Citywide Summer Tradition Is Nation’s Largest Urban Shakespeare Tour
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits
26 Performances in 18 Neighborhood Parks
FREE FOR ALL · July 17–August 16, 2015
Chicago—May 18, 2015—Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Boeing partner to present the annual city-wide summer tradition, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. This summer, 26 performances of Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits travel to 18 neighborhood parks across Chicago, FREE FOR ALL, July 17–August 16, 2015. Shakespeare’s memorable characters come to life in a unique and surprising mash-up of scenes from his most celebrated plays.From Hamilton Park and Garfield Park Conservatory to Washington Park and Gage Park, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is the single largest professional urban tour of a Shakespearean production, activating communities and giving Chicagoans direct access to their City’s cultural treasures.
In its fourth year, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks inaugurates cultural programming in a newly created Chicago Park District park—Steelworkers Park, a former industrial site now reclaimed as public green space in the Calumet region. The transformation of this 10th Ward site has been hailed by environmentalist, community groups and urban planners alike.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared, “Chicago prides itself on offering residents and visitors growing access to the arts and culture, and the incredibly popular Night Out in the Parks program brings hundreds of events each year to neighborhoods all across the city. Through performances like Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, we are able to showcase the best Chicago has to offer while providing people of all ages with accessible, world-class cultural opportunities.”
“Bringing Shakespeare to neighborhood parks highlights arts and culture in communities across the city,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly. “Shakespeare has survived the test of time, remaining relevant and meaningful to a variety of audiences. Having such an amazing caliber of talent in our parks is what Night Out in the Parks is all about.”
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 BMO Harris Bank. Leading support is also provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program, more than 50,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities.
“Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has become a local symbol of increasing access to and participation in the arts, said Tony Parasida, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for The Boeing Company. “This unique partnership among city agencies, community-based organizations, local artists and neighborhood residents is an example of how arts initiatives can engage communities and broaden their perspectives.”
The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, made possible by production sponsor BMO Harris Bank, kicks off at Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier on Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. Parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include: Sunday, July 19 at 4:00 p.m. at Steelworkers Park, Tuesday, July 21–Tuley Park; Wednesday, July 22 & Thursday, July 23–Humboldt Park; Friday, July 24 & Saturday, July 25–Loyola Park; Sunday, July 26–Columbus Park; Tuesday, July 28–Gage Park; Wednesday, July 29–Piotrowski Park; Thursday, July 30–Hamilton Park; Friday, July 31 & Saturday, August 1–Frank J. Wilson Park; Sunday, August 2–Garfield Park Conservatory; Wednesday, August 5 & Thursday, August 6–Dvorak Park; Friday, August 7 & Saturday, August 8–Welles Park; Sunday, August 9–Riis Park; Tuesday, August 11–Marquette Park; Wednesday, August 12 & Thursday, August 13–Ridge Park; Friday, August 14 & Saturday, August 15–Eckhart Park; Sunday, August 16–Washington 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 will begin August 2 at 3:00 p.m.).
Mark Furlong, CEO of BMO Harris Bank said, “BMO Harris Bank is proud to sponsor this summer’s production of Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, a perfect celebration of some of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes and characters. With a shared commitment to ensuring that great theater is accessible to everyone, we look forward to partnering with Chicago Shakespeare to bring their high-energy, original mash-up of Shakespeare and pop culture into neighborhoods across the city.”
On each stop of the tour, a specially equipped truck rolls into the park, a stage unfolds and a company of professional actors shares the delight of Shakespeare with families and neighbors of all ages. Jeff Award-winning director Dominic Missimi has re-imagined some the Bard’s most celebrated scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, As You Like It and more into a lively medley of Shakespeare’s thrilling stories. The multi-talented ensemble cast that will bring Shakespeare’s works to life features Jasmine Bracey, Lillian Castillo, Patrick Clear, Ronald Conner, Kyle Curry, Angela Ingersoll, Emma Ladji, Colin Morgan, Steve O’Connell, Sean Parris and Bri Sudia.
Partnering with the Chicago Park District, CST is again offering ASL-interpreted performances at six of the seventeen 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 (CI/CT) and Will Lee (NIC).
ASL Duo-interpreted Performances of Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits
Sunday, August 2, at 3:00 pm Garfield Park Conservatory (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
Saturday, August 8 at 6:30 pm Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
Sunday, August 9 at 4:00pm Riis Park (6100 W. Fullerton Ave.)
Wednesday, August 12 at 6:30pm Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
Friday, August 14 at 6:30pm Eckhart Park (1330 W. Chicago Ave.)
Sunday, August 16 at 4:00pm Washington Park (5531 S. Russell Dr.)
For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) believes that Shakespeare speaks to everyone. A global theatrical force, CST is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. CST has evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at their home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. Chicago Shakespeare serves as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 17,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city of their Chicago home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured their own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The Theater’s tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theater Tony Award®, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and seventy-seven total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national Shakespeare Steward Award for innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. Among its many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
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