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Chicago Shakespeare Theater
on Navy Pier
800 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces

2023/2024 SEASON

Director Tyrone Phillips reinvigorates Shakespeare’s cleverest comedy, TWELFTH NIGHT

New music-theater work based on Sufjan Stevens’ ILLINOIS,
by Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury

Award-winning actress and Paralympian Katy Sullivan is RICHARD III
in a new staging by director Edward Hall

Jason Alexander stars in the world premiere comedy JUDGMENT DAY,
directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

WorldStage Series welcomes spellbinding folk-inspired musical ISLANDER from Scotland

An immersive experience of puzzles and illusion from The New York Times’


A presentation in partnership with Destinos Latino Theater Festival to be announced

Short Shakespeare! for students returns with ROMEO AND JULIET,
adapted and directed by Mikael Burke

Plus, education programs and community initiatives in partnership at the Theater and across the city

Chicago—May 8, 2023Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces its 2023/2024 productions and programming, featuring bold interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays in conversation with visionary artists of today, world premiere productions, theater from across the globe through the WorldStage series, and much more. The Theater continues to offer education programming and partner with other organizations across the city to share powerful stories that connect and inspire.

Bold interpretations of Shakespeare’s stories

This fall, Shakespeare’s cleverest comedy is brought to vibrant life in director Tyrone Phillips’ interpretation of Twelfth NightOctober 25–November 26, 2023 in the Courtyard Theater. Phillips, a first generation Jamaican-American, reimagines Illyria in the Caribbean in an exuberant production that makes the play’s oft-quoted line, “If music be the food of love, play on,” ring truer than ever. Separated from her twin brother in a shipwreck and washed ashore in Illyria, the spirited Viola dresses as a man to work for charming Duke Orsino—and finds herself in the middle of a love triangle of hilarious mistaken identities. Filled with witty commentary on gender, class, and sexuality, this production brims with heart and revels in the intoxicating power of love. Phillips is the founding Artistic Director of Chicago’s Definition Theatre, where he most recently directed Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury. Named one of Newcity’s Players in 2022, he has worked extensively at Chicago Shakespeare, including as director of the filmed production I, Cinna (the poet), which went on to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2021; associate director for Hamlet and Red Velvet; dramaturg for Romeo and Juliet; and as a performer in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Charles III, and the 2018 Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production. His other credits include work at Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, The Old Globe, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Stage 42.

Theater, television, and film director Edward Hall returns to Chicago Shakespeare with a bold new take on Shakespeare’s infamous Richard III, February 2–March 3, 2024 in the Courtyard Theater. Featured in the title role is Katy Sullivan, an award-winning actress, Paralympic champion, and bilateral above-knee amputee. Sullivan originated the role of Ani with a groundbreaking, Tony Award-nominated performance in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Cost of Living, which debuted at the Williamstown Theater Festival before a Broadway run in 2022. She has been seen in Chicago in The Long Red Road at Goodman Theatre and Northlight’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. Former artistic director of London’s Hampstead Theatre and founder of the Propeller Shakespeare company, Hall memorably directed the acclaimed Rose Rage trilogy at Chicago Shakespeare and off-Broadway in 2004. His other credits include celebrated work at Theatre Royal Windsor, Old Vic, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, founded by his father Sir Peter Hall. Hall’s daring adaptation of this infamous tale of tyranny, power, and revenge features a brooding steampunk aesthetic and grapples with the play’s longstanding relationship to disability and ableism in theater and society. 

Chicago Shakespeare as a destination for new work

A celebrated incubator for new work development, Chicago Shakespeare has commissioned more than 30 world premieres that have gone on to productions on hundreds of stages around the world. Under the leadership of Creative Producer Rick Boynton, Chicago Shakespeare’s artistic team fosters a creative pipeline that nurtures and empowers theater makers in crafting new plays, musicals, and adaptations through readings, workshops, and direct support. In 2022, the Theater debuted world premiere musicals The Notebook and It Came From Outer Space. Chicago Shakespeare’s North American premiere of SIX opened on Broadway in the newly renamed Lena Horne Theatre, garnering the Tony Award for Best Original Score, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, and a Grammy Award nomination.

Next up, Chicago Shakespeare presents IllinoiseJanuary 12–28, 2024 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. This new music-theater work is based on Grammy and Academy Award nominee Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed concept album of the same name, known for its lush orchestrations and wildly inventive portrayal of the state’s people, landscapes, and history. Brilliantly imaginative artists unite to transform the album into a full-length theatrical performance, with a story by Tony Award winner Justin Peck (New York City Ballet, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. Featuring a cast of virtuosic dancers, singers, and musicians, this production leads audiences on a journey through the American heartland. Following a premiere presentation at the Fisher Center at Bard, Illinoise marks its official press opening at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier, the gateway to the state alongside Lake Michigan, before embarking on an international tour. Illinoise was originally commissioned, developed and produced by the Fisher Center at Bard, and is a co-commission of Chicago Shakespeare, Southbank Center, and TO Live.

In the spring, Tony and Emmy Award winner Jason Alexander makes his Chicago stage debut in a hilariously irreverent world premiere comedy, Judgment Daywritten by Rob Ulin and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, April 23–May 26, 2024 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. In order to avoid eternal damnation, a selfish, morally bankrupt lawyer seeks help from a Catholic priest who has issues of his own. Together they set out to solve timeless questions of Western philosophy—morality, faith, human nature—as they form an unlikely bond in this cheeky comedy. Best known for his role as George Costanza on the long-running TV series Seinfeld, Alexander began his career in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. Director von Stuelpnagel’s credits include the Broadway productions Present Laughter and Hand to God, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Director.

Theater from around the world onstage in Chicago

Chicago Shakespeare’s WorldStage Series is known for bringing the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago and Chicago Shakespeare to the world. To date, the WorldStage Series has featured more than 1,300 artists in 96 productions from 22 countries spanning six continents.

Later this year, the Theater presents Islander, a new musical from Scotland coming off a celebrated Off-Broadway run and touted by The Daily Beast as “gorgeous, sharp, moving, funny, and one of the best musicals in New York.” Winner of Best New Musical at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Islander weaves a modern myth featuring two actors who use live mixing and looping technology to create a sonic landscape as dramatic as the Scottish coastline. Conceived and directed by Amy Draper, with associate direction by Eve Nicol, a book by Stewart Melton, and music and lyrics by Finn AndersonIslander takes audiences on a magical journey to transcend loss, recover hope, and find community. BritishTheatre gives Islander five stars, calling it “A flawless gem. A modern folk tale that is hard not to fall in love with.” Islander runs November 29–December 17, 2023 in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare and is produced in association with Setasea LLC, Helen Milne Productions, Theatre Royal Plymouth, and Dundee Rep Theatre.

Other upcoming WorldStage programming includes a partnership with the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) in coordination with Destinos, Chicago’s International Latino Theater Festival, this fall. More details about this production, as well as another international project in September, will be announced soon.

Following wildly successful runs in New York City and Los Angeles, renowned magician and New York Times crossword constructor David Kwong brings The Enigmatist to Chicago Shakespeare. This immersive experience of puzzles and illusion was hailed as “truly dazzling” by BroadwayWorld, and the LA Times raves that Kwong “creates a magical sense of togetherness.” This interactive event is full of surprises and multi-layered illusions, and audiences will search for clues and try to crack the code themselves in the lobby before the show and throughout the performance. The Enigmatist will run May 29–June 30, 2024 in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare.

Arts-in-literacy programs engage students and teachers

Recognized as a national leader in the field, the Theater’s Team Shakespeare arts-in-literacy programs support the work in classrooms across the region for tens of thousands of students each year by bringing complex texts to life onstage and through a variety of professional learning opportunities for teachers. In Spring 2024, Chicago Shakespeare will welcome students to the Theater with Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet, an abridged production of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. Adapted and directed by Mikael Burke, the production will be presented for weekday student matinees as well as 11:00 a.m. matinees for the public on Saturdays, February 22–March 20, 2024 in the Courtyard Theater. This fall, the 7th annual Chicago Shakespeare Slam will again bring together hundreds of high school students and their teacher coaches from public, private, and parochial schools across the region to celebrate the power of language and their own voices. Chicago Shakespeare also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Bard Core program: a year-long professional learning seminar that introduces Chicago Public Schools English, Special Education, and ESL teachers to drama-based strategies for engaging students—including struggling and reluctant readers, and English language learners—with Shakespeare and other challenging texts. Educators can take advantage of professional development opportunities, free workshops, and digital classroom resources throughout the year.

Coming up next

Chicago Shakespeare has long fostered engagement beyond the Theater and across the city, through multiple programs. Rooted in collaboration with arts partners and community-based organizations, these year-round initiatives include co-created performance opportunities, resource-sharing workshops, and community-building events. A cornerstone of this programming now in its twelfth year, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks returns in collaboration with neighborhood arts partners for free pop-up performances in Chicago Park District parks across the city, directed by Tor Campbell. Parks performances will take place July–August 2023, with schedule and arts partners to be announced. Other upcoming community partnership events include a presentation of Little Carl from Theatre Y of North Lawndale, an original work of puppet theater developed in partnership with youth from Chicago’s West side, North Lawndale local Marvin Tate, puppetry artisan Michael Montenegro, and the Firehouse Community Arts Center, May 27–28, 2023 in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. This summer, A.B.L.E. (Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations), an ensemble that creates theatre and film for, with, and by individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, returns to Chicago Shakespeare. The ensemble presents an interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream adapted by Emma MacLean, updated to take place in our modern, social media-obsessed world; performances June 10–11, 2023, in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. More programming will be announced throughout the year.

Chicago Shakespeare will present the previously announced summer family musical, a 75-minute production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the Courtyard Theater, July 14–August 20, 2023. The production is directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, with music direction by Charlotte Rivard Hoster. With a book by Linda Woolverton, Academy Award-winning music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, this “tale as old as time” features beloved characters and dazzling production numbers, including “Be Our Guest.” Mak directed Chicago Shakespeare’s Peter Pan—A Musical Adventure in 2018 and has worked extensively at Paramount Theatre, Drury Lane, and Marriott Theatre, where she is currently helming Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.

Access Shakespeare

Chicago Shakespeare makes its facility and performances accessible through Access Shakespeare programming. Individuals with hearing or visual impairments can attend performances with ASL duo-interpretation, open captioning in both English and Spanish, audio description, and touch tours, and utilize tools such as assistive-listening devices and large-print and Braille programs. Dates for Access Shakespeare services to be announced, with tickets available at pay-what-you-can rates to ensure cost does not prohibit participation.

For information on purchasing tickets, visit or call the Box Office at 312.595.5600. A variety of flexible season ticket packages are on sale now, offering savings over single tickets, and guaranteeing seats at every production. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.

About Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, the Theater works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Upcoming Productions (as of press time)

Theatre Y’s

Little Carl

working from an original script by Michael Montenegro
developed in partnership with Theatre Y’s Youth Ensemble, Marvin Tate, Michael Montenegro, Haman Cross III, & Melissa Lorraine
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare 
May 27–28, 2023 


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

adapted by Emma MacLean
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare 
June 10–11, 2023 


Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 

music by Alan Menken 
lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice 
book by Linda Woolverton 
directed and choreographed by Amber Mak 
Courtyard Theater 
July 14–August 20, 2023 


Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

Inspired by the plays of William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Tor Campbell
co-created and performed with community arts partners in Little Village, Austin, Hermosa, West Pullman, Englewood, and Chinatown
Free pop-up performances in neighborhood parks
July–August 2023

presented in partnership with

Destinos – Chicago International Latino Theater Festival

October 2023


Twelfth Night 

by William Shakespeare 
directed by Tyrone Phillips
Courtyard Theater 
October 25–November 26, 2023 



A WorldStage production from Scotland
conceived and directed by Amy Draper
associate direction by Eve Nicol
book by Stewart Melton
music and lyrics by Finn Anderson
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
November 29–December 17, 2023 


Chicago Shakespeare SLAM

in high schools across the region and onstage
at Chicago Shakespeare
December 2023



music & lyrics by Sufjan Stevens  
based on the album Illinois 
story by Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury 
directed and choreographed by Justin Peck  
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
January 12–28, 2024 


Richard III

by William Shakespeare
directed by Edward Hall
starring Katy Sullivan
Courtyard Theater 
February 2–March 3, 2024


Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Mikael Burke
Courtyard Theater 
February 22–March 20, 2024


Judgment Day

by Rob Ulin
directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare 
April 23–May 26, 2024


The Enigmatist

written and performed by David Kwong
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare 
May 29–June 30, 2024


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