Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents

Shakespeare’s fantastical odyssey


Directed by David H. Bell

Featuring Ben Carlson in the title role


Chicago—October 29, 2014Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces today the casting and creative team for William Shakespeare’s riveting odyssey Pericles, staged by CST veteran director David H. Bell and featuring Stratford Festival company member Ben Carlson in the title role. Wildly popular in Shakespeare’s time, this heroic saga transports audiences to exotic worlds filled with magic and adventure where anything—even a miracle—is possible. The first of Shakespeare’s romances, a thrilling new genre in 1607, Pericles features some of the playwright’s most eloquent and moving language, exploring redemption, the renewal of love and life itself. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Pericles November 30, 2014–January 18, 2015.

In Shakespeare's most fantastical tale, Pericles, the Prince of Tyre, solves the secret riddle of a tyrannical king and is forced to flee his own land for fear of his life. The hero embarks on an odyssey of unexpected proportions in search of his future. As he travels to parts unknown, he is confronted by villains, pirates, goddesses and kings. After years at sea, the tides of fate intervene and Pericles is “crown’d with joy at last” in a heartwarming reunion. The soaring poetry of Shakespeare’s words echoes the sweeping landscapes of this tempest-tossed journey.

Returning to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Ben Carlson takes on yet another title role as Pericles. CST audiences will recall Carlson’s stirring performances in the title roles of Hamlet (2006), for which he received a Jeff Award, and Macbeth (2009). Most recently on CST’s stage, he delighted as the hilarious Frank in David Ives’ The School for Lies. As company member of the renowned Stratford Festival in Canada, Carlson’s most noted performances include: Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Feste in Twelfth Night, Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Touchstone in As You Like It and Brutus in Julius Caesar. Previously, Carlson spent twelve seasons as a member of the repertory company at the Shaw Festival in Ontario.

A dynamic acting company brings Shakespeare’s epic romance to life, portraying the many characters Pericles meets throughout his voyage. Dion Johnstone (Helicanus) returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where he most recently appeared as Marc Antony in Julius Caesar in 2013. Johnstone’s credits include seven seasons with the Stratford Festival, including performances as Caliban in The Tempest, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Edmund in King Lear. Pericles marks the third CST production for Cristina Panfilio (Marina); her regional credits include work with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and American Players Theatre. Long-time Chicago Shakespeare veterans Kevin Gudahl (Simonides) and Ross Lehman (Cerimon/Pandar) boast over 50 CST productions between them, including this season’s most recent King Lear directed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. Sean Fortunato (Antiochus/Lysimachus) and Ora Jones (Lychordia/Bawd) return to CST in Pericles, along with Torrey Hanson (Cleon/Escanes) and Lia D. Mortensen (Dionyza). Lisa Berry (Thaisa/Diana) makes her Chicago Shakespeare debut in this production.

A multitalented ensemble plays a central role in populating the colorful and diverse worlds on Pericles’s journey, filling the stage with princesses and courtesans, knights and fisherman. The ensemble includes: Wesley Truman Daniel, Jed Feder, Brian Grey, Ryan Hallahan, Sharriese Y. Hamilton, Emma Ladji, Eliza Palasz, Eric Parks, Marvin Eduardo Quijada, Bri Sudia, Dan Toot, and Derrick Trumbly.

Pericles marks David H. Bell’s sixteenth Chicago Shakespeare production, continuing his long history with the Theater that began with The Comedy of Errors in 1998. Bell’s breadth of work at CST ranges from musicals—The Three Musketeers (2006) and Murder for Two (2011)—to thirteen productions of Shakespeare’s plays, including two Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tours. In addition to chairing the Music Theatre program at Northwestern University, Bell’s work as director, choreographer and writer in Chicago has earned him 11 Jeff Awards. His extensive national and international credits include productions on and off Broadway, at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, the Royal National Theatre, the Barcelona Olympics and theaters in Paris, Berlin, Zurich and Vienna.

Joining David H. Bell on the creative team, Scenic Designer Scott Davis and Costume Designer Nan Cibula-Jenkins craft a lush world for each of the stops along Pericles’s trek through the ancient world. Projections Designer Aaron Rhyne adds a sweeping visual landscape to complement the storytelling. Composer Henry Marsh creates an original score featuring dramatic percussive elements, under the music direction of Ethan Deppe. Pericles also includes lighting design by Jesse Klug and sound design by James Savage. CST’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal completes the creative team.

For a complete listing and bios of the company and creative team, visit

Pericles is presented November 30, 2014–January 18, 2015 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $48–$78 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


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theater Tony Award. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. Visit

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