Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents
The Madness of George III
Three-Time Tony Award Nominee Harry Groener Performs Title Role
Now playing through June 12, 2011
ChicagoApril 20, 2011Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) presents the thrilling story of a monarch's struggle for control over his mind and government with The Madness of George III. Masterfully written by Alan Bennett, the Laurence Olivier and Tony Award-winning playwright of The History Boys, the production's title role of King George III is performed by three-time Tony Award nominee Harry Groener. Penny Metropulos returns to direct the production after staging CST's The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2000. Chicago Shakespeare Theater's The Madness of George III runs now through June 12, 2011, in CST's Courtyard Theater. Tickets are $44–$75 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
In The Madness of George III, Alan Bennett deftly condenses one of the most politically charged periods of Great Britain's history into a surprisingly heartfelt human story about loss—of mind, body and power. As King George III descends into madness and is forced to submit to his doctors' myriad eighteenth-century medical treatments, his personal and political affiliations are threatened. At the core of Bennett's story of royal intrigue are the King's relationships with his devoted Queen Charlotte and closest advisors—which endure even as he struggles to remain in control of his own person and government.
Making his Chicago Shakespeare debut as King George III is Harry Groener, whose impressive array of Broadway credits includes George in Sunday in the Park with George; Bobby in Crazy For You, which received the Tony Award for Best Musical; King Arthur in Spamalot; Will Parker in Oklahoma!; and Munkustrup in the multiple Tony Award-winning production of Cats. In addition to his success on Broadway, Groener has worked extensively in TV and film, and at acclaimed regional theaters across the country, such as the Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre, the Alley Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre.
A celebrated writer for the screen and stage, Alan Bennett's play The History Boys won three Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Play, and six Tony Awards including Best Play. Bennett received an Academy Award nomination for his cinematic adaptation of The Madness of George III. Titled The Madness of King George, the film won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, and starred the late Nigel Hawthorne as King George III and Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte.
Director Penny Metropulos returns to Chicago Shakespeare after staging CST's critically acclaimed production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2000. In her 19 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), where she served as Associate Artistic Director, her credits have included The Comedy of Errors, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, As You Like It, The Tempest, The Night of the Iguana, The Good Person of Szechuan and Death of a Salesman. In addition to her extensive repertoire at OSF, Metropulos has staged productions across the country at esteemed regional theaters, including the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Intiman Theatre and three seasons at California Shakespeare Festival.
Joining Metropulos' production as King George III's devoted Queen Charlotte is Ora Jones, last seen at CST performing the role of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Frequent Chicago Shakespeare collaborator Kevin Gudahl, who recently finished a turn as Duke Senior in CST's celebrated As You Like It, performs the role of Captain Fitzroy. Also returning is David Lively as Thurlow, who previously played King Henry IV in CST's Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, marking the Theater's debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2006. Additional CST veterans in Metropulos' production include Brad Armacost as Dr. Baker, Danielle Brothers as Margaret Nicholson, Patrick Clear as Dr. Warren, Kevin Cox as Braun, Jeff Cummings as Fox, William Dick as Dr. Pepys, Erik Hellman as Greville, Jonathan Hicks as Ramsden Skrymshir, Mark Hines as Fortnum, Nathan Hosner as Mr. Pitt, James Newcomb as Dr. Willis and Steven Pringle as Papandiek. The ensemble for The Madness of George III is rounded out by Richard Baird as the Prince of Wales, Patrice Egleston as Lady Pembroke, Rob Glidden as Sir Boothby Skrymshir, Torrey Hanson as Dundas, Brian Rooney as Sheridan, Alex Weisman as the Duke of York and ensemble members Mike Sims, Curtis Stelter and Nathan Wonder.
The production team for The Madness of George III includes Scenic Designer William Bloodgood, who returns to Chicago Shakespeare after collaborating with Metropulos on The Two Gentlemen of Verona. He has designed sets for more than 140 productions as Resident Scenic Designer of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and received the Oregon Governor's Award for the Arts in 2002. Also returning to CST is Costume Designer Susan E. Mickey, whose credits include 14 seasons working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and CST's 2009 production of Richard III. Jeff Award-winning Lighting Designer Diane Ferry Williams joins Metropulos' production after working on several Chicago Shakespeare productions, including Much Ado About Nothing in 1998. The production team is rounded out by Sound Designers Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen, Wig and Make-Up Designer Melissa Veal, Properties Master Chelsea Meyers, Fight Choreographer James Newcomb and Dialect Coach Eva Breneman.
The Madness of George III runs now through June 12, 2011, in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater. Tickets are $44–$75 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Programs in conjunction with performance of The Madness of George III include:
- Pre•Ambles: Half-hour introductory lectures on The Madness of George III presented by scholars will take place on Saturdays at 2 p.m. from April 30 to June 4; on Sundays at 1 p.m. from May 1–29; on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on May 13, May 20 and June 3; and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. Admission is free and no reservations are required.
- Talk-Backs: Post-show discussions follow each Wednesday 1 p.m. performance. Admission is free. No reservations are required.
- "Access Shakespeare" Performances: The duo sign-interpreted performance for patrons with hearing impairments will be held on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should request the sign-interpreted section when purchasing tickets in advance. The audio-described performance for patrons with visual impairments will be held on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should reserve a headset when purchasing tickets in advance. "Access Shakespeare" tickets are $27.50 (Thursday) and $34 (Friday).
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) offers a broad spectrum of theatrical experiences year-round, engaging and entertaining audiences from all walks of life and from around the world. CST has garnered acclaim under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, including 55 Joseph Jefferson Awards and three Laurence Olivier Awards. The Theater has experienced record growth since moving to its current, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier in 1999, and will celebrate its 25th Anniversary next season.
The 38-play canon of William Shakespeare forms the core of CST's work and Subscription Series, complemented by other dramatic works-from traditional classical theater to new classics that resonate with Shakespeare's timeless insights into the human condition. Through a 48-week season encompassing more than 600 performances, Chicago Shakespeare leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors. CST also contributes to an international community of creative exchange through its World's Stage Series, which affords Chicago audiences prime opportunities to experience the cultural and artistic traditions of some of the world's iconic theater troupes as well as sending some of CST's best works abroad. Chicago Shakespeare is committed to making theater an expansive, ever-changing and lifelong relationship. For family audiences, CST Family presents abridged Shakespeare productions, timeless fables and fairy tales, interactive music concerts and world-premiere musical theater created with families in mind. CST's education outreach program, Team Shakespeare, has served over 1 million students and teachers throughout the Midwest, introducing the Bard's legacy to a new generation.
Production Sponsors for The Madness of George III are The Donna Van Eekeren Foundation and The William Wrigley Jr. Company.
The Madness of George III is supported, in part, by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming in the Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Land O'Frost is a proud sponsor of the 2010/11 Subscription Series at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Mainstage artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.