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Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s
Exploration of the Sondheim Canon Continues
Gary Griffin directs musical exploring the ambitious pursuit of the American Dream.
Chicago—March 19, 2014—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) presents Road Show, the second production in an unprecedented pairing with Gypsy, now playing in the Courtyard Theater, that will illuminate the work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Road Show and the critically acclaimed production Gypsy are both directed by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin. Road Show takes audiences on an unexpected musical adventure as two brothers strive for fame and fortune through “get-rich-quick” schemes. With Sondheim’s characteristic depth and musicality of language, Road Show and Gypsy explore the ambitious pursuit of the American Dream during the defining period in our nation’s history between the two world wars. Road Show is being presented in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare now through May 4, 2014.
Road Show, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman, is based on the true story of the colorful and charismatic Mizner brothers—the ambitious Addison Mizner, performed by Michael Aaron Lindner, and his squandering younger brother Wilson Mizner, performed by Andrew Rothenberg. Wheeling and dealing their way across North America, the brothers travel from the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom, all while reinventing themselves, separating and reuniting.
The cast of Road Show also features: Robert Lenzi (Hollis Bessemer), Anne Gunn (Mama Mizner) and Larry Adams (Papa Mizner). The ensemble includes McKinley Carter, Matt Deitchman, Jim DeSelm, Derek Hasenstab, Regina Leslie, Jake Mahler, and Bri Sudia. The creative team includes Music Director Michael Mahler, Scenic Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld, Lighting Designer Greg Hofmann, Sound Designer Ray Nardelli and Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal.
Road Show was conceived by the same Sondheim-Weidman writing partnership behind Pacific Overtures (2001), the first Sondheim musical at CST directed by Griffin, which began the Theater’s exploration of Sondheim’s work more than a decade ago. That production went on to win the Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production and Best Director and transferred to the Donmar Warehouse in London where it was recognized with three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Production of a Musical.Since that first, storied production, Griffin’s interpretations of Sondheim at CST have included Sunday in the Park with George (2012, 2002), Follies (2011), Passion (2007) and A Little Night Music (2003).
The stories behind Gypsy and Road Show first captivated Sondheim’s interest at the same time early in his career, although audiences have only recently come to know his newest musical Road Show. Gypsy, for which he wrote the lyrics, received its Broadway premierein 1959; whereas most of the music and lyrics he wrote for Road Show initially appeared under different titles in 1999 (Wise Guys) and 2003 (Bounce). Sondheim’s lasting fascination with the themes and time period present in both works has intrigued Griffin, and suggests that the pairing could allow the musicals to inform one another and shed new light on each piece.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Road Show runs now through May 4 in the theater Upstairs. Gypsy runs through March 23 in CST’s Courtyard Theater at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets start at $48 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets or a season subscription, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
- CST is committed to providing free and varied enrichment programming in conjunction with every production through Open Door programs, introducing patrons to the rich world of ideas embodied on its stages. Interactions with scholars, theater artists and CST’s professional staff in Pre·Ambles, Cast Calls and Post-Show Discussions offer audience members the opportunity to dig deeper into great plays and the art-making behind them.
- CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs, including ASL Duo-interpreted for audience members with hearing impairments, and Audio-described performances and touch tours for patrons with visual impairments.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
A global theatrical force, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. CST has evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at their home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. Chicago Shakespeare serves as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 17,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city of their Chicago home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured their own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The Theater’s tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theater Tony Award®, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and seventy-seven total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national Shakespeare Steward Award for innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. Among its many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad.