Here’s the press release from Chicago Shakespeare Theater:
Chicago Shakespeare Theater Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Ian McDiarmid Stars in Barbara Gaines’ Staging of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens
Gary Griffin Directs Sondheim and Goldman’s Follies
Artists from Arabic-speaking World in US Premiere of One Thousand and One Nights
Silver Jubilee Gala Launches Celebration June 6, 2011
Honoring Sir Peter Hall, Sir Derek Jacobi, John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe
Chicago—March 22, 2011—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson announced today CST’s 25th Anniversary Season, marking a quarter-century of world-class performance and broad-based educational and family programming. Among the highlights of the season, Ian McDiarmid performs the title role in Shakespeare’s rarely produced Timon of Athens under Gaines’ direction; Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin continues CST’s decade-long exploration of the Sondheim canon with Follies, featuring an ensemble of 40 actors and musicians; and the Theater’s World’s Stage Serieswelcomes a company of artists from across the Arabic-speaking world for the US premiere of One Thousand and One Nights, dramatized and directed by Tim Supple.
“On our 25th Anniversary, we celebrate all that Shakespeare’s spirit has enabled us to become, and look ahead with great anticipation,” says Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. “At our singular home on Navy Pier, audiences can share in extraordinary productions that tell stories reflective of the diverse cultures across Chicago; be introduced to leading international artists; and witness dynamic programs that engage young people in the power of theater and language.”
CST launches its 25th Anniversary celebration on June 6, 2011, with the Silver Jubilee Gala at its home on Navy Pier. Chicago Shakespeare Theater inaugurates the “Spirit of Shakespeare Awards” at the Silver Jubilee Gala, honoring those who keep the spirit of Shakespeare alive through artistic and community service. This year’s recipients are Artistic Honorees Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Sir Derek Jacobi, internationally renowned stage and film actor; and Civic Honorees John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe, committed leaders in civic, education and cultural activities.
Kicking off its season in June, CST brings artists from across the Arabic-speaking world to Chicago for its spectacular World’s Stage presentation of Dash Arts’ production of One Thousand and One Nights. Dramatized and directed by Tim Supple—who returns to CST’s World’s Stage following his enchanting Indian A Midsummer Night’s Dream—this stunning retelling of One Thousand and One Nights is a two-part epic theatrical event, currently rehearsing in Morocco for its US premiere at Chicago Shakespeare. Supple’s creative vision is realized and performed by a truly international company of actors, musicians and designers—from the North African countries of Algeria and Morocco to Egypt and across the Mediterranean to Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2011/12 Subscription Series includes Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’ production of Shakespeare’s rarely produced Timon of Athens, featuring Tony Award winner and internationally celebrated actor Ian McDiarmid, whose credits range from numerous performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway, to a turn as Senator and Evil Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films. Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin continues a decade-long exploration of the Sondheim canon at CST with an extravagant production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies. This valentine to a bygone era of the American musical theater follows Griffin’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning CST production of Pacific Overtures at London’s Donmar Warehouse and CST productions of Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music and Passion. The 2011/12 Subscription Season also includes Griffin’s staging of CST’s first full-length production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in over a decade; Gaines’ production of Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex, a contemporary play imagining Queen Elizabeth’s visit with Shakespeare’s acting troupe the night before her rumored lover’s execution; and a special CST collaboration with Chicago’s Redmoon, The Tempest…, in which the text of Shakespeare’s play of revenge and redemption collides with extraordinary puppets, original music and hypnotic animations.
CST shares its Anniversary Season with National Louis University, which celebrates its 125th Anniversary, and Golden Apple, encouraging forward-thinking in educational policy and reform by hosting Chicago in These Times—a season-long series of public discussions exploring the current crossroads of politics, culture, leadership and education. Panelists for the series, which begins at Chicago Shakespeare on April 25, 2011, include: William Ayers, educator and author; Miguel del Valle, Chicago city clerk; Josh Anderson, executive director of Teach for America in Chicago;Harold Levy, former Chancellor of New York City’s public schools; and Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Family and educational programs highlighting Chicago Shakespeare’s Anniversary Season begin this summer with The Adventures of Pinocchio, a CST-commissioned family musical by Neil Bartram(music/lyrics) and Brian Hill (book), who garnered four Drama Desk Award nominations for their Broadway premiere of The Story of My Life in 2009. The season also offers families a CST collaboration with The Chicago Chamber Musicians—celebrating their own 25th Anniversary—with the co-commissioned concert Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare. Introducing Shakespeare to audiences of all ages, Chicago Shakespeare presents its annual Short Shakespeare! production, a 75-minute abridged production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew presented to student groups and family audiences at CST before embarking on a Midwest school tour as part of the Theater’s commitment to reach nearly 50,000 students annually. CST also partners with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to promote literacy and access to Shakespeare with the Sheldon and Bobbi Zabel Bard Core Program, a professional development seminar for CPS teachers, and CPS Shakespeare!—which brings together a citywide cast of CPS high school teachers and students to stage an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
Subscriptions to Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 25th Anniversary Season start at $126. Three, four and five-play packages are available, and 2011/12 Subscribers receive priority access to CST’s World’s Stage presentation of One Thousand and One Nights. For more information, visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com or call the CST Box Office at 312.595.5600.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2011/12 Season
Dash Arts’ Production
One Thousand and One Nights
June 25–July 3, 2011 | World’s Stage Series
Dramatized and directed by Tim Supple | Stories adapted by Hanan al-Shaykh
Commissioned by Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity
Bringing the world’s greatest folk stories to dazzling life, this erotic, stunning retelling of One Thousand and One Nights is a two-part epic theatrical event. Shahrazad’s breathtaking, never-ending tales are realized and performed in this US premiere by a truly international company of actors, musicians and designers from across the Arabic-speaking world—from the North African countries of Algeria and Morocco to Egypt and across the Mediterranean to Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Marking Tim Supple’s return to CST’s World’s Stage following his enchanting Indian A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the production is presented with projected English translation.
The Adventures of Pinocchio
July 13–August 28, 2011 | CST Family Series
Music and lyrics by Neil Bartram | Book by Brian Hill | Directed by Rachel Rockwell
A world premiere CST commission based on Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of a wooden puppet who yearns to be a real boy, The Adventures of Pinocchio is a puppet-filled family musical that will turn CST’s Courtyard Theater stage into a larger-than-life, European-style marionette theater. Creators Neil Bartram and Brian Hill garnered four Drama Desk Award nominations for The Story of My Life, which premiered on Broadway in 2009, and have collaborated on a number of other musicals, including Somewhere in the World, The Nightingale and the Rose and Not Wanted on the Voyage. Rachel Rockwell returns to direct after staging the CST-commissioned world premiere musical The Emperor’s New Clothes last summer.
October 4–November 6, 2011 | Subscription Series
Book by James Goldman | Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | Directed by Gary Griffin
Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin continues a decade-long exploration of the Sondheim canon at CST with this valentine to a bygone era of the American musical theater, performed by an ensemble of 40 actors and musicians. On the eve of a crumbling theater’s demolition, the legendary “Weismann Follies” company reunites to relive their moments in the spotlight. The production’s Broadway premiere garnered seven Tony Awards, including Best Score, and gave birth to the classic standards “Broadway Baby,” “I’m Still Here” and “Losing My Mind.”
CPS Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew
October 28 and 29, 2011
By William Shakespeare | Adapted and directed by Kirsten Kelly
A citywide cast of CPS high school teachers and students comes together to stage an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in Chicago Shakespeare’s annual collaboration with Chicago Public Schools. CPS Shakespeare! is an integral part of the Theater’s Team Shakespeare performing arts-in-education program, which serves nearly 50,000 students annually, introducing Shakespeare’s legacy to a new generation.
November 29, 2011–January 22, 2012 | Subscription Series
By Timothy Findley | Directed by Barbara Gaines
Artistic Director Barbara Gaines brings her masterful hand to this contemporary play reimagining Shakespeare’s time. On the eve of the beheading of her court favorite and rumored lover, the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth was entertained by a royal command performance by Shakespeare and his company. Upon this obscure historical fact, one of Canada’s most acclaimed playwrights, Timothy Findley, imagines this daring and original drama. Longing for distraction, the Queen visits the acting troupe’s lodgings, where she finds the actor who plays Shakespeare’s leading ladies. In their passionate confrontation, the actor and the Queen come to shocking revelations about sexuality, identity and love.
January 18–March 4, 2012 | Subscription Series
Co-created and co-directed by Jessica Thebus and Frank Maugeri | Adaptation by Jessica Thebus | Design by Frank Maugeri
A CST New Classic developed by Rick Boynton
Prospero’s illusory island sets the stage for CST’s first collaboration on a Shakespeare adaptation with Redmoon—carved out by three actors, a menagerie of handcrafted puppets, original music and hypnotic animations. Possibilities abound in this original Chicago Shakespeare commission based on The Tempest, in which Ariel and Caliban sit down at their captor’s dinner table to assert their independence and petition for freedom.
Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare
January 21 and 22, 2012 | CST Family Series
By Bruce Adolphe | Featuring performers from The Chicago Chamber Musicians and CST
In this joyous CST and Chicago Chamber Musicians co-commissioned musical event for families, theatrical magic and musical masters combine to introduce children to the performing arts. These hour-long, interactive concerts give children the opportunity to discover, up close, the excitement of live performance.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
February 7–April 8, 2012 | Subscription Series
By William Shakespeare | Directed by Gary Griffin
Following his acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare production of As You Like It, Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin takes on Shakespeare’s spectacular tale of fairies and paramours. When a quartet of mismatched lovers and a gaggle of hapless actors cross paths with the king and queen of the fairies beneath the boughs of an enchanted wood, they experience the inexplicable magic of falling in love—and the wonder of waking up from the sweetest of dreams.
Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew
February 25–March 31, 2012 | CST Family Series
By William Shakespeare | Adapted and directed by Rachel Rockwell
CST provides an introduction to William Shakespeare for all audiences on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. with its annual Short Shakespeare production, presenting a 75-minute abridged production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, telling the tale of the strong-willed Kate and Petruchio, a man willing to marry her if the price is right. These likely foes and unlikely lovers enter into Shakespeare’s most famous battle of the sexes, leaving audiences wondering who from this colorful cast of characters tames whom.
Timon of Athens
April 24–June 17, 2012 | Subscription Series
By William Shakespeare | Directed by Barbara Gaines
In a high-risk world of quick profits and borrowed luxury, Timon is a financial god among men. But when the tides of monetary fortune turn, and his former friends become ruthless creditors, Timon is left in an all-too-familiar financial freefall. The cast of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’ staging of Shakespeare’s powerful, rarely produced dark satire is led by Tony Award winner Ian McDiarmid—an internationally celebrated actor whose credits range from performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway, to a turn as Senator and Evil Emperor Palpatine in theStar Wars films.