Chicago Shakespeare Theater's World's Stage Series Hosts
Chicago Debut of Canada's Shaw Festival
Presenting Festival's Flagship Production of
Now through January 20, 2008
Chicago—January 9, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) kicks off the New Year with Bernard Shaw's iconic Saint Joan, marking the Chicago debut of Canada's Shaw Festival. Staged by Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and originally produced as the Festival's flagship production of the 2007 Season, Saint Joan is performed in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater, now through Sunday, January 20, 2008. The Shaw Festival joins the growing ranks of leading international theater artists and companies presented by Chicago Shakespeare as part of The World's Stage Series.
Regarded by many to be Shaw's masterpiece, Saint Joan chronicles the life of Jeanne d'Arc, a peasant girl who, in 1431 led an army, crowned a king, and was burned at the stake. Nearly 500 years later, she was made a saint. Shaw brilliantly retold this extraordinary story, shining a bright light on the roots of nationalism, and combining his most refined and provocative political thinking with fiercely poetic writing—leading Shaw to the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Shaw Festival of Canada's celebrated Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell drew inspiration for her production of Saint Joan from the play's epilogue. In it, a cleric appears to King Charles as a 'ghost of the future' from the year 1920 and announces that Joan has been made a saint. "I thought, that's the beginning of the play: the end of World War One," says Maxwell. "Nationalism is what fueled European politics right through the First World War. It's time to produce Saint Joan again. The notion of nationhood is still tearing the world apart, so let's look at that; let's look at how it all started." After acting in both Ireland and England, Maxwell settled in Canada in 1978 and has been Shaw Festival's Artistic Director for five seasons.
One of Canada's finest leading young actresses, Tara Rosling, will appear as Joan. Having just completed her fourth season at the Festival, her other credits include Pygmalion, Nothing Sacred, Three Sisters, and The Coronation Voyage. The role of Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais will be played by Ben Carlson, returning to Chicago Shakespeare after his celebrated Jeff Award-winning performance of Hamlet (2006). The cast is completed by: Norman Browning as Archbishop of Rheims/The Executioner; Andrew Bunker as Bertrand de Poulengey/Brother Martin Ladvenu; Patrick Galligan as Richard, Earl of Warwick; Martin Happer as Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard)/ Canon de Courcelles; Douglas E. Hughes as Captain La Hire/English Soldier; Harry Judge as Dauphin (later Charles VII); Peter Krantz as Chaplain John de Stogumber; Billy Lake as Steward/Soldier; Thom Marriott as La Trémouille/Canon d'Estivet; Jesse Martyn as Warwick's Page/Soldier; Marla McLean as Page/Soldier; Patrick McManus as Dunois; Ric Reid as Robert de Baudricourt/The Inquisitor; and Michael Strathmore as Dunois' Page/Soldier.
Saint Joan's production team, with more than 40 seasons of Shaw Festival credits among them, includes set and costume designer Sue LePage, lighting designer Kevin Lamotte, and composer Paul Sportelli.
Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, Shaw Festival is one of the only theaters in the world that specializes exclusively in plays by Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, as well as those about the period of Shaw's lifetime. One of only a few theater companies that has a permanent acting company, Shaw Festival is renowned internationally for revitalizing and re-energizing the works of Bernard Shaw, and tackling the vast array of theater pieces in their mandate—presenting them anew to appreciative theater audiences. The Festival's mandate was expanded in 2000 to include contemporary plays written about the period of Bernard Shaw's life, 1856–1950.
Performances of Saint Joan are scheduled now through Sunday, January 20, 2008 in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater. The performance schedule is: January 9, 10, 11, 15, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m.; January 16 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; January 12 and 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and January 13 and 20 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $54, Tuesday through Thursday and $70, Friday through Sunday. For further information and to purchase tickets, call the Chicago Shakespeare Theater Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is proud to be among Chicago's foremost arts institutions that place a priority on forging global connections to cultivate international programming in our city. Through The World's Stage Series, CST strives to bring to Chicago some of the best theater the world has to offer, as well as share our uniquely American brand of Shakespeare performance with the world. For Chicago audiences, The World's Stage Series is a passport to experiencing exceptional stage work.
Sharing the World's Stage, Chicago Shakespeare's program designed to connect Chicago artists with international guests brought to Chicago under the auspices of the World's Stage Series, continues in 2008 with "An Afternoon with Shaw and Shakespeare" in conjunction Saint Joan. The program will feature ShawChicago's one-act, Shaw vs. Shakespeare: A Meeting of the Minds and a spirited debate between CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and ShawChicago Artistic Director Robert Scogin at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 12:00 p.m. Chicago Shakespeare will also host "Acting Shaw" with members of the Shaw Festival Company, by invitation.
The 2007/08 World's Stage Series will conclude with Fragments, directed by the world-renowned Peter Brook and based on texts by Samuel Beckett. Performances are scheduled Wednesday, January 30 through Sunday, February 9, 2008, and tickets are $46–57. In conjunction with Sharing the World's Stage, Chicago Shakespeare will host a special performance of Fragments for Chicago-area theater students followed by a discussion with the company; and an invited workshop with the company for Chicago theater professionals.
International programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is supported, in part, by the Julius Frankel
Foundation and The Rhoades Foundation.
Additional funding for Saint Joan provided by a grant from the Governor's International Arts Exchange Program of the Illinois Arts Council.
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.
American Airlines is the Official Airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the Official Lighting Design Sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.