Season Announcement

The 2018/19 Season is filled to the brim with adventurous interpretations of Shakespeare; Chicago premieres of work launched by the National Theatre of Great Britain and Shakespeare’s Globe; a world premiere musical adaptation of an iconic Disney film; daring international imports from Belgium, France and Ireland; our hip-hop holiday classic; and a summer of family productions on Navy Pier and in Chicago’s parks. Chicago Tribune hails “it is far and away the most extensive, internationalist and far-ranging of any Chicago theater.”



Flexible Season Ticket Series


Nell Gwynn



CST’s Courtyard Theater
September 20–November 4, 2018

by Jessica Swale | directed by Christopher Luscombe

London 1660, free of Puritan austerity and reveling once more in its theater, where a new style has taken hold, and women now act alongside men. When The King’s Company at Drury Lane casts Nell Gwynn, an orange seller with a quick wit and beauty to match, as its first leading lady, she captures the hearts of her audience—and King Charles II. Winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, this rollicking romance premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe before a successful run on the West End. Christopher Luscombe, who staged the debut London production, returns to direct the North American premiere of this radiant, song-and-dance-filled tale.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream


CST’s Courtyard Theater
December 6, 2018–January 27, 2019

by William Shakespeare | directed by Joe Dowling

In celebration of twenty years of Shakespeare on Navy Pier, the Theater welcomes back Joe Dowling, acclaimed former artistic director of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre and the Guthrie, for a fresh reimagining of Shakespeare’s most popular romantic comedy after his lauded 1999 production. In just one night, four magical stories are woven together into a vibrant tapestry. Enter a wonderland where fairies fly overhead, a donkey bursts into song, and love potions change hearts in moments. Featuring an eclectic musical score, mischief meets merriment in a theatrical experience that is not to be missed!


An Inspector Calls

WᴏʀʟᴅSᴛᴀɢᴇ FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM | The National Theatre of Great Britain’s Landmark production of JB Priestley’s classic thriller

An Inspector Calls

The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
February 19–March 10, 2019

by JB Priestly | directed by Stephen Daldry

The National Theatre of Great Britain brings to Chicago JB Priestley’s classic thriller, hailed by the British press as the theatrical event of its generation. When an inspector arrives unexpectedly at the prosperous Birling home, their peaceful dinner party is shattered by his investigation into the death of a young woman—and startling revelations shake the foundations of their lives. Staged by Stephen Daldry, whose genre-spanning career includes the hit Netflix series The Crown and Oscar-nominated pictures like The Reader, The Hours, and Billy Elliot, this landmark production won multiple Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Critics Circle, and Evening Standard awards, thrilling more than 4 million people worldwide.




CST’s Courtyard Theater
April 17–June 9, 2019

by William Shakespeare | directed by Barbara Gaines

For the first time in more than twenty years, Artistic Director Barbara Gaines revisits one of the great masterworks of Western literature. A leading interpreter of Shakespeare—known internationally for her populist and dynamic interpretations—Gaines has staged more than fifty productions at Chicago Shakespeare, garnering the prestigious Honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production and for Best Director. This essential Shakespeare escapes the boundaries of a simple revenge story to explore the question of what it means to be human.


Bedknobs and Broomsticks


Bedknobs and Broomsticks

The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
May 30–July 28, 2019

original music & lyrics by
Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
book by Brian Hill
new songs & additional music & lyrics by Neil Bartram
based on the Walt Disney film

The iconic Walt Disney film, based on the stories by British novelist Mary Norton and featuring music by Oscar and Grammy Award-winning brothers Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, comes alive onstage as a musical. At the outset of World War II, three children evacuated from the London Blitz arrive in a seaside village on the doorstep of Miss Eglantine Price, a patriotic witch-in-training and inexperienced broom flyer. Through their fantastical misadventures, they discover that their strength—and their own true magic—lie in one another, paving the way to save their town and all of England. The world premiere production will be directed and choreographed by multiple Jeff Award-winner Rachel Rockwell.



Big in Belgium

Chicago Shakespeare, with Richard Jordan Productions and David Bauwens, has curated a bold new series: Big in Belgium–Chicago. Representing the next wave of boundary-pushing Flemish theater, three pioneering theatrical events remove the barriers of the “fourth wall” and fuel dynamic engagement between artist and audience:





Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
September 12–22, 2018

directed & performed by Valentijn Dhaenens

He who picks his words well can turn the weakest argument into the strongest. Absolute truth does not exist. Language is a pretty lie for those desiring power—or the hand of their beloved. A tour-de-force solo performance by Valentijn Dhaenens pays tribute to the 2,500-year history of oration. A sold-out hit of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this 90-minute piece ingeniously weaves together fragments of seminal speeches from the Grand Inquisitor and Socrates to Muhammad Ali and Osama bin Laden, revealing that the tricks of rhetoric have hardly changed since the dawn of language. Equipped with five microphones, a bare set, his voice, and indefatigable energy, Dhaenens traverses sermons, declarations of war, farewells, final arguments, victory speeches, and eulogies from across time.


Fight Night

BIG IN BELGIUM | Ontroerend Goed


Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
October 23–November 4, 2018

written by Alexander Devriendt, Angelo Tijssens, and the Cast
directed by Alexander Devriendt

Five rounds. Five contenders. You decide who survives. This 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit from Belgium’s extraordinary Ontroerend Goed employs high-octane performance and hand-held voting technology to put the power into your hands. You'll be armed with voting keypads while the candidates battle to get your attention, sympathy, and approval. How fast do you judge or condemn people? Based on what? In a society where beauty prevails and even the world of politics is not safe from the cult of celebrity, director Alexander Devriendt has created a clever political game, treading a fine line between democracy and the tyranny of the majority.





Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
January 22–February 3, 2019

written & directed by Carly Wijs

In September 2004, a group of Chechen separatists stormed a school in Beslan, Russia, taking hundreds of children hostage. The ensuing siege lasted three days and left many dead. A brutalizing, relentlessly grim night at the theater? Not quite. Us/Them explores the uniquely individual way that children cope with traumatic situations, telling the story entirely through the clear, young eyes of a girl and a boy who were on the inside. Their innocence in the face of adult atrocity, and the intertwining of tragedy and comedy, is frequently heart-breaking and wholly original. In its sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it won The Scotsman Fringe First Award, Us/Them was given five stars by The Guardian and hailed as “startling, remarkable, playful as well as moving.”


L'après midi d'un foehn



The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
January 23–27, 2019

created by Phia Ménard
co-presented with Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival

Celebrated by The Guardian as “a brilliant metaphor of art and the imagination,” France’s Compagnie Non Nova takes what would otherwise be considered an ordinary object—a simple plastic shopping bag—and transforms it into an “improbably perfect interpretation of Debussy's pastoral score.” Drawing from the traditions of puppetry, juggling, mime, and dance, airy plastic figures take flight as a performer manipulates them with precise, complex choreography, creating an intoxicating visual ballet. The New York Times lauds, “prepare to be blown away.”


Two Pints


Two Pints

CST’s The Pub
March 6–31, 2019

by Roddy Doyle | directed by Caitríona McLaughlin

For the first time ever, Chicago Shakespeare’s intimate gathering spot, The Pub, transforms into an immersive performance venue. Booker Prize-winning Irish novelist Roddy Doyle invites audiences to pull up a chair and eavesdrop as two blokes share a pint and a chat, in a piece that began as a conversation on Facebook. Over the course of a few rounds, their innocuous banter evolves into a wide-reaching and deeply revealing dialogue on life, loss, and vegetarianism. Hailed as “achingly, breathtakingly funny” by The Sunday Independent and “brilliant” by The Irish Times, Two Pints premiered in a tour of dozens of local pubs dotting the Irish countryside in 2017, and now travels abroad.


Short Shakespeare!


Short Shakespeare! Macbeth

Short Shakespeare! Macbeth

CST’s Courtyard Theater
February 16–March 16, 2019

by William Shakespeare | adapted & directed by Marti Lyons

Something wicked this way comes: driven by the desire for power, Macbeth struggles with his conscience and chooses a tragic path. This 75-minute abridged production of the classic tragedy is a perfect introduction to Shakespeare. Adapted and directed by Marti Lyons—who is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after directors in American theater—it will be performed for more than 30,000 students during weekday Team Shakespeare matinees, with public performances on Saturdays, making Shakespeare accessible for audiences of all ages. After the performance, the actors remain on stage for a question-and-answer session, and then join the audience in the Lobby for informal conversations and photos.


Summer 2018


Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure


CST’s Courtyard Theater
June 27–August 19, 2018

music by George Stiles
lyrics by Anthony Drewe
in a new version by Elliot Davis based on the book by Willis Hall
adapted from the play by J.M. Barrie with permission from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
directed & choreographed by Amber Mak

Sail away on a high-flying journey with Peter, Wendy, John, and Michael to the enchanted world of Neverland—but beware of Captain Hook and ticking crocodiles! Based on J.M. Barrie's beloved tale about the boy who wouldn’t grow up and his band of Lost Boys, this heartwarming musical dazzles with a captivating score by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe—the award-winning songwriting duo behind Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s smash hit Mary Poppins. The perfect introduction to live theater for young audiences!


Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks


touring to neighborhood parks
July 25–August 26, 2018


Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing, and BMO Harris Bank partner to bring Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks to neighborhood parks across Chicago, FREE FOR ALL. 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’s classic with families and neighbors. Tour details will be announced later this spring.


Holidays 2018


Q Brothers Christmas Carol


The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
November 20–December 30, 2018

written by Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, Pos)
developed with Rick Boynton
directed by GQ and JQ

Throw your hands up, Chicago—the holiday treat set to a bangin’ beat is back! CST and Chicago hip-hop sensation the Q Brothers Collective turn up the volume on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, mixing everything from reggae, dancehall, and dubstep to epic rock ballads. Brighten your festivities with some cheeky spirit and a whole lot of heart—complete with visits from a Jamaican Jacob Marley and that youngest of Cratchits, Lil’ Tim. The Q Brothers are joined by a live DJ as the ghosts of Hip-hop Past, Present, and Future lead Scrooge on a journey of rhythm, rhyme, and redemption.




Video: 2018/19 Season Announcement




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