Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces
limited return engagement of celebrated British film and stage actor
A CST World's Stage presentation at the Broadway Playhouse
April 18–29, 2012
Chicago—January 11, 2012—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today the return of celebrated British film and stage actor Simon Callow to Chicago for CST's 25th Anniversary engagement of his acclaimed Being Shakespeare—a virtuosic solo performance that weaves together excerpts from William Shakespeare's plays and poems, breathing new life into his unforgettable characters and the real man behind the legend. Presented as part of CST's World's Stage, this uniquely multidimensional portrait of the Bard follows Callow's major international success The Mystery of Charles Dickens (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Broadway and London's West End) in addition to memorable film roles including Shakespeare in Love, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Postcards from the Edge, A Room with a View and Amadeus. Written by Jonathan Bate (preeminent Shakespeare biographer and editor of the RSC's Shakespeare: The Complete Works) and directed by Tom Cairns, Being Shakespeare is presented by CST at the Broadway Playhouse (175 E. Chestnut Street) April 18–29, 2012, with a special performance on Shakespeare's birthday, Monday, April 23, 2012. Tickets are $45–$75, and CST subscribers will have access to an exclusive presale before tickets go on sale to the general public beginning February 15, 2012, at www.chicagoshakes.com.
Named the #1 Critic's Choice in The Times of London and heralded as a "genuine tour de force" in the Daily Mail, Being Shakespeare took the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by storm and subsequently played to great acclaim throughout its UK tour and West End engagement. The Daily Express lauded Callow's performance as a "singular triumph," with The Guardian's four-star review raving, "We've had some fine one-man shows about Shakespeare from John Gielgud, Ian McKellen and Michael Pennington. But Simon Callow's is among the very best... a memorably multidimensional picture of Shakespeare, steeped in scholarship and love."
Celebrated British star of stage and screen, director, writer, and scholar, Simon Callow is one of the UK's artistic treasures. In addition to Being Shakespeare and The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Callow received critical acclaim for his performance as Sir Toby Belch in the National Theatre's sold-out production of Twelfth Night, directed by Sir Peter Hall, and starred alongside Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot (London's West End). Callow's television credits include Rome, Charles Dickens in an episode of Doctor Who and Tom Chance in the series Chance in a Million. He is the author of the bestselling Being an Actor, as well as biographies of Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton and Orson Wells. His autobiography, My Life in Pieces, won the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography.
Chicago Shakespeare's presentation of Being Shakespeare at the Broadway Playhouse is emblematic of the wide scope of work presented through the Theater's World's Stage initiative—which brings the world's most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences in addition to presenting Chicago Shakespeare's work abroad. Since the inception of the World's Stage in 2000, Chicago Shakespeare Theater has imported international productions ranging from pedestrian-based live art events (Australia's one step at a time like this) to grand aerial and water spectacles (France's Compagnie Transe Express and Ilotopie), and hosted iconic theaters such as Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (London), The Abbey Theatre (Dublin), the Chekhov International Theatre Festival (Moscow) and La Comédie-Française (Paris). Additional World's Stage productions slated for 2012 include CST's presentation of the National Theatre of Scotland's music-driven Long Gone Lonesome at The Hideout (February 2–4, 2012) and the CST-commissioned world premiere Othello: The Remix—a "hip-hoptation" of Shakespeare's Othello presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre as part of the 37-play "Globe to Globe" festival for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this season, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare's genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare's work has been recognized internationally with three of London's prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 62 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare; unlocking Shakespeare's work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago's cultural ambassador through its World's Stage Series.
Significant projects include: Barbara Gaines' two-part epic Henry IV at the Royal Shakespeare Company;
Chicago Shakespeare's Olivier Award-winning production of Sondheim and Weidman's Pacific Overtures at London's Donmar Warehouse, directed by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin; Edward Hall's tour de force, Rose Rage, in Chicago and New York; a commissioned adaptation of Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear by
David Ives; a commissioned "hip-hoptation" of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Funk It Up About Nothin', which garnered acclaim in Chicago, New York and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, toured Australia and made its London debut at Theatre Royal Stratford East; and participation in the inaugural campaign of the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities initiative.
At its permanent, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier, CST houses two intimate theater spaces: the 500-seat Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the 200-seat Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 500 performances, CST leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors and attracts 200,000 audience members annually—including nearly 16,000 subscribers and 40,000 students and teachers.
Being Shakespeare is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group, Act Productions, and Robert Bartner and Norman Tulchin.