Stratford Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Marti Maraden
Returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater to Stage
William Shakespeare's Othello
Now through April 6, 2008
Chicago—February 13, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) continues the 2007/08 Subscription Season with Othello directed by Stratford Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Marti Maraden. Performed in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater, Othello runs through Sunday, April 6, 2008. Tickets 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.
Marti Maraden, a renowned classical theater director, was recently named Artistic Director in the new artistic triumvirate of Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival after 16 seasons with the company. Chicago Shakespeare's critically acclaimed 2005 production of Much Ado About Nothing marked her CST debut. She demonstrated a deft hand for Shakespeare with The Merchant of Venice at Stratford and was also entrusted with breathing life into Elliott Hayes's Homeward Bound, which went on to stages across the continent. Maraden recently completed her tenure as the Artistic Director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre (NAC). Strengthening connections with artists and theaters across the country was one of her key accomplishments at the NAC. Ms. Maraden was one of the driving forces behind the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, the first national festival dedicated to Canadian work. An accomplished director of classical and contemporary pieces, she has directed at various stages such as CanStage, the Shaw Festival, and the ManitobaTheatre Centre.
Often called Shakespeare's most intimate tragedy, Othello's realm is not of great kingdoms lost and won, nor of courtly politics. The marriage bed and not the throne rivets attention. Othello, an esteemed general in the service of Venice and a Moor, has recently wed Desdemona, the daughter of a senator. When he promotes Michael Cassio to be his lieutenant, the ambitious Iago is enraged. Othello aspires to belong to Desdemona's world and instead becomes victim to its bigotry and his own monstrous terrors. "In Othello we have a husband and wife with true passion for each other, whose marriage and potential for happiness is ultimately destroyed," comments director Maraden. "And although we know Othello is respected among his peers, there is bigotry in this world. He is an outsider—and that has a psychological affect on him."
Making his debut at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the role of Othello, the Moor of Venice is Derrick Lee Weeden, a 17-year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he has previously performed the role to critical acclaim. Allison Batty, also new to CST audiences, plays the role of Desdemona. She has appeared in Chicago most recently as Catherine in Suddenly Last Summer (Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater) and is a veteran of Utah Shakespeare. Paul Niebanck, making his CST debut as Iago, is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and has previously worked off-Broadway and at New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare, and Santa Cruz Shakespeare.
The cast of Othello also includes: Lesley Bevan as Emilia; David Darlow as Brabantio; Kurt Ehrmann as Duke of Venice; Sean Fortunato as Cassio; John Hoogenakker as Roderigo; Mark Hines as Gentleman; Michael Huftile as Gentleman; Paul Hurley as Ensemble; Ginger Lee McDermott as Bianca/Ensemble; John Philips as Lodovico; Nicolas Sandys as Montano; Bob Turton as Ensemble; Greg Vinkler as Gratiano and Matthew Lon Walker as Senator/Gentleman.
The production team for Othello is drawn from across the continent and includes original music composed by Marc Desormeaux; fight choreography by Robin McFarquhar; scenic design by Patrick Clark; costume design by Christina Poddubiuk; lighting design by Chris Akerlind; sound design by James Savage; and wig and make-up design by Melissa Veal.
Programs in conjunction with performances of Othello, include:
- Pre·Amble: half-hour introductory lectures on Othello presented by scholars will take place at 2:00 p.m. on select Saturdays (2/16, 2/23, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22, 3/29) and Sundays (2/17, 2/24, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30). Admission is free and reservations are not required.
- Cast Call: an informal discussion with the actors in the Theater's Pub will be Friday, March 14 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, March 27 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, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should request specific seating area when purchasing tickets in advance. "Access Shakespeare" tickets are $35.
Performances of Othello are scheduled to run through April 6, 2008. For further information about subscriptions and performances at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Production Sponsor: JPMorgan Chase
Team Shakespeare Student Matinees of Othello are sponsored by Kraft Foods and Nuveen Investments, with additional support from Ms. Sheila A. Penrose and Mr. R. Ernest Mahaffey.
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.