Largest citywide event of Shakespeare 400 Chicago

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

Twelfth Night

25 Performances in 19 Neighborhood Parks, July 14–August 14, 2016


Chicago—May 24, 2016—In the midst of the world’s largest yearlong celebration of Shakespeare's legacy, which brings 850 events to more than 500,000 Chicagoans and visitors throughout 2016, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Boeing partner to present the annual citywide summer tradition, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. In its fifth anniversary year, the FREE FOR ALL tour is the largest citywide event of the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival. Made possible by production sponsor BMO Harris, 25 performances of Shakespeare’s delightful romantic comedy Twelfth Night tour to 19 neighborhood parks across the City, July 14–August 14, 2016. Adapted and directed by Kirsten Kelly, this jubilant, music-infused production features some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful poetry and riotously comedic characters—in a 75-minute theatrical event for audiences of all ages.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared, “Shakespeare 400 Chicago has made our city a global destination for cultural tourism in 2016. This summer, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks engages our neighborhoods in the festival, ensuring that all Chicagoans have the opportunity to take part in this extraordinary year. The tour's expansion to 19 parks—spanning the City’s north, south, and west sides—allows us to share this free program with more families across Chicago. It’s exactly the kind of free cultural activity that brings to life our 'City in a Garden’ for residents and visitors alike."

“We are thrilled to mark the fifth year of our partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, bringing free Shakespeare to our beautiful neighborhood parks,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly. “The ripple effect of this program has activated arts and culture in communities across the city. Through our partnership and Night Out in the Parks, we will continue to bring world-class performances to new audiences, not only in the summer but throughout the year.”

As part of Chicago Park District’s summer-long Night Out in the Parks initiative, the 2016 Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of Twelfth Night kicks off at the east end of Navy Pier on Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. Parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include: Sunday, July 17 at Steelworkers Park; Tuesday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 20 at Ridge Park; Thursday, July 21 at Tuley Park; Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 at Loyola Park; Sunday, July 24 at Garfield Park Conservatory; Wednesday, July 27 at Gage Park; Thursday, July 28 at Kelvyn Park; Friday, July 29 at Washington Park; Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 at Frank J. Wilson Park; Wednesday, August 3 at Marquette Park; Thursday, August 4 at Piotrowski Park; Friday, August 5 at Dvorak Park; Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7 at Welles Park; Tuesday, August 9 at Columbus Park; Wednesday, August 10 at Hamilton Park; Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12 at Humboldt Park; Saturday, August 13 at Eckhart Park; and Sunday, August 14 at Ping Tom Memorial Park. Performances Tuesday through Saturday begin at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday performances begin at 4:00 p.m. (The Garfield Park Conservatory performance on July 24 will begin at 3:00 p.m.).

The citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and production sponsor BMO Harris Bank. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program five years ago, more than 80,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities.

“Boeing marks its 100-year anniversary this July and we’re thrilled to celebrate this summer with Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks,” said Stephanie Pope, Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis of The Boeing Company. “What better way to start our second century than with a growing tradition for the city of Chicago and one that we hope will surely be longstanding. A forward-thinking partnership among city agencies, community-based organizations, local artists and neighborhood residents, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is an example of how arts initiatives can engage communities and broaden their perspective.”

David R. Casper, CEO of BMO Harris Bank said, ““BMO Harris Bank is proud to sponsor this summer’s production of Twelfth Night, a captivating, music-filled comedy that’s sure to be the perfect summertime entertainment for audiences of all ages. With a shared commitment to ensuring that great theater is accessible to everyone, we look forward to partnering with Chicago Shakespeare Theater to bring this original adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most enduring works into neighborhoods across the city.”

Staged by director and award-winning documentary filmmaker Kirsten Kelly, Twelfth Night tells the tale of a young girl named Viola, who is separated from her twin brother Sebastian in a shipwreck. Resilient, she adopts a male disguise and enters into the service of Duke Orsino—only to find herself in the middle of a triangle of unrequited love. Misunderstandings and mistaken identities abound in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. Music is incorporated throughout the production through the diverse sounds of piano, guitar, ukulele, cajon and banjolele—giving vibrant life to the play’s memorable line, “if music be the food of love, play on.”

The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Twelfth Night company features Ronald Conner (Sir Toby Belch), Dominic Conti (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Donovan Diaz (Fabian), Lydia Berger Gray (Maria), Juan Villa (Antonio/Captain), Nik Kmiecik (Curio/Priest), Garrett Lutz (Valentine), Will Mobley (Feste), Neal Moeller (Orsino), Andrea San Miguel (Viola), Nate Santana (Sebastian) and Jonathan Weir (Malvolio). The award-winning creative team includes Scenic Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Rachel Healy, Sound Design and Composition by Ethan Deppe, Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal and Fight Choreographer Matt Hawkins.

Partnering with the Chicago Park District, CST is again offering ASL-interpreted performances at six of the nineteen Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour stops—two in each of the South, West and North Park District regions. Sign-interpreting the performances are Elizabeth Bartlow Breslin and Will Lee. For the first time this year, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will also offer an Audio-described performance for audience members who are blind or have low vision, in which a describer provides a description of visual elements of the production transmitted through headphones.

Access Shakespeare Performances for Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks 2016

ASL Duo-interpreted Performances

  • Saturday, July 23, 6:30 p.m. – Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
  • Wednesday, July 27, 6:30 p.m. – Gage Park (2411 W. 55th St.)
  • Friday, July 29, 6:30 p.m. – Washington Park (5531 S. Russell Dr.)
  • Sunday, August 7, 4:00 p.m. – Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
  • Friday, August 12, 6:30 p.m. – Humboldt Park (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.)

Audio-described and ASL Duo-interpreted Performance

  • Sunday, August 14, 4:00 p.m. – Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.)

For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre 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. During 2016, CST has spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

Shakespeare 400 Chicago is a yearlong international arts festival in 2016 celebrating the vibrancy, relevance and reach of Shakespeare. As the world commemorates the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Shakespeare 400 Chicago engages more than 500,000 Chicagoans and visitors to the City through 850 events. Spearheaded by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and with leading support from the Julius Frankel Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, this quadricentennial celebration is anticipated to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive celebration of Shakespeare’s enduring legacy.

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