A virtual event held on April 23, 2021, supporting Chicago Shakespeare’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy and community engagement programs.
Return to the previous video ▶
To mark Shakespeare’s birthday, this special evening of performance—broadcast from the Theater’s rooftop—celebrates the power of the arts to inspire, heal, and unite us.
An immortal line from a poet 400 years ago beckons us still today: “To be, or not to be.” Our city has greatly suffered—but its spirit remains unshakeable. Through song, poetry, dance, and spoken word, this virtual celebration urges us all... to be. To be bold. To be daring. To be a force for positive change.
A CONVERSATION WITH COMMON
The globally renowned rapper, actor, and Chicago community advocate joins Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Event Co-Chair Binta Niambi Brown for a lively city-side chat.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCES FROM CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER’S ROOFTOP
Susan Moniz and Joriah Kwamé
Jovan Landry, Ariana Burks, Lucy Godínez, Alexa Xioufaridou Moster, Juwon Tyrel Perry, Brandon Pisano, Sawyer Smith, plus Briana Arthur and Taylor Ramos of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and Kimi Hayes, Charles Heath, Dan Peters, Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, Chuck Webb, and Tahirah Whittington
SPECIAL MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson performs “Words” from the new musical adaptation of The Notebook, making its upcoming debut at Chicago Shakespeare.
ADDITIONAL APPEARANCES BY
Jose "iasEL" Gonzalez, Izaiah Harris, and Move Me Soul Dance Company
Binta Niambi Brown
Linda K. Myers
Jane DiRenzo Pigott
Sheli Z. Rosenberg
Spirit of Shakespeare Award for Distinguished Leadership
Sponsorships of TO BE 4/23 fuel the Theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy and community engagement programs. Each year, these initiatives connect Chicago Shakespeare with over 600 neighborhood partners across the North, West, and South Sides of the city, and support the work of teachers, bringing Shakespeare to life for tens of thousands of students.