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TWELFTH NIGHT Kicks Off Chesapeake Shakespeare' Company's 20 Anniversary Season

Shakespeare employs outrageous comedic tropes to play them out, including mistaken identity, cross-dressing, secret crushes, pranks, and even separated twins.  

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company kicks off a year-long celebration of their 20th anniversary by restaging its very first production as a professional troupe, William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night runs from Sept. 30-Oct. 23, 2022, with previews Sept. 28-29, and press night on the 30th.

In 2002, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC) established itself with a single production of Shakespeare's popular romantic comedy at a small black box theatre in Ellicott City, MD. Twenty seasons later, the production's original director, Founding Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, will pay homage to the company's inaugural presentation in their award-winning, theatre in Downtown Baltimore.

"The show was only seen by 100 people," Gallanar remembers, but goes on to add, "It started as an idea that we could connect a new audience to Shakespeare. I couldn't conceive, when we started, that we would last to a twentieth birthday. I'm so excited to revisit this show and watch it usher in the next twenty years."

"I am delighted to be opening our 20th anniversary season with Twelfth Night, which has such meaning for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. It's a sentimental choice, but it is also perhaps Shakespeare's most perfect comedy. I know our audiences will have a wonderful time," adds Producing Executive Director, Lesley Malin, who performed in that first 2002 production.

Though Twelfth Night presents powerful themes surrounding love, power, and gender roles, Shakespeare employs outrageous comedic tropes to play them out, including mistaken identity, cross-dressing, secret crushes, pranks, and even separated twins.

After being shipwrecked in a strange land, Viola disguises herself as a man (Cesario) for protection and is recruited by Duke Orsino to woo the Lady Olivia on his behalf. Olivia tumbles into love with "Cesario," but Viola has fallen in love with Orsino. All the while, members of Olivia's household are creating additional mayhem by hatching plots amongst themselves. When Viola's twin brother Sebastian turns up alive, the confusion intensifies and escalates into a series of increasingly chaotic, but ultimately satisfying, resolutions.

Shakespeare, himself, addressed the dizzying plot in the text, with the famous line, "If this were play'd upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction." (Act III, Scene 4)

Featuring Lizzi Albert (Viola), Ian Charles (Sebastian), Elana Michelle (Olivia), and Quincy Vicks (Orsino) as the beguiled-and beguiling-romantic leads, the production, set in an early 1900s seaside resort, assembles a versatile cast of CSC company members and newcomers. The ensemble also includes seasoned comedic performers, like George Michael Harris (Feste) of Baltimore Improv Group and Gregory Burgess (Sir Toby) who are well-versed in fast-paced farce. The production will also use the original music from the original production, written by current CSC Technical Director Dan O'Brien, who played Feste back in 2002.

Please note, based on current union rules, all patrons must be masked at all times while in the theatre, except while eating or drinking. For more information, visit www.ChesapeakeShakespeare.com or call the box office at 410.244.8570.




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