Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces cast and creative team
All’s Well That Ends Well
directed by Shana Cooper
in the Courtyard Theater, April 22–May 29, 2022
Featuring Alejandra Escalante, Dante Jemmott, Ora Jones, Francis Guinan, Emma Ladji, Mark Bedard, Elizabeth Ledo, William Dick, Patrick Agada, Christiana Clark, Casey Hoekstra, Joseph Aaron Johnson, Jeff Kurysz, Pablo David Laucerica, and Tanya Thai McBride
Chicago—March 8, 2022—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the cast and creative team for the upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, staged by acclaimed director Shana Cooper. No challenge can match the power of a determined woman. In love with a young man who does not return her affection, the resourceful Helen will go to any length to turn her visions of romance into reality—only to discover that happy endings are never quite as simple as they seem in fairy tales. Shakespeare’s rarely seen dark comedy is brought to new life in the uniquely intimate setting of the Courtyard Theater, April 22–May 29, 2022.
“The beautiful thing about All’s Well That Ends Well is that it’s about these transitional moments in life—about growing up and growing older—in the midst of profound loss and major shifts in the world… and I think we’re all in that space,” shared director Cooper. “It’s ultimately a joyful ride through the intricacies of self-exploration and self-discovery.”
Director Shana Cooper is known for her visceral approach to both classical texts and new works, often infusing movement and music to complement the muscularity of language. A company member at the acclaimed Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Cooper has directed at leading companies, including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep, and Yale Repertory Theatre. She notably staged the world premiere of Terra Firma off-Broadway in 2019. Her work has most recently been seen in Court Theatre’s The Lady from the Sea.
Appearing as Helen is Alejandra Escalante, a veteran of seven seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In addition to credits at American Players Theatre and Guthrie Theater, Escalante has also notably appeared at Goodman Theatre as Isabella in Measure for Measure and in featured roles in 2666, The Upstairs Concierge, and Song for the Disappeared. Portraying Bertram, the young nobleman at the center of Helen’s affection, is Dante Jemmott—who recently made an acclaimed debut as Romeo in R+J at the Stratford Festival in 2021.
Esteemed performer Ora Jones is Bertram’s mother, the Countess of Rossillion. Jones has appeared on Broadway as Madame de Volanges in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Mrs. Phelps in Matilda the Musical, both on Broadway and in the first national tour. Her notable Chicago Shakespeare roles include Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII, Queen Charlotte in The Madness of George III, and Maria in Twelfth Night. Francis Guinan portrays the ailing King of France. An ensemble member since 1979, Guinan has appeared in more than 40 productions at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He made his Chicago Shakespeare debut in the world premiere of The Book of Joseph.
Emma Ladji is Helen’s accomplice, Diana. With multiple credits at Chicago Shakespeare, Writers Theatre, and Goodman Theatre, Ladji has also been an artist-in-residence at Links Hall and presented work at the New Now Festival in Amsterdam. Appearing as Parolles is Mark Bedard, who has performed off Broadway in Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in addition to seven seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jeff Award-winner Elizabeth Ledo plays Lavatch, the clown of the Countess’s court. An artistic associate of About Face Theatre and recipient of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, Ledo has memorably appeared at Chicago Shakespeare as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Phoebe in As You Like It, and Myrtle in The King’s Speech. William Dick is Lafeu. Highlights of Dick’s long theatrical career include Blind Date and Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, and 3) at the Goodman Theatre; We All Went Down to Amsterdam at Steppenwolf; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry VIII at Chicago Shakespeare.
The company also includes Patrick Agada (Second Lord), Christiana Clark (Widow Capilet / Duchess of Florence), Casey Hoekstra (First Lord), Joseph Aaron Johnson (Rinaldo / Soldier Lord), Jeff Kurysz (First Soldier / Soldier Lord), Pablo David Laucerica (King’s Attendant / Soldier Lord), and Tanya Thai McBride (Mariana).
Award-winning choreographer Stephanie Martinez is the production’s Movement Designer. In addition to being the founder and artistic director of contemporary dance company PARA.MAR, Martinez has devised original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispánico, and Luna Negra Dance Theater, among others. Joining Cooper and Martinez on the creative team are Scenic Designer Andrew Boyce, Costume Designer Raquel Barreto, Lighting Designer Adam Honoré, Sound/Composition by Paul James Prendergast, and Hair & Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie. The team also includes Magic Designer DENDY (who memorably appeared as Ariel in Aaron Posner and Teller’s production of The Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare in 2015), Verse Coach Gregory Linington, Assistant Director Mallory Metoxen, Assistant to the Movement Designer Noelle Kayser, Intimacy Director Sarah Scanlon, and Casting by Bob Mason. The stage management team features Katrina Herrmann as Stage Manager and Kate Ocker as Assistant Stage Manager. Katie Lupica and Manna-Symone Middlebrooks are Assistants to the Director.
Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for All’s Well That Ends Well include:
- Open-captioned Performances – Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.
- ASL Duo-interpreted Performance – Friday, May 20, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.
All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.
- Audio-described Performance – Sunday, May 22, 2022, at 2:00 p.m
A program that provides spoken narration of a play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.
More information on the production at www.chicagoshakes.com/allswell or on social media at #cstAllsWell.
All’s Well That End’s Well is presented April 22–May 29, 2022, in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater. Single tickets ($49–$90) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com. Chicago Shakespeare’s most up-to-date health protocols can be found at www.chicagoshakes.com/health.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a year-round season—featuring plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming, each year serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers, one in four audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, Chicago Shakespeare works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire.
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