baffling day on the set makes for a joyous conclusion to The Comedy of Errors.
Barbara Gaines, Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, has directed more than 30 of William Shakespeare's plays throughout her career. Her work has been honored with several Jeff Awards for Best Production and Best Director. In partnership with Executive Director Criss Henderson, Gaines has broadened the Theater's artistic palate to encompass—alongside Shakespeare's canon—theatrical presentations for students and families, musicals and collaborations with international theater artists. In 2005, Gaines was awarded the prestigious Honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her contributions strengthening British-American cultural relations and in 2007 the Public Humanities Award by the Illinois Humanities Council.
Collaborating with Barbara Gaines is the talented writer/director/actor Ron West (The Second City's Romeo and Juliet Musical: The People vs. Friar Laurence, The Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, at CST in 2005). West began his acting career with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. He has also been seen on both the silver screen and television, most notably in recurring roles on 3rd Rock from the Sun and Malcolm in the Middle. He received the Joseph Jefferson Award for directing Curious George Goes to War (The Second City e.t.c.).
Each member of the acting company is charged with playing dual roles: a character in The Comedy of Errors—the play being filmed to entertain the troops of World War II—and an eccentric film artist on the set in war-torn London. Timothy Edward Kane and Sean Allan Krill return to Chicago Shakespeare as the identical twins Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus, respectively. Kane also doubles as leading man of film and lothario Emerson Furbelow, while Krill is featured on the set of The Comedy of Errors as American crooner Phil Sullivan. Ross Lehman and Kevin Gudahl—Chicago Shakespeare veterans with more than 30 CST credits between them—are featured as the identical twin servants of the Antipholus brothers: appearing as Dromio of Syracuse and the earnest film director Dudley Marsh, Lehman was most recently seen on the CST stage as Thersites in Barbara Gaines' Troilus and Cressida (2007); Gudahl—as Dromio of Ephesus and egocentric star of stage and screen Brian Hallifax—was seen at Chicago Shakespeare earlier this season as Colonel Ricci in Passion directed by Gary Griffin.
The cast of The Comedy of Errors also includes: Dale Benson as First Mechant/Ken; Norm Boucher as Angelo/Director of Photography; William Dick as Second Merchant/Charles Chittick; Don Forston as Gaoler/Tom/Officer; Sean Fortunato as Pinch/Eddie Philpot; Dane Holverson as Ensemble/Enlisted Man; Angela Ingersoll as Luciana/Alice Boggs; Dan Kenney as Messenger/Film Crew; Kymberly Mellen as Adriana/Veronica Marsh; Roger Mueller as Duke Solinus/Monty; Dan Sanders-Joyce as Balthasar/Sound Engineer; Paula Scrofano as Aemilia/Doris;Doug Vickers as Nell/Cyril; Greg Vinkler as Egeon/Admiral Philpot and Nancy Voigts as Courtesan/Marian.Matthew Davis, Bethany Ann Hystad, and Fanny Katz complete the ensemble.
Costume designer Ana Kuzmanic and set designer Neil Patel bring the physical world of The Comedy of Errors to life. Kuzmanic's extensive Chicago credits include costume design for the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Lookingglass, as well as Chicago Shakespeare. Having also designed the sets for Barbara Gaines' productions of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (2006) and Measure for Measure (2005), Patel has also designed Side Man and Ring of Fire on Broadway as well as Dead Man's Cell Phone at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, for which he received a Helen Hayes Award. The world-class production team also includes lighting design by Robert Wierzel; sound design by Lindsay Jones; fight choreography by Robin McFarquhar; and wig and make-up design by Melissa Veal.
Programs in conjunction with performances of The Comedy of Errors include:
- Pre·Amble: half-hour introductory lectures on The Comedy of Errors presented by scholars will take place at 2:00 p.m. on select Saturdays (5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31, 6/7, 6/14) and Sundays (5/11, 5/18, 5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15). Admission is free and reservations are not required.
- Cast Call: an informal discussion with the actors in the Theater's Pub will be Friday, May 23 from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., prior to the 7:30 p.m. curtain. Admission is free. No reservations are required.
- Post-show discussions follow each Wednesday 1:00 p.m. performance. Admission is free. No reservations are required.
- The audio-described performance for patrons with visual impairments will be held on Thursday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should reserve a headset when purchasing tickets in advance. "Access Shakespeare" tickets are $27.
- The duo sign-interpreted performance for patrons with hearing impairments will be held on Friday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should request the specific seating area when purchasing tickets in advance. "Access Shakespeare" tickets are $35.
- Performances of The Comedy of Errors are scheduled through Sunday, June 29, 2008. For further information and to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Team Shakespeare Student Matinees of The Comedy of Errors are sponsored by Kraft Foods and Nuveen Investments, with additional underwriting provided by Baxter International Inc.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation.