Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Smash Hit
Funk It Up About Nothin'
Hip-hops "Across the Pond" for London Debut
Performances at Theatre Royal Stratford East Begin April 8
ChicagoFebruary 17, 2011Straight from a six-week tour of Australia, Chicago Shakespeare Theater's (CST) acclaimed Funk It Up About Nothin' makes its London debut at Theatre Royal Stratford East beginning April 8, 2011. Created and directed by GQ and JQ (The Q Brothers), this exuberant "hip-hoptation" of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing is thrilling audiences the world over, from its home-town audience in Chicago to Joe's Pub at The Public Theater in New York to Scotland's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Funk It Up About Nothin' garnered the Dress Circle Award for Best Musical Production. The production's extended life abroad is emblematic of CST's World's Stage initiative to bring the world's best theaters to Chicago and Chicago Shakespeare to the world. Funk It Up About Nothin' is presented in London by Theatre Royal Stratford East, CST and Richard Jordan Productions. For more information about Funk It Up About Nothin', visit Chicago Shakespeare's website at www.chicagoshakes.com/funk.
In its London debut at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Funk It Up About Nothin' joins the ranks of acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare exports to the United Kingdom, including the Olivier Award-winning Pacific Overtures at London's Donmar Warehouse and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival. Theatre Royal Stratford East is located in London's Borough of Newham, which has the most diverse population in the country and a large youth demographicmaking it the perfect home for CST's witty "hip-hoptation." In its refurbished Victorian-era playhouse, the Theatre Royal showcases new talent and productions that reflect the richness of the borough's multi-ethnic community.
Commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2008, Funk It Up About Nothin' was developed by The Q Brothers in collaboration with CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton. The Q Brothers started their professional careers with their Off Broadway hit The Bomb-itty of Errors, adapting Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors into modern rhyme and beats. Along with other Bomb-itty collaborators, the twosome also wrote and starred in the cult-classic MTV hip-hop/sketch comedy TV show Scratch and Burn. GQ and JQ have committed themselves to translating the complete works of William Shakespeare into the hip-hop idiom. "Our goal is to put Shakespeare in the hands of everyone, from profs to pimps to punks to poets," they say. "If the hip-hop heads leave with a deeper appreciation of Shakespeare, and the Bardophiles find some love for rap, and everybody laughs, then our mission is complete."
Tickets for the London performances of Funk It Up About Nothin' beginning April 8, 2011, at Theatre Royal Stratford East are £12-£15 (£8 for school groups) and can be purchased by calling Theatre Royal's Box Office at (+44) 020 8534 0310. For more information about Funk It Up About Nothin', visit Chicago Shakespeare's website at www.chicagoshakes.com/funk.
International productions coming to Chicago for CST's World's Stage Series:
- From Belarus: Belarus Free Theatre's Being Harold Pinter February 17–21, 2011, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
- From Ireland: Druid Theatre Company's The Cripple of Inishmaan March 16–27, 2011, in CST's Courtyard Theater; and Give Me Your Hand March 20 and 27, 2011, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
- From Scotland: National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch March 29–April 10, 2011, at Chicago's Broadway Armory
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 leadership grant from the McCormick Foundation.
International programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is supported, in part, by the Julius Frankel Foundation.
The cast of Funk It Up About Nothin' is appearing with the permission of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.