Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces initial line-up
World Premiere musical THE NOTEBOOK from Ingrid Michaelson and Bekah Brunstetter
Henry Godinez stages Shakespeare’s searing MEASURE FOR MEASURE set in 1959 Cuba
WUTHERING HEIGHTS fantastically reimagined by groundbreaking theater-maker Emma Rice
In final production as artistic director, Barbara Gaines revisits signature interpretation of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
FOLIO 400: SHAKESPEARE UN/BOUND celebrates 400th Anniversary of publication of Shakespeare’s complete works
Chicago—April 22, 2022—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces today the initial line-up for the 2022/2023 Season, which includes a highly anticipated world premiere musical, striking new adaptations of literary classics, and Barbara Gaines directing her final production in her role as artistic director, thirty-six years after founding the company. Sharing powerful stories that connect and inspire, the featured plays, musicals, new work, and presentations from around the globe are defined by bold theatricality and a distinctive depth of language and feeling. In 2023 the Theater will spearhead a celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, Folio 400: Shakespeare Un/Bound—a series of events and programs exploring the historic first printed collection of the playwright’s work and the creative possibilities it has unleashed “for all time.” Additional productions and programming—including a fifth major title in 2023—to be announced in the coming months.
“There's nothing like the energy of live theater, and there's no better place to experience it than Chicago Shakespeare Theater,” shared Barbara Gaines. “In my final season as artistic director, we couldn't be more excited to share this thrilling line-up of productions with audiences. The very heart and soul of this season is filled with boundless passion, wonder, hilarity, and romance—reflecting the very spectrum of our own human experience in this singular moment in history.”
Chicago Shakespeare launches the season with the highly anticipated world premiere of The Notebook, September 6–October 16, 2022, in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Based on the bestselling novel that inspired the hugely popular film, the new musical features music and lyrics by singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson with a book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter. Known for her distinctively soulful folk-pop style, Michaelson is a force in the music industry with four Top 20 albums and two Platinum singles: “The Way I Am” and “Girls Chase Boys.” Brunstetter is a supervising producer and writer on NBC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series This Is Us, as well as an accomplished playwright whose work has played at theaters across the country, including Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, Atlantic Theater Company, and The Old Globe. Broadway powerhouses Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, Grey Gardens, RENT) and Schele Williams (Aida, Motown the Musical) team up to direct this deeply moving portrait of the enduring power of love. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook chronicles the decades-long love story between a mill worker named Noah and a privileged debutante named Allie. Beginning with a whirlwind summer romance, their love affair spans an entire lifetime, despite of the differences that threaten to pull them apart. Tickets ($45–$125) are on sale now at chicagoshakes.com/notebook.
In the fall, Shakespeare’s searing Measure for Measure is brought to the stage by celebrated director Henry Godinez, October 21-November 27, 2022, in the Courtyard Theater. A Havana native, Godinez sets the story in the turbulence of 1959 Cuba in the pivotal moments before Fidel Castro seizes power. “Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall” in this fiery new examination of political corruption and social injustice. Godinez is a co-founder of Teatro Vista and a resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre, where he most recently directed Fannie starring E. Faye Butler, American Mariachi in co-production with Dallas Theater Center, and the world premiere of Feathers and Teeth. In 2013 he forged a partnership with Teatro Buendia of Cuba to co-produce Pedro Páramo as part of the Latino Theatre Festival, and appeared in the title role. Godinez returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where he first appeared thirty-three years ago in Barbara Gaines’ Cymbeline in 1989, and went on to perform in ten productions—as well as to direct the Theater’s Spanish-language Romeo y Julieta.
Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights is fantastically reimagined by groundbreaking theater-maker Emma Rice, January 26-February 19, 2023 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. The wild moors of Yorkshire are the setting for an epic story of love, revenge, and redemption in this critically acclaimed co-production from the National Theatre, Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre. An orphaned Heathcliff is adopted by the Earnshaws and taken to live at Wuthering Heights—where he finds a kindred spirit in Catherine and, as they grow up together, a fierce love ignites between them. When forced apart, a brutal chain of events is unleashed. This intoxicating revenge tragedy is tipped on its head with Rice’s signature theatricality, music, and dance. The Guardian calls it “bold and ingenious.” The Daily Mail gives it five stars, raving that the production is “a wildly imaginative, exhilarating piece of theatre.” After a years-long hiatus of in-person WorldStage at Chicago Shakespeare productions due to international travel restrictions, Chicago Shakespeare is thrilled to once more welcome the world’s great theater companies to Chicago.
Hailed as a leading director of Shakespeare and known for her distinctly populist approach, Barbara Gaines revisits her signature interpretation of The Comedy of Errors in her final production at Chicago Shakespeare as artistic director, March 10-April 16, 2023, in the Courtyard Theater. With newly rewritten scenes from Second City veteran Ron West, Gaines’ production sets Shakespeare’s riotous comedy as a play-within-a-play, in which an eccentric group of stage and screen actors gather on a London movie set in 1940 to film the play as much-needed comic relief for the troops. Backstage antics and hilarious complications abound as Antipholus and Dromio search for their identical twins, lost since infancy. Over three decades with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Gaines has directed sixty productions, including nearly all of Shakespeare’s thirty-eight plays and six world premieres—and now imprints her legacy with this joyful comedy.
An additional production for 2023 is to be announced at a later date. The previously announced production of The Tempest will no longer appear in Fall 2022 as originally scheduled.
Throughout 2023, Chicago Shakespeare will mark the 400th Anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio with a series of events and programs for Folio 400: Shakespeare Un/Bound. Published in 1623 by members of Shakespeare’s acting company after his death, the First Folio is the first printed collection of the playwright’s work, and notably includes the earliest known record of eighteen plays—including As You Like It, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest—which otherwise might well have been lost to history. Only 235 copies of the First Folio are known to survive—one in the holdings at Chicago’s Newberry Library. Unlocking Shakespeare’s text using the clues in the First Folio has been at the core of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’ approach to directing, and the method upon which the Theater’s reputation for clarity of language emerged. In 2016, the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival engaged 1.1 million attendees in 863 events that spanned theater, dance, film, opera, and even the culinary arts. Once again, Chicago Shakespeare leads the way in bringing world-class artists and institutions together at a cultural crossroad around Shakespeare’s legacy. Folio 400 will feature programs, discussions, and theatrical events exploring the context of the plays within the playwright’s life and times, and how they have endured four hundred years to be—as Ben Jonson said in the frontpiece of the First Folio—“not of an age, but for all time,” continuing to spark creativity and conversation.
This summer, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will again bring together artistic partners from all disciplines to create and perform a community reimagining of Shakespeare’s work, touring free performances to Chicago Park District Parks across the city in July 2022. Since its establishment in 2012, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has been fueled by the transformative power of neighborhood-based collaborations, reaching more than 175,000 Chicagoans citywide. Building on a network of partnerships that have been forged through the past decade, this annual summer tradition continues to expand the program's impact by infusing collaboration in every step of the creative process. Tour schedule and community arts partners to be announced at a later date.
Chicago Shakespeare’s Team Shakespeare education program is among the most comprehensive and highly respected in the country. Team Shakespeare brings Shakespeare’s work to life in the school curriculum—through performance, professional learning for educators, comprehensive teaching resources, and opportunities for students to perform Shakespeare. Key initiatives include Bard Core, a year-long professional learning seminar that introduces Chicago Public Schools English, Special Education, and ESL teachers to drama-based strategies for engaging students—including struggling and reluctant readers, and English language learners—with Shakespeare and other challenging texts. In the annual Chicago Shakespeare Slam, hundreds of high school students and their teacher coaches from public, private, and parochial schools across the region come together to celebrate the power of Shakespeare and their own voices.
Chicago Shakespeare makes its facility and performances accessible through Access Shakespeare programming, which offers services designed for individuals with mobility, hearing, or visual impairments for all productions, including the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour. In addition to offering assistive-listening devices as well as large-print and Braille programs, the Theater schedules performances with ASL duo-interpretation, open captioning, audio description, and touch tours. Tickets to Access Shakespeare performances are provided at pay-what-you-can rates to ensure that cost does not prohibit participation.
For information on purchasing tickets, visit www.chicagoshakes.com or call the Box Office at 312.595.5600. A variety of flexible season ticket packages are on sale now, offering savings over single tickets, and guaranteeing seats at every production. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Upcoming Productions
(as of press time)
SHAKESPEARE’S RARELY SEEN DARK COMEDY
All’s Well That Ends Well
by William Shakespeare | directed by Shana Cooper
in the Courtyard Theater
April 22–May 29, 2022
WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL EVENT
It Came from Outer Space
Based on the Universal Pictures film | book and music by Joe Kinosian | book and lyrics by Kellen Blair | directed by Laura Braza
in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
June 22–July 24, 2022
FREE COMMUNITY REIMAGINING
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
created in collaboration with community arts partners
on tour to neighborhood parks across Chicago
WORLD PREMIERE NEW MUSICAL
music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson | book by Bekah Brunstetter | based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks | directed by Michael Greif and Schele Williams
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
September 6–October 16, 2022
SEARING SHAKESPEARE SET IN CUBA
Measure for Measure
by William Shakespeare | directed by Henry Godinez
in the Courtyard Theater
October 21–November 27, 2022
STUDENTS IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAKESPEARE
Chicago Shakespeare SLAM
in high schools across the region and onstage at Chicago Shakespeare
WORLDSTAGE RETURNS TO CHICAGO
A co-production with the National Theatre, Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre
based on the novel by Emily Brontë | adapted & directed by Emma Rice
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
January 26–February 19, 2023
CELEBRATING 400 YEARS OF THE FIRST FOLIO
Folio 400: Shakespeare Un/Bound
series of special programs and events
GAINES’ FINAL PRODUCTION AS ARTISTIC DIRCTOR
The Comedy of Errors
by William Shakespeare | adapted & directed by Barbara Gaines | Studio scenes by Ron West
in the Courtyard Theater
March 10–April 16, 2023
ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION IN 2023
To Be Announced
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a year-round season—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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