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Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the cast and creative team for
The Heir Apparent
A hilarious retooling of a classic from David Ives
Staged by Tony Award®-winning director John Rando
Begins performances November 29, 2015
Chicago—October 15, 2015—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces the full cast and creative team for David Ives’ uproarious comedy The Heir Apparent, staged by award-winning director John Rando and featuring a stellar cast led by heralded actor, Paxton Whitehead as Geronte. Rhyming couplets and contemporary slang abound in Ives’ deliciously off-color tribute to Jean-François Regnard’s comic masterpiece, Le Légataire universel—bringing eighteenth-century bawdiness into the twenty-first. Just in time for the holiday season, The Heir Apparent will be presented in the Courtyard Theater November 29, 2015–January 17, 2016.
Young Eraste has it all—good looks, a beautiful fiancée and the prospect of a sizable inheritance from an elderly uncle. There’s just one snag: the uncle won’t die and he has bequeathed his entire fortune to someone else. Not to mention his uncle, Geronte, has his heart set on marrying Eraste’s fiancée, Isabelle. This clever comedy depicts Eraste’s tricky schemes to maintain both his inheritance and his lover.
David Ives is a lauded American playwright, screenwriter and novelist with a penchant for adapting classic texts for modern sensibilities. Audiences will recall Ives’ previous side-splitting adaptations onstage at Chicago Shakespeare— Georges Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear (2006) and The School for Lies (2013), adapted from Moliere’s The Misanthrope. Ives’ scandalous power play Venus in Fur garnered him a Tony nomination for Best Play in 2012—and was then adapted for film, co-written and directed by Roman Polanski. He is also well known for his evenings of one-act comedies All in the Timing and Time Flies.
The Heir Apparent is brought to the stage by acclaimed director and frequent Ives collaborator Director John Rando. Rando and Ives have worked together for nearly 20 years; most recently, Rando staged Ives’ newest collection of short plays, Lives of the Saints, off-Broadway. This past year, Rando’s Broadway production of the musical On the Town was honored with a Tony nomination for Best Direction. His direction of Urinetown the Musical garnered the Tony Award®, as well as the Outer Circle Critics Award and a nomination for the Drama Desk Award. Other Broadway credits include: A Christmas Story: The Musical, The Wedding Singer, A Thousand Clowns, Dance Of The Vampires and Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party.
“I feel that this piece is a treasure—a beautifully wrapped golden box of a play. I’m so eager to share this gift of the American theater with Chicago Shakespeare audiences,” said Rando. “The Heir Apparent is a play to hear and enjoy—to marvel at the wit, dexterity and music of the language.”
Acclaimed actor Paxton Whitehead makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut as the supposedly dying Geronte. The Tony Award®-nominated British actor has appeared in films including Back to School, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Kate and Leopold, as well as on television in West Wing, Fraiser and Friends. He has appeared in the Chicago area in The Invention of Love (Jeff Award nomination, Court Theatre) and Heartbreak House (Jeff Award nomination, Goodman Theatre). Whitehead also served as Artistic Director of Canada’s Shaw Festival from 1967 to 1977.
Nate Burger takes on the role of the dashing young title character, Eraste. The Heir Apparent is not Burger’s first experience with the witty wordplay of David Ives; he has previously performed in The Liar at Writer’s Theatre. Burger has appeared regularly throughout the region at theaters including the American Players Theatre, the Goodman Theatre and TimeLine Theatre. Emily Peterson makes her CST debut as the ever-so-lovely Isabelle. Peterson has a large repertoire of film work and can currently be seen in recurring roles on the USA Network comedy "Sirens" and on NBC's "Chicago PD." Chicago favorite Linda Kimbrough returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater for her 14th production as the motherly battleaxe, Madame Argante, after such notable roles as Queen Margaret in Richard III, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and as Madame Sganarelle opposite Brian Bedford in The Moliere Comedies.
Jessie Fisher and Cliff Saunders play the infatuated servants, Crispin and Lisette. Fisher joins the cast after her Broadway performance as Girl in Once, in addition to her Chicago appearances with About Face Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, TimeLine Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company. Acclaimed actor Saunders makes his Chicago Shakespeare debut after performing in Les Misérables on Broadway. Fresh off the Broadway production of You Can’t Take It With You and HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Patrick Kerr makes his CST debut as Scruple, Geronte’s diminutive lawyer.
Jeff Award-winning Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Lighting Designer Christine Binder will create the lavish estate that the title character hopes to inherit. David C. Woolard, a Tony Award®-nominated designer for his work in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Who’s Tommy on Broadway, returns to CST as Costume Designer; he previously designed costumes for the Q Brothers’ The Bomb-itty of Errors (2002). Richard Woodbury, a frequent Drama Desk Award nominee and resident Sound Designer at the Goodman Theatre, enriches the production as Sound Designer. Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Jeff Award-winning Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal completes the creative team.
Several Access Shakespeare performances will be offered for The Heir Apparent. The Open-captioned performance will be Friday, January 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. An ASL Duo-interpreted performance will be Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. An Audio-described performance will be Sunday, December 13, 2015, 2:00 p.m. with optional Touch Tour beginning at 12:00 p.m.
For a complete performance listing and more information about the production, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/heir.
The Heir Apparent will be performed in CST’s Courtyard Theater November 29, 2015–January 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now for $48–$88 (subject to change), as part of a subscription package beginning at $135. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
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.
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