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Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the cast and creative team of

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

March 9–April 16, 2023

Barbara Gaines celebrates a legacy of joyful collaboration in her final production as artistic director

Chicago—January 19, 2023—In her final production as Chicago Shakespeare Theater artistic director, Barbara Gaines stages Shakespeare’s riotous The Comedy of Errors, imprinting her legacy of inventive and captivating interpretations of the Bard’s work for today’s audiences. The production features original framing scenes penned by Second City veteran Ron West and showcases an ensemble cast of beloved Chicago Shakespeare collaborators whose combined credits span the Theater’s 37-year history—from the first production on the rooftop of the Red Lion Pub to last fall’s searing Measure for Measure. The Comedy of Errors runs March 9–April 16, 2023, in the Courtyard Theater.

An eccentric group of stage and screen actors gather on a London movie set in 1940 to film Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors as much-needed comic relief for the troops. Backstage antics and hilarious complications abound as Antipholus and Dromio search for their long-lost identical twins. In over three decades with Chicago Shakespeare, Gaines has directed scores of productions, including nearly all of Shakespeare’s 38 plays and six world premieres. She now revisits Shakespeare’s high-spirited comedy with longtime collaborator Ron West, newly adapted from the Theater’s 2008 production.

“This project is a love letter to theater making—that ineffable process of an ensemble coming together to create something wholly new and magical,” said Gaines. “That’s true in our framing of Shakespeare’s comedy on a film set, but it’s also reflected in our incredible company, a group of esteemed artists that I so admire and who embody the collaboration that has infused my time in the theater with joy and love.”

Each cast member performs both a role on the London movie set and a character in The Comedy of Errors. The cast includes: Breon Arzell (David/Angelo), Adia Bell (Fanny/Merchant), Melanie Brezill (Alice Boggs/Luciana), Lillian Castillo (Marian/Courtesan), Dan Chameroy (Phil Sullivan/Antipholus of Ephesus), William Dick (Charles Chittick/Second Merchant), Kevin Gudahl (Brian Hallifax/Dromio of Ephesus), Ora Jones (Doris/Aemilia/Abbess), Bill Larkin (Eddie Philpot/Dr. Pinch), Ross Lehman (Dudley Marsh/Dromio of Syracuse), Michael E. Martin (Tom/First Officer), Steve McDonagh (Cyril/Nell), Russell Mernagh (Patch/Balthasar), Susan Moniz (Veronica Marsh/Adriana), Robert Petkoff (Emerson Furbelow/Antipholus of Syracuse), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Priscilla/First Merchant), Greg Vinkler (Admiral Philpot/Egeon), and Bruce A. Young (Monty/Duke Solinus). Understudies include Isabella Abel-Suarez, Michael Joseph Mitchell, Ian Reed, and Jonathan Schwart.

As long-separated twins the Dromios, Jeff Award-winners Ross Lehman and Kevin Gudahl boast over 75 Chicago Shakespeare credits combined. Lehman’s notable roles include Feste in Twelfth Night and the Fool in King Lear, and he appeared on Broadway in The Tempest, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Gudahl was recently seen on the Chicago Shakespeare stage in Measure for Measure and As You Like It; other memorable credits include Hal in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Fredrik in A Little Night Music, and title roles in Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Troilus and Cressida. The play’s other set of twins, both named Antipholus, will be played by Dan Chameroy—who has performed in 15 seasons at the Stratford Festival and as Miss Trunchbull in the US national tour of Matilda the Musical—and Robert Petkoff, whose Chicago Shakespeare credits include Buddy in Follies, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and title roles in Sunday In the Park with George, Hamlet, and Troilus and Cressida. Petkoff appeared in Broadway’s Anything Goes and Ragtime and the US tours of Fun Home and Spamalot.

Jeff Award-winner Susan Moniz was last seen on the Chicago Shakespeare stage in an acclaimed performance as Sally in Follies and has played feature roles in US tours of Fun Home and The Phantom of the Opera, and on Broadway in Grease. In addition to appearing in last season’s hit As You Like It, Melanie Brezill’s credits include work at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Writers Theatre, along with the Broadway production and US Tour of The Book of Mormon. In addition to appearing on Broadway in Matilda the Musical and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Ora Jones has been on the Chicago Shakespeare stage numerous times in roles such as Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII, Queen Charlotte in The Madness of George III, and Maria in Twelfth Night, and most recently as the Countess of Rossillion in last season’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Lillian Castillo, recently seen in Drury Lane’s Steel Magnolias, appeared in Gaines’ The Taming of the Shrew and the US premiere of Ride the Cyclone at Chicago Shakespeare.

Bruce A. Young memorably spoke the first line of Chicago Shakespeare’s inaugural production of Henry V at the Red Lion Pub. He has returned to Chicago Shakespeare many times and performed on Broadway in Macbeth. Greg Vinkler has performed in dozens of Chicago Shakespeare productions, including as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Falstaff in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and titular roles in King John and King Lear. William Dick’s Chicago Shakespeare credits include last year’s All’s Well That Ends Well, The Wizard of Oz, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and many more; he recently performed in the Jeff Award-winning ensemble of Choir Boy at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Bill Larkin is a comedian and actor who has performed with the Second City and played Genie in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of Aladdin. Russell Mernagh appeared in Chicago Shakespeare’s Ride the Cyclone and was last seen in Broadway in Chicago’s The Play That Goes Wrong. An actor and choreographer, Breon Arzell was recently listed as one of Newcity’s 50 Players of 2023—he has worked with theaters across the city and performed with Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks in 2021. Adia Bell performed in last summer’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks ShakesFest and her additional credits include work at Paramount Theatre and Music Theater Works. Both an actor and a Jeff Award-winning fight choreographer, Maya Vinice Prentiss has worked with Chicago Shakespeare in both capacities, most recently on Measure for Measure. Rounding out the cast are Steve McDonagh—a celebrated Food Network chef and actor with credits at the Kennedy Center, Royal George Theatre, and Drury Lane—and Michael E. Martin, who has appeared at Paramount Theatre and in the Jeff Award-winning ensemble of United Flight 232 at the House Theatre of Chicago.

Ron West has created new dialogue for the production to frame Shakespeare’s play. West’s illustrious career includes writing for shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? and serving as writer and associate artistic director at The Second City. West collaborated with Gaines on an earlier adaptation of The Comedy of Errors, which garnered Jeff Awards for Best Production and Best Adaptation, as well as The Taming of the Shrew in 2017. West also wrote The Second City’s Romeo and Juliet Musical: The People vs. Friar Laurence, The Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, which had a wildly popular run at Chicago Shakespeare.

Joining Gaines on the creative team are Scenic Designer James Noone, Costume Designer Mieka van der Ploeg, Lighting Designer Ken Posner, Composer & Sound Designer Lindsay Jones, Hair & Make Up Designer Richard Jarvie, Verse Coach Larry Yando, Music Director Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, Associate Director Peter G. Andersen, Intimacy Director Gregory Geffrard, Fight Choreographer Bruce A. Young, Dialect Coach Kathy Logelin, Dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Assistant Intimacy Director Courtney Abbott, Production Stage Manager Katrina Herrmann, and Assistant Stage Manager Elisabeth Schapmann.

Chicago Shakespeare makes its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for The Comedy of Errors include:

  • Audio-described Performance – Sunday, April 2, 2023 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.
  • Open-captioned Performance – Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 1:00 & 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, April 14, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
    All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.

For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/comedy or on social media at @chicagoshakes at #cstComedy.

The Comedy of Errors will be presented March 9–April 16, 2023, in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater. Single tickets ($35–$92) 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.

ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, the Theater 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. www.chicagoshakes.com.

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