Chicago Shakespeare Sets 2014-15 Season: HAMLET, KING LEAR, SEUSSICAL & More


Chicago Shakespeare Sets 2014-15 Season: HAMLET, KING LEAR, SEUSSICAL & More

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson announced today eight productions of the upcoming 2014/15 Season, which includes four major Shakespearean titles, plus a sequel to Shakespeare's epic tragedy and a world premiere musical based on a classic novel.

From London, Chicago Shakespeare brings the Shakespeare's Globe production of Hamlet, directed by the Globe's Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurst, to the Courtyard Stage. Part of a two-year world tour scheduled to visit 205 countries, Chicago Shakespeare and the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. are the only U.S. stops on the tour. Launching the subscription series is William Shakespeare's King Lear staged by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines with Larry Yando in the title role, followed by Shakespeare's magical journey Pericles featuring Ben Carlson and directed by David H. Bell. The season also includes the Shakespeare-inspired Dunsinane, a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre of Scotland. This theatrical event by David Greig imagines a sequel to the Scottish play following Macbeth's death. A new musical based on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility with book, music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and directed by Barbara Gaines concludes the series in the Courtyard Theater. The annual abridged Shakespeare production for students, their teachers and families will be Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, directed and adapted by Kirsten Kelly.

Affirming the Theater's commitment to young audiences and Chicago communities, this summer FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, the centerpiece of Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks program, tours A Midsummer Night's Dream throughout the City of Chicago. This summer's family production in the Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier is Seussical, the musical created by the Tony Award winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The whimsical stories of Dr. Seuss are narrated by his best-known character, The Cat in the Hat.

Additional 2014/15 Season World's Stage presentations and productions in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare will be announced in the coming months.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2014/15 Season Calendar:

July 5 - August 17, 2014 | Courtyard Theater
music by Stephen Flaherty
lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
co-conceived by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle
based on the works of Dr. Seuss
directed by Scott Weinstein
musical direction by Michael Mahler
The musical based on the stories created by children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) and narrated by his best-known character, The Cat in the Hat, Seussical seamlessly intertwines the characters, stories and themes from fourteen cherished Dr. Seuss classics, including Horton Hears a Who!, The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz, and Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!. Seussical is written by the Tony Award winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once On This Island, My Favorite Year) who are currently represented on Broadway with Rocky, The Musical. The musical was co-conceived by Ahrens and Flaherty with Eric Idle (Monty Python and Spamalot).

A World's Stage production from London
Shakespeare's Globe
July 28, 29 & 30, 2014 | Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare
directed by Globe's Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurst
Shakespeare's Globe embarks on a two-year, international tour, travelling to 205 countries around the globe with its production of Hamlet including only two U.S. engagements: Chicago Shakespeare and Washington, D.C.'s Folger Theatre. The production touches down in Chicago with a fresh version of Shakespeare's classic tragedy of deferred revenge that emphasizes the play's gallows humor and celebrates the exuberance and invention of its language. A cast of eight actors will perform over two dozen roles in a brisk two hours and forty minutes. The New York Times applauded "a production that prizes efficiency, clarity, accessibility and above all energy."

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
A Midsummer Night's Dream
July and August 2014 | Free performances throughout Chicago
by William Shakespeare
directed by David H. Bell
The wildly popular Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program brings William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, FREE FOR ALL, to neighborhood parks across Chicago. A magical forest filled with a host of some of Shakespeare's most comedic characters make A Midsummer Night's Dream one of his most beloved plays. When lovers cross with mischievous sprites in an enchanted forest, a series of mishaps occur and nothing is what it seems. Add to the mix a bevy of fumbling actors and chaos breaks loose until dawn breaks and all is once again right with the world. As the centerpiece to Chicago Park District's "Night Out in the Parks" initiative, the free Shakespeare performances activate neighborhood parks and break down barriers to arts participation.

King Lear
September 9 - November 9, 2014 | Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare
directed by Barbara Gaines
An aging, vain monarch resolves to retire and divides his kingdom among his three daughters. The unexpected consequence of losing everything that defines him is shattering. One of William Shakespeare's towering achievements, this heartrending story of tragedy, anguish and reconciliation features Larry Yando in the title role. This brilliantly versatile actor has been engaged in more than twenty-two CST productions that range from Prospero in The Tempest to Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and will be recognized by audiences for his roles throughout Chicago and as Scar in the Broadway tour of The Lion King.

November 30, 2014 - January 18, 2015 | Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare
directed by David H. Bell
This spectacle of a globetrotting adventure across ancient seas confronts Pericles with villains and heroes, goddesses and pirates, knights and kings. The perilous epic odyssey concludes with the reunion of people long-lost and a renewal of life and love. Ben Carlson of Stratford Festival of Canada and the title roles in CST's Hamlet, Macbeth, and Alceste in The School for Lies, performs the title role in his return to the Courtyard Theater stage.

Short Shakespeare! Macbeth
January 15 - February 14, 2015 | Courtyard Theater
on tour through March 20
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Kirsten Kelly
The ancient Scottish tale, retold by Shakespeare and brought to life on stage, reveals universal truths of the human condition. This fast-paced production designed to immerse students, young audiences and families alike in the treacherous world of the Macbeths, reveals the consequences of unbridled ambition.

A World's Stage production from England and Scotland
National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company
February 26 - March 22, 2015 | Courtyard Theater
by David Greig
directed by Roxana Silbert
Macbeth is dead. Under cover of night, an English army has swept through the landscape, killed the tyrant and taken the seat of power. Attempting to restore peace and put in place a new ruler, Siward, the commanding officer, encounters resistance as his efforts to restore order appear futile and the situation spins out of control. The National Theatre of Scotland playwright David Greig, who penned The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, has again written an exhilarating play that The Guardian hailed "a work of compelling intelligence, provocation and wit."

Sense and Sensibility
April 18 - June 7, 2015 | Courtyard Theater
based on the novel by Jane Austen
book, music and lyrics by Paul Gordon
directed by Barbara Gaines
Jane Austen's particular genius for reflecting the human spirit has proven ageless. With her wit and intelligence, and range of expressions from soaring emotion to repressed feeling, a new musical brings us into the world of the Dashwood family. The heartwarming tale focuses on two sisters as bound by their love for each other as they are conflicted in their different natures-and their notions of true love. This new musical will bring fresh voice and depth of feeling to an intimate family story in a period-perfect production.

Previously Announced: Up and Coming at Chicago Shakespeare
February 6 - March 23, 2014 | Courtyard Theater
book by Arthur Laurents | music by Jule Styne | lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
directed by Gary Griffin
This great American musical was inspired by memoirs of the famous strip-tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee and features her larger-than-life, domineering stage mother. Under the direction of acclaimed Sondheim interpreter Gary Griffin, Madam Rose struggles to live out her dreams through her daughters' careers during the waning years of the vaudeville circuit.

Road Show
March 13 - May 4, 2014 | Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | book by John Weidman
directed by Gary Griffin
Constantly reinventing themselves to achieve success in the first part of the twentieth century, the legendary brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner embark on a musical journey that spans decades. Traversing America from Alaska to Florida, the brothers muscle through "get-rich-quick-schemes" that explore the many sides of the American Dream.

A World's Stage presentation from Cornwall, England
Tristan & Yseult
March 30 - April 13, 2014 | Courtyard Theater
writers: Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy
adapted and directed by Emma Rice
The twelfth-century poem, transformed into a twenty-first century theater production, tells the story of a love triangle that envelops an Irish beauty, a Cornish king and a French knight. Reclaiming Cornwall's oldest love story, this audacious British company brings Kneehigh's brand of cheeky humor and Wagnerian intensity with a blend of comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths.

Henry V
April 29 - June 15, 2014 | Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare
directed by Christopher Luscombe
Shakespeare's epic history play filled with rallies to battle and wartime crises tells the legendary coming-of-age story of the charismatic monarch. The play that launched CST on the rooftop of a pub in 1986 will receive its first staging in the Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier, revealing the story behind the young king and celebrating the power of language to summon battlefields and ignite souls to action.

Tickets and subscriptions for Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2014/15 Season go on sale later this month. For more information on purchasing tickets, visit the Theater's website at or call the CST Box Office at 312.595.5600. Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers a broad selection of affordable tickets providing opportunities for a diverse audience to interact with the Theater in different ways ranging from season subscription packages with low-priced, preview series and discounted family subscriptions, to accessibly-priced, family-friendly productions, discounts for student groups and tickets for young professionals for as little as $20.

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