Chicago Shakespeare Associate Artistic Director
Gary Griffin Directs Noël Coward's
January 6–March 7, 2010
ChicagoNovember 30, 2009Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) continues the 2009/10 Subscription Series in the new year with Private Lives, a revelation of the humorous complications of marriage penned by master playwright NoŽl Coward. The production will be staged by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin following his celebrated production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus in 2008. The first-class creative team includes Scenic Designer Neil Patel and Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel who are designing an intimate, in-the-round performance space. They are joined by Paul Tazewell, who is designing costumes. Private Lives runs January 6 through March 7, 2010, in the Courtyard Theater at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 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.
Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin has long been enamored with Noël Coward, comparing his language and the challenge of performing it to that of Shakespeare’s. "Acting Coward is hard. He requires not just good actors, but actors who are verbally and intellectually facile," says Griffin. "I remember reading Private Lives in college, but the first time I saw it performed was with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor at the Shubert Theater in Chicago. The play is Coward at the top of his game in terms of wit, intelligence and the sparkle of the language. But it’s also Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? turned around, where humor makes it forgiving: two people who are a nightmare together and yet are also the perfect mates."
Long associated with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Griffin has emerged as an acclaimed director with credits ranging from Broadway to London. During his 10-year career at CST, he has directed numerous award-winning productions including Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George and Pacific Overturesa production Chicago Shakespeare later transferred to Donmar Warehouse in London’s West End, where it garnered three Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production. On Broadway he directed the Tony Award-nominated productions of The Color Purple and The Apple Tree; Off Broadway he directed the world premiere musical Saved, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Beautiful Thing. Griffin has worked extensively in Chicago at Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Writers' Theatre, The Marriott Theatre and Drury Lane Oakbrook. He has received eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing. In December, Mr. Griffin makes his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut, directing a new production of The Merry Widow.
For Private Lives, Griffin is working with a first-class creative team, who will reconfigure Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater with the addition of main floor seating on the proscenium stage itself, creating a theater-in-the-round. "The decision to do Private Lives came out of the artistic team’s discussions about plays that would lend themselves to our theater specifically and its intimate space," says Griffin. "There is nothing presentational about this piece at all. We are all voyeurs to its intimacy. That’s what I think Coward was interested in exploring."
The design team includes Scenic Designer Neil Patel and Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel, who recently worked together on CST’s production of Richard III and the Jeff Award-winning production of The Comedy of Errors. In addition to his work with CST, which includes The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice and Pacific Overtures, Patel has worked extensively on Broadway designing productions such as [title of show], Ring of Fire and 'Night Mother, and in regional theaters throughout the country. Wierzel, also a CST veteran with credits including The Merchant of Venice and The Tempest has Broadway credits that include the new musical Fela! directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, and David Copperfield’s Dreams and Nightmares with other work in theaters across the country. Designing the costumes for Private Lives is Paul Tazewell, who has worked on a number of Broadway shows, including Gary Griffin’s production of The Color Purple. He received a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2000 for his costume designs for CST’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Joe Dowling. The production team for Private Lives is rounded out by Sound Designers Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen; Wig and Makeup Designer Melissa Veal; Properties Master Chelsea Meyers and Fight Choreographer Chuck Coyl.
Returning to Chicago Shakespeare after his Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated performance as Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus last season, Robert Sella performs the role of Elyot, a high-society divorcť newly married to Sybil, performed by Chaon Cross, whose CST credits include Cymbeline, Troilus and Cressida and The Taming of the Shrew. Honeymooning with his new bride, Elyot notices his ex-wife, Amanda, performed by Tracy Michelle Arnold who holds numerous Chicago credits at Writers’ Theatre, Steppenwolf and Northlight Theatre, and now makes her Chicago Shakespeare debut. Amanda, Elyot soon learns, is also there honeymooning with her new husband Victor, performed by Tim Campbell. Mr. Campbell also makes his CST debut, with regional credits including Tarragon Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, Birdland Theatre and ACT. The French Maid Louise is performed by Wendie Robie, who returns to CST after her recent performance as Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, appears as a subtle reminder that the lives of the two couples are not as private as they might imagine them to be.
Noël Coward is considered to be one of England’s most sophisticated humorists, having written over 50 plays produced in Britain and on Broadway. Private Lives was an overwhelming critical and commercial success when it first premiered in London with Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda, Adrianne Allen as Sybil, Laurence Olivier as Victor and Coward as Elyot. A Broadway production followed in 1931, and the play has since had numerous revivals in London’s West End and on Broadway.
Private Lives runs January 6 through March 7, 2010, in the Courtyard Theater at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 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.
Programs in conjunction with performances of Private Lives include:
- Pre•Amble: half-hour introductory lectures on Private Lives presented by scholars will take place 1/17, 1/24, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28 at 1:00 p.m. and 1/16, 1/23, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free and reservations are not 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 4, 2010 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, February 26, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should request the specific seating area when purchasing tickets in advance. "Access Shakespeare" tickets are $35.
Private Lives is supported, in part, by Gayle and Glenn R. Tilles.
The services of designers Neil Patel and Robert Wierzel have been underwritten by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.
Land O’Frost is a proud partner of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Subscription Series.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
|Dates||January 6–March 7, 2010|| || || |
|Performance Schedule|| || || || |
|Previews|| || || || |
| ||Wednesday||January 6||7:30 p.m.|| |
| ||Thursday||January 7||7:30 p.m.|| |
| ||Friday||January 8||7:30 p.m.|| |
| ||Saturday||January 9||7:30 p.m.|| |
| ||Sunday||January 10||2:00 p.m.|| |
| ||Tuesday||January 12||7:30 p.m.|| |
| || || || || |
|Performances||Weekdays|| || || |
| ||Tuesday||January 19||7:30 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 2, 9, 16, 23|| || |
| ||Wednesday||January 20, 27|| 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 3, 10, 17|| || |
| || ||March 3|| || |
| || ||February 24||1:00 p.m.|| |
| ||Thursday||January 14, 21, 28||7:30 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 4, 11, 18, 25|| || |
| || ||March 4|| || |
| || || || || |
| ||Weekends|| || || |
| ||Friday||January 15, 22, 29||7:30 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 12, 19, 26|| || |
| || ||March 5|| || |
| || ||February 5||6:30 p.m.|| |
| ||Saturday||January 16, 23, 30||3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 6, 13, 20, 27|| || |
| || ||March 6|| || |
| ||Sunday||January 24, 31||2:00 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 7, 14, 21|| || |
| || ||January 17||2:00 p.m.and 6:00 p.m.|| |
| || ||February 28|| || |
| || ||March 7|| || |
|Ticket Prices|| || || || |
|Previews||$44|| || || |
|Tue, Wed, Thu||$55|| || || |
|Fri||$68|| || || |
|Sat, Sun Mat||$75|| || || |
|Sun Eve||$55|| || || |
|Location||Courtyard Theater|| || || |
| ||Chicago Shakespeare Theater|| || |
| ||800 E Grand Avenue|| || || |
|Tickets||$44–75|| || || |
|Box Office||www.chicagoshakes.com|| || || |
| ||312.595.5600|| || || |
|Group Sales||312.595.5678|| || || |
| ||groups of 10 or more|| || || |