Ron Orbach, Tim Kazurinsky Set For CST's A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Ron Orbach, Tim Kazurinsky Set For CST's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today casting for its 25th Anniversary Season production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin (CST's Follies, Broadway's The Color Purple) and featuring a celebrated company of artists that includes stage and screen actor Ron Orbach as Nick Bottom, former Saturday Night Live funnyman Tim Kazurinsky as Peter Quince, and veteran CST actors Tracy Michelle Arnold as Hippolyta/Titania and Timothy Edward Kane as Theseus/Oberon. Performing the role of Puck is Elizabeth Ledo.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's A Midsummer Night's Dream runs February 7 through April 8, 2012 in CST's Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $44–$75 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

At Chicago Shakespeare, his artistic home, Gary Griffin has moved seamlessly from staging the great musicals of Stephen Sondheim's canon to William Shakespeare's iconic tales. After last year's celebrated CST production of As You Like It, Griffin directed this fall's critically acclaimed Follies—and now, he takes on Shakespeare's hilarious and sexy comedy. Griffin's A Midsummer Night's Dream comes to life in a new age of self discovery. Sigmund Freud has introduced the Interpretation of Dreams—and Shakespeare's forest becomes a playground of the subconscious.

Performing the role of Nick Bottom in Griffin's production is Broadway and television actor Ron Orbach, whose credits include the Broadway and ChicaGo Productions of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, as well as Amos Hart in the first national tour of Chicago (Jeff Award and LA Ovation Award nomination). Appearing in the role of Peter Quince is former Saturday Night Live cast member Tim Kazurinsky, who got his start at Chicago's The Second City and played a recurring role in the Police Academy film series. Returning to CST are three-time Jeff Award nominee Tracy Michelle Arnold, performing the role of Hippolyta/Titania after her acclaimed turn as Amanda in Gary Griffin's CST production of Private Lives, and Chicago favorite Timothy Edward Kane, appearing as Theseus/Oberon. Kane's numerous CST credits include Artistic Director Barbara Gaines' epic Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 at CST and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Elizabeth Ledo, performing the role of Puck, appeared in Griffin's acclaimed production of As You Like It last season.

Additional actors returning to Chicago Shakespeare for A Midsummer Night's Dream are Richard Manera as Snug, Michael Aaron Lindner as Snout, Matt Schwader as Demetrius, Rod Thomas as Starveling, Andrew Truschinski as Lysander and Kurt Ehrmann as Egeus. Making their CST debuts are Laura Huizenga as Helena, Christina Nieves as Hermia, Sean Parris as Philostrate, Levenix Riddle as Flute and ensemble member Evan Michalic.

CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin is a prolific director of acclaimed productions, including the Tony Award-nominated The Color Purple. Griffin has made an artistic home at Chicago Shakespeare, where last season marked his tenth as a resident director. His celebrated exploration of the Stephen Sondheim canon at Chicago Shakespeare includes this fall's critically acclaimed production of Follies in addition to his award-winning staging of Pacific Overtures at CST and the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End, where it garnered three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production. Off Broadway, Griffin has directed the world premiere musical Saved (Playwrights Horizons), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Encores!), Beautiful Thing (Cherry Lane Theatre) and Lost in the Stars (Encores!), among others. At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, Griffin staged critically acclaimed productions of West Side Story, Evita and Camelot, and will return to direct the Festival's 2012 production of 42nd Street. Also in 2012, Griffin is slated to direct the Broadway production of Honeymoon in Vegas. Griffin's operatic works include productions of The Merry Widow and The Mikado at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Griffin's creative team for A Midsummer Night's Dream includes Scenic Designer Daniel Ostling, Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld, Lighting Designer Philip S. Rosenberg, Projection Designer Mike Tutaj, Sound Designers Michael Bodeen and Rob Milburn, Wig and Makeup Designer Melissa Veal and Properties Master Chelsea Meyers.

Programs in conjunction with performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream include:
Pre•Ambles: Half-hour introductory lectures on A Midsummer Night's Dream presented by scholars will take place on Saturdays at 2 p.m. from March 10–31; and on Sundays at 1 p.m. from Feb. 26 to April 1. Admission is free and no reservations are required.

Talk-Backs: Post-show discussions follow each Wednesday 1 p.m. performance. Admission is free. No reservations are required.

Pub Cast Call: Patrons are invited to join several members of the cast on Friday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the CST Pub to informally discuss the production that evening. Cast Calls are free of charge and no reservations are necessary.

"Access Shakespeare" Performances: The duo sign-interpreted performance for patrons with hearing impairments will be held on Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should request the sign-interpreted section when purchasing tickets in advance. The audio-described performance for patrons with visual impairments will be held on Thursday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. Patrons should reserve a headset when purchasing tickets in advance. "Access Shakespeare" tickets are $27.50 (Thursday) and $34 (Friday).

About Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this season, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare's genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare's work has been recognized internationally with three of London's prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 62 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare; unlocking Shakespeare's work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago's cultural ambassador through its World's Stage Series.

Significant projects include: Barbara Gaines' two-part epic Henry IV at the Royal Shakespeare Company; Chicago Shakespeare's Olivier Award-winning production of Sondheim and Weidman's Pacific Overtures at London's Donmar Warehouse, directed by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin; Edward Hall's tour de force, Rose Rage, in Chicago and New York; a commissioned adaptation of Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear by David Ives; a commissioned "hip-hoptation" of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Funk It Up About Nothin', which garnered acclaim in Chicago, New York and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, toured Australia and made its London debut at Theatre Royal Stratford East; and participation in the inaugural campaign of the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities initiative.

At its permanent, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier, CST houses two intimate theater spaces: the 500-seat Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the 200-seat Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 500 performances, CST leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors and attracts 200,000 audience members annually-including nearly 16,000 subscribers and 40,000 students and teachers.

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