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VIDEO: Cast of SIX, Heather Headley & More Will Toast Shakespeare's Birthday with Chicago Shakespeare Theater- Live at 8:30pm!

VIDEO: Cast of SIX, Heather Headley & More Will Toast Shakespeare's Birthday with Chicago Shakespeare Theater- Live at 8:30pm!

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents a one-night-only streaming event Toast to Shakespeare's Birthday! tomorrow, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. Central Time. On the occasion of the Bard's 456th birthday, a line-up of special guests-including the Queens of SIX on Broadway, Chicago Theater legend Larry Yando, hip hop sensations the Q Brothers Collective, actor/author John Tufts, as well as T.R. Knight, Heather Headley, Peter Sagal, Chef Rick Bayless, Harry Hadden-Paton and Rebecca Night, James Vincent Meredith, E. Faye Butler, and more-raise a glass in celebration of Shakespeare's rich legacy. Hosted by the Theater's Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Creative Producer Rick Boynton, the 30-minute event will be broadcast at and streamed simultaneously on Facebook. #ToasttoShakespearesBirthday

Chicago Shakespeare's Toast to Shakespeare's Birthday! will feature a special musical performance from the SIX Queens-Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele-who headlined the North American Premiere production of the hit show at Chicago Shakespeare in Spring 2019 and now await their return to the Broadway stage. Legendary Chicago theater actor Larry Yando joins to discuss Shakespeare after appearing onstage in some of the Bard's most storied roles. The evening will also feature Chicago hip hop sensations, the Q Brothers Collective - GQ, JQ, Jax and Pos, who have created award-winning "ad-rap-tations" of Shakespeare including Othello:The Remix. Actor and author John Tufts will share a birthday-themed recipe from his newly released book, Fat Rascals: Dining at Shakespeare's Table. Making special appearances throughout the event are T.R. Knight (Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream), Heather Headley (Broadway's The Color Purple, Aida, The Lion King), NPR's Peter Sagal (Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me), Chef Rick Bayless, Harry Hadden-Paton (Downton Abbey, Broadway's My Fair Lady) and Rebecca Night (Chicago Shakespeare's The King's Speech), James Vincent Meredith (The Book of Mormon National Tour), award-winning vocalist E. Faye Butler, as well as Heidi Kettenring, Laura Rook and Nate Burger, Jennifer Latimore, and Sean and Linda Fortunato.

The event will also highlight Chicago Shakespeare's current initiatives to serve audiences, artists and the community:

  • Chicago Shakespeare's new free educational initiative: Stream and Study, which provides educators with a digital stream of the Theater's 2017 abridged production of Romeo and Juliet, adapted and directed by Marti Lyons, and a wide array of teaching materials and activities, tailored for the now-virtual classroom. Hundreds of teachers have already signed up to implement the program in their digital curriculum.
  • The Theater's "Masks for faces and for Noses" project in partnership with University of Illinois - Chicago, which has completed more than 18,000 patient face masks for UI Health hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the state, all while providing a source of income to more than 100 theater-makers across the city, many of whom are out of work due to the COVID-19-releated theater closures.
  • And the online Shakes@Home platform, which features a treasure trove of engaging digital content, activities, and teaching resources from the Theater's artists and staff for audiences to enjoy at home.

Also on April 23rd, everyone can join in observing Talk Like Shakespeare Day, an annual event established by Chicago Shakespeare in 2009 as an occasion for citizens from Chicago and across the globe to bring the words of the playwright into their daily lives. Shakespeare is credited with contributing over 1,700 words and phrases to the English language which we still use today-including "bedazzled," "swagger" and "new-fangled." Take part in the festivities on social media at #TalkLikeShakespeareDay, or online at

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