Aaron Posner & Teller Return to Chicago Shakespeare with MACBETH for 2017-18 Season; Lineup Set!
Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces nine productions of the 2017/18 Season-which will engage audiences with timeless stories in transformational settings. The season also marks the introduction of the Theater's new and innovative third performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Additional productions are to be announced this summer.
Artistic Director and Carl and Marilynn Thoma Endowed Chair Barbara Gaines said, "On the heels of the Theater's 30th Anniversary and the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival, we have curated a season that reflects upon historic moments with radically fresh eyes-and at the same time blazes a trail forward by reimagining Shakespeare's plays for today's audiences. These works give voice to our collective soul, and serve to unite us in a time when the world feels more divided than ever."
Regarding the opening of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, Executive Director Criss Henderson shared, "We are thrilled to introduce audiences this season to The Yard-a forward-thinking venue that is one-of-a-kind in terms of its flexibility and artistic vision. In concert with our existing spaces in the Courtyard Theater and Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard allows us to best serve our artists and audiences with a dynamic range of spaces that will be responsive to theater-makers for generations to come."
Opening in the 2017/18 Season,The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare redefines the traditional, fixed relationship between artist and audience-offering a radically versatile theatrical platform. Repurposing the footprint of Navy Pier's former Skyline Stage with an enclosed, year-round theater space, this third performance venue connects to Chicago Shakespeare's two existing spaces-the Courtyard Theater and the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare-through expanded lobbies. The innovative design features a series of mobile towers that allow the space to be configured in a variety of shapes and sizes with audience capacities ranging from 150 to 850. The new space allows the Theater to expand its programming, host a wide range of international productions, and double its service to students and teachers.
Kicking off the season, Barbara Gaines re-examines Shakespeare's notorious "battle of the sexes" in The Taming of the Shrew (September 16-November 12, 2017; Courtyard Theater) with an all-woman company. Gaines partners with playwright Ron West (CST's The Comedy of Errors, 2008) to frame Shakespeare's story as a performance by a group of Suffragettes in 1919-on the eve of the passing of the 19th Amendment.
In The Yard is James Thierrée's The Toad Knew (September 19-23, 2017; The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare), presented by his La Compagnie du Hanneton from France as part of CST's World's Stage series. Blending together the artistry of dancers, contortionists, and high-wire artists with Thierrée's extraordinary physical prowess, this spectacle premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival, where it was called "flamboyant, hallucinatory and ravishingly beautiful" by The Guardian. Thierrée returns to CST after his magnificent Farewell Umbrella (2007) and Bright Abyss (2005). Tickets for The Toad Knew will go on sale later this summer; CST subscribers and donors will have early access to this limited engagement.
Chicago Shakespeare then partners with the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) in its inaugural International Latino Theater Festival (Fall 2017; Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare) with a Latin American production as part of the World's Stage series to be announced. Founded through an alliance between the National Museum of Mexican Art, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, and the International Cultural Center, CLATA aims to celebrate and amplify the voices of Latino theater artists in Chicago.
A theatrical revolution comes to the stage in Red Velvet (December 1, 2017-January 21, 2018; Courtyard Theater), staged by leading Broadway and Chicago director Gary Griffin. The award-winning play by Lolita Chakrabarti chronicles the seldom-told, true story of Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor who challenged convention by taking the London stage as the first black Othello in 1833-sending shockwaves through the city at a time when anti-abolition protesters rioted in the streets.
In 2018, the abridged Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night's Dream (January 24-March 10, 2018; The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare) introduces Shakespeare's mystical comedy to family and student audiences in a new production in The Yard, where its extended run will serve thousands of additional students and teachers next year.
Two resolute rulers-Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots-face off in a struggle for the faith of the nation in Schiller's Mary Stuart (February 21-April 15, 2018; Courtyard Theater), with an electric adaptation by Peter Oswald. The production is staged by acclaimed director Jenn Thompson, former artistic director of The Actors Company Theater (TACT), which was named "Company of the Year" by The Wall Street Journal during her tenure.
Celebrated director and playwright Aaron Posner and Teller (of famous duo Penn & Teller) join forces with a new production of Macbeth (April 25-June 24, 2018; The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare), returning after their Jeff Award-winning production of The Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare in 2015. This supernatural thriller dives into the psyches of the power-hungry Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with astounding magic to immerse audiences in the storytelling.
Featured as part of Chicago Shakespeare's World's Stage series is Samuel Beckett's masterpiece Waiting for Godot (May 23-June 3, 2018; Courtyard Theater), presented by Ireland's Druid Theatre and staged by Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes. The Irish Times called it, "the freshest, funniest and most affecting production of the play in at least a quarter of a century." This production marks the company's third return to Chicago Shakespeare following The Cripple of Inishmaan (2011) and The Walworth Farce (2009).
Touring to neighborhood parks across the City in Summer 2017 in partnership with the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and production sponsor BMO Harris, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks presents FREE performances of Shakespeare's timeless Romeo and Juliet (July-August, 2017; neighborhood parks across Chicago) in a gripping 75-minute production, adapted and directed by Marti Lyons.
These productions join the previously announced summer family musical, Madagascar - A Musical Adventure (July 13-August 27, 2017; Courtyard Theater). Based on the Dreamworks Animation motion picture, this wild new musical is directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery at the Theater's home on Navy Pier.
For information on purchasing tickets, visit www.chicagoshakes.com or call the CST Box Office at 312.595.5600. A variety of flexible packages start at just $180-offering savings over single tickets, and guaranteeing your seat at every production you choose to see. Discounted tickets are also available for groups of 10 or more; Access Shakespeare patrons; and anyone under age 35 through the CST for $20 initiative.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2017/18 Season:
Madagascar - A Musical Adventure
in CST's Courtyard Theater
July 13-August 27, 2017
based on the Dreamworks Animation Motion Picture
book by Kevin Del Aguila | original music and lyrics by George Noriega & Joel Someillan
directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks
Romeo and Juliet
in neighborhood parks across Chicago
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Marti Lyons
The Taming of the Shrew
from FRANCE | La Compagnie du Hanneton
The Toad Knew
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
September 19-23, 2017
by James Thierrée
International Latino Theater Festival
Title to be announced
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night's Dream
in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
January 24-March 10, 2018
by William Shakespeare
Schiller's Mary Stuart
from IRELAND | Druid Theatre
Waiting for Godot
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and a recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare's work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago's cultural ambassador through its World's Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. Throughout 2016, CST spearheaded the international arts and culture festival, Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a yearlong, citywide celebration of the playwright's 400-year legacy.