Harry Judge to Lead Chicago Shakespeare Theater's HENRY V; Cast Announced
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today casting for William Shakespeare's epic Henry V, directed by celebrated British director Christopher Luscombe in his Chicago debut. In a rousing finale to the 2014 season, the play that inaugurated Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 1986 on the rooftop of Lincoln Park's Red Lion Pub comes to the Courtyard Theater for the first time. Shakespeare's powerful history play explores the consequences of war and the capacity of language to inspire and transform. Leading the troops as the charismatic, young monarch is Harry Judge in the titular role. Henry V will be performed in CST's Courtyard Theater April 29 through June 15, 2014.
To unite a divided kingdom, England's King Henry decides to enforce his claim to the French throne. Confronted by the ferocity of war on the fields of Agincourt, this charming, freshly crowned monarch must prove his worth as a man and king in the ultimate test of his leadership. Chicago Shakespeare's production will envelop audience members in both the private intrigue of the court and the heroic intensity of the battlefield.
"This play is such a thrilling example of Shakespeare's rhetoric and wit. It feels to me just like a banquet-an incredible feast-of language," Director Christopher Luscombe describes. "We have assembled a company of actors with a fantastic sense for this language. To allow this quality to shine through, I have envisioned a dynamic ensemble with actors playing multiple roles in the spirit of the Elizabethan stage."
Luscombe began his career as an actor, spending seven years at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and going on to perform at England's National Theatre and on the West End. His directing career has spanned everything from Shakespearean classics to tongue-and-cheek musicals. As a part of the RSC's upcoming season, Luscombe will direct one acting company in an unprecedented pairing of Love's Labour's Lost and Love's Labour's Won (known as Much Ado About Nothing). This matching pair of comedies will kick off the Theatre's upcoming season with performances in repertory from September 2014 to March 2015. His directing credits also include The Comedy of Errors and The Merry Wives of Windsor for Shakespeare's Globe, The Madness of George III and Spamalot in the West End, and numerous international touring and West End productions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Luscombe's productions have received two prestigious Olivier Award nominations.
The title role of Henry will be performed by Harry Judge. Judge previously appeared at CST as the Dauphin in Shaw Festival's touring production of Saint Joan, which was part of CST's World's Stage series. Hailing from Canada, Judge performs regularly on Toronto stages and with the Shaw Festival, where his credits include The Kiltartan Comedies, The Heiress and Design for Living. Laura Rook will perform the role of the French princess Katherine, who must overcome politics and a language barrier to make herself heard. At Chicago Shakespeare, Rook has been seen as Juliet in Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet. Additional Chicago productions include The Liar at Writers Theatre and Skylight at Court Theatre.
Kevin Gudahl will play the Duke of Exeter, Henry's uncle and trusted advisor. Greg Vinkler will appear as Henry's adversary, the King of France, as well as the role of Pistol. Gudahl and Vinkler have collectively performed in over sixty CST productions and were last seen in this season's The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Barbara Gaines. In her CST debut, Sally Wingert will perform the roles of Mistress Quickly and Alice. Wingert has appeared in more than eighty productions at the Guthrie Theater, as well as the Broadway and West End productions of La Bête.
The ensemble cast also includes returning CST actors Patrick Clear (Ely/Erpingham/Burgundy), David Lively (Canterbury), Larry Neumann Jr. (Nimm/Duke of Orleans), James Newcomb (Fluellen), Caleb Probst (Duke of York), Samuel Taylor (Dauphin/Macmorris), Demetrios Troy (Scroop/Montjoy) and Bret Tuomi (Bardolph/Williams).Making their Chicago Shakespeare debuts are Joe Flynn (Jamy/Gloucester), Steve O'Connell (Westmoreland/Gower), Cody Proctor (Grey/Bates) and Kevin Quinn (Boy).
The creative team features designers whose work has graced Chicago Shakespeare's stages many times, including Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet, Costume Designer Mariann S. Verheyen, Lighting Designer Phillip S. Rosenberg, Sound Designer Lindsay Jones and Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Henry V runs April 29 through June 15, 2014 in CST's Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $48-$78 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets or a season subscription, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com