Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s World Stage Series Presents
Michael Pennington’s one-man salute to Shakespeare's life and work
Februrary 3 – 22, 2009
ChicagoDecember 29, 2008Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s (CST) international programming initiative, the World’s Stage Series, brings to Chicago Michael Pennington’s Sweet William, a one-man show melding biography with performance of the life and works of Shakespeare for 20 performances only February 322, 2009 Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/.
Building on the facts that are known about Shakespeare’s life, and drawing on the plays themselves, Pennington creates a portrait of the man that he likens to “a letter to my best friend” in this tour de force performance. With only a chair and a red handkerchief on stage, Pennington goes in and out of characters, blending commentary and biography with performances of famous and lesser-known monologues.
As one of England’s foremost Shakespearean actors, Michael Pennington has spent over 20,000 hours of his life on stage performing the works of William Shakespeare. He studied at Cambridge University before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964, launching his celebrated international career as an actor and director. In 1986, he and director Michael Bogdanov founded the English Shakespeare Company to present and promote the works of Shakespeare internationally, especially through large-scale touring shows of modern interpretations. The company’s inaugural production was the 23-hour The Wars of the Roses, an anthology of seven history plays that toured from 1986 to 1989, and played in Chicago as part of the International Theatre Festival. In 1996 Pennington directed CST’s Joseph Jefferson Award-winning production of Twelfth Night. Pennington is the author of numerous books, including User’s Guides to Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“Michael’s lifelong dedication to the performance of Shakespeare and his work with Michael Bogdanov in creating the English Shakespeare Company was an inspiration to many,” says Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. “Our first invitation to Michael, over a decade ago, was to direct a production for usand indeed, many will remember a wonderful production of Twelfth Night. I am thoroughly delighted that on Michael Pennington’s return to Chicago he will grace our stage with his presence. His extraordinary talent, intelligence and unique relationship with Shakespeare will both illuminate and entertain.”
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is Chicago’s foremost destination for international theater artists, forging global connections through cultivation of international cultural events for Chicago audiences. Through the World’s Stage Series, CST has brought to its stage 21 international productions, and has shared its own 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. CST has hosted iconic troupes from across the globe; examples include The Abbey Theatre from Dublin, Shakespeare’s Globe from London, the Chekhov International Theatre Festival from Moscow, La Comédie-Française from Paris, the Farber Foundry from South Africa and Transe Express from France. In April, CST will continue its 2008/09 World’s Stage Series with The Table (Stolik) performed Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare April 30May 10, 2009, by Karbido, a group of four accomplished musicians creating an engrossing audio-spectacle from a single table.
Sweet William begins its limited engagement on February 3, with performances scheduled through February 22, 2009 Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. The performance schedule is: February 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. with 2:00 p.m. performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $46 and $56 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more.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 http://www.chicagoshakes.com www.chicagoshakes.com.
International programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is supported, in part, by the Julius Frankel Foundation and The Rhoades Foundation..
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.