Chicago Shakespeare Theater launches 25th Anniversary Season
with Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's
Directed by Gary Griffin
Featuring a 40-member company including
Caroline O'Connor, Robert Petkoff and Susan Moniz
with Hollis Resnik, Mike Nussbaum, Nancy Voigts, Marilynn Bogetich,
Kathy Taylor, Linda Stephens, Dennis Kelly and Ami Silvestre
Now playing a limited engagement through
November 6, 2011
Chicago—October 12, 2011—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) launches its 25th Anniversary Season with a production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies, now playing through November 6, 2011, and featuring a company of more than 40 actors and musicians that includes Olivier Award nominees Brent Barrett as Benjamin Stone and Caroline O’Connor as Phyllis Rogers Stone, with Robert Petkoff as Buddy Plummer and Susan Moniz as Sally Durant Plummer. Performing the role of Carlotta Campion is Chicago musical theater favorite Hollis Resnik. CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin (Broadway’s The Color Purple) continues the Theater’s decade-long exploration of the Sondheim canon following his Laurence Olivier Award-winning CST production of Pacific Overtures at London’s Donmar Warehouse and CST productions of A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George and Passion.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s limited engagement of Follies runs now through November 6, 2011, in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $55–$75 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in 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/follies.
Broadway regular Brent Barrett starred in the London premiere of the Tony Award-winning revival of Kiss Me, Kate (Olivier Award nomination) and has also performed the roles of Billy Flynn in Chicago (LA Drama Critics Award) and Baron Felix Von Gaigern in Grand Hotel. Caroline O'Connor, who recently completed a critically acclaimed turn as Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, was Olivier Award-nominated for both her starring role in Mack & Mabel in London's West End and her one-woman play Bombshells (Fringe First Award, Edinburgh Festival Fringe). O'Connor made her Broadway debut as Velma Kelly in Chicago and her film work includes the featured role of Nini Legs In The Air in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! Robert Petkoff returns to Chicago Shakespeare after an award-winning turn as George in Gary Griffin's production of Sunday in the Park with George, and has also played the title roles in CST productions of Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida. His Broadway credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Spamalot and Ragtime, and he appeared in The Royal Family in London's West End under the direction of Sir Peter Hall. Chicago musical theater actor Susan Moniz, who last appeared at CST in The Merchant of Venice, performed on Broadway as both Sandy and Rizzo in Grease, and has also performed the iconic roles of Maria in West Side Story and Julie Jordan in Carousel.
Both the grandeur of Follies' setting and the intimacy of its story are uniquely revealed within Chicago Shakespeare's 500-seat Courtyard Theater. In this dynamic space, a thrust stage brings audience members into the heart of James Goldman's narrative of relationships, while the splendor of show business is brought to dazzling life with a 29-member company of actors joined onstage by a 12-piece orchestra performing Stephen Sondheim's original score. On the eve of a crumbling theater's demolition, members of the legendary “Weismann Follies” company reunite to relive their moments in the spotlight, and two couples—Ben and Phyllis, Buddy and Sally—struggle to reconcile the ghostly illusions of their pasts with the painful realities of the present. Follies' 1971 premiere garnered seven Tony Awards, including Best Score, and engendered the classic standards “I'm Still Here,” “Losing My Mind” and “Broadway Baby.”
Performing “I’m Still Here” in the role of Carlotta Campion is eight-time Jeff Award winner and Chicago musical theater favorite Hollis Resnik, who recently garnered a Helen Hayes Award for her turn in Candide and has appeared in the national tours of Les Miserables, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Chicago Shakespeare veteran actor Mike Nussbaum, performing the role of Dmitri Weismann, appeared in the original productions of David Mamet’s American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross (Chicago and on Broadway). Additional actors returning to CST for Griffin’s production are Nancy Voigts as Stella Deems, Marilynn Bogetich, as Hattie Walker and Kathy Taylor as Solange LaFitte. Chicago husband and wife duo Dennis Kelly and Ami Silvestre perform the roles of Theodore and Emily Whitman. Making her CST debut as Heidi Schiller is Linda Stephens. The cast for Follies also includes Adrian Aguilar as Young Ben, Bill Chamberlain as Roscoe, Rachel Cantor as Young Phyllis, L.R. Davidson as Young Sally, David Elliott as Max Deems, Andrew Keltz as Young Buddy, Amanda Kroiss as Young Solange, Christina Myers as Young Stella, Kari Sorenson as Young Heidi, Amanda Tanguay as Young Carlotta, showgirls Jen Donohoo and Jenny Guse, and ensemble members Devin Archer, Julius C. Carter, Rhett Guter, Nate Lewellyn and Tanner Smale.
CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin is a prolific director of acclaimed productions, including the Tony Award-nominated The Color Purple and The Apple Tree. Griffin's celebrated Chicago Shakespeare production of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures was subsequently mounted at the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End, where it garnered three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production. Off Broadway, Griffin directed the world premiere musical Saved (Playwrights Horizons), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Encores!), Beautiful Thing (Cherry Lane Theatre) and Lost in the Stars (Encores!), among others. At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, Griffin staged critically acclaimed productions of West Side Story, Evita and Camelot, and will return to direct the Festival's 2012 production of 42nd Street. Griffin also directed The Merry Widow and last season's The Mikado at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Griffin’s creative team for Follies includes Choreographer Alex Sanchez and Musical Director Brad Haak. The production’s live 12-person orchestra is conducted by Associate Musical Director Valerie Maze, who also plays piano. The creative team for Follies is rounded out by Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet, Costume Designer Virgil C. Johnson, Lighting Designer Christine Binder, Sound Designers Joshua Horvath and Ray Nardelli, Wig and Makeup Designer Melissa Veal and Properties Master Chelsea Meyers.
Follies features a live 12-person orchestra conducted by Associate Musical Director Valerie Maze, who also plays piano. Griffin's creative team for Follies includes Music Director Brad Haak, Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet, Costume Designer Virgil Johnson, Lighting Designer Christine Binder, Choreographer Alex Sanchez, Sound Designers Joshua Horvath and Ray Nardelli, Wig and Makeup Designer Melissa Veal and Properties Master Chelsea Meyers.
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 55 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 "ad-rap-tation" 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 600 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.