Unexpected Parallels: The Book of Joseph
A world premiere production by award-winning playwright Karen Hartman chronicles three generations of the real-life Hollander family in a sweeping story that spans World War II Poland to present-day America. It offers surprisingly timely themes despite the source material being decades old. As the Chicago Sun-Times put it, “The play…draws from Joseph Hollander’s own experiences as an immigrant (what could be more topical today?) thanks to court transcripts unearthed by his son in government archives. The documents are a record of an extremely skeptical judicial system hostile to people fleeing Europe.” Directed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and developed with Chicago Shakespeare Creative Producer Rick Boynton, The Book of Joseph is Chicago Shakespeare's latest commitment to telling not only well-known stories, but new ones as well. It debuted in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare on January 29 and runs through March 5.
Access in Action
In an effort to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons, Chicago Shakespeare developed the “Access Shakespeare” program, featuring touch tours, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, open captioning and audio description. Watch Elizabeth Bartlow Breslin and Robert Schleifer describe in ASL the productions that will feature Access Shakespeare performances throughout the 2016/17 Season. Since its debut on Chicago Shakespeare’s Facebook page, this video has been viewed nearly 8,000 times, and received many comments—including one in ASL.
Connecting Old and New
Construction is rapidly progressing on Chicago Shakespeare’s third performance space, The Yard, set to open in fall 2017. Steel is in place to fully enclose the space with an energy-efficient, all-glass curtain wall, connecting The Yard’s lobby to the current Courtyard Theater lobby. This new pathway for audience members will create an extension of the Theater's public space, providing new areas to meet and grab a drink with friends before and after performances, alongside unmatched views of Chicago’s skyline and lake. Follow along with the rapid build of The Yard online, where exciting updates on this transformative space are posted regularly.
"Star-crossed lovers" Travel to Schools
Beginning February 25, Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet will thrill student and family audiences at Chicago Shakespeare’s home on Navy Pier. Next, it sets out on a five-week tour to urban, suburban and rural schools across the Midwest. The Short Shakespeare! tour, comprised of a cast of thirteen, a tour manager and crew of seven, expands the impact of the Theater’s education program by bringing professional productions directly into schools as a dynamic complement to classroom study. Each year, over 40,000 students and 2,000 teachers are engaged through Chicago Shakespeare’s arts-in-education programming.
The Yearlong Celebration Concludes
Shakespeare 400 Chicago is now complete after a year of citywide celebration. Over 1.1 million people took part in 863 events, presented by 60 partner organizations in 231 locations across the north, west, and south sides of the city. Performers from twelve countries visited Chicago to present Shakespeare’s work in eleven languages, traveling 116,112 miles—almost six times the circumference of the globe—to perform their interpretations and reimaginations of the playwright's work. The impact of Shakespeare 400 Chicago was unique not only as a celebration of Shakespeare, but for the City of Chicago, demonstrating to the world the spirit of innovation and creation present in Chicago's cultural institutions.