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CST To Present Marlowe's 'Edward II' Directed by Graney


For the first time at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), Shakespeare's contemporary rival playwright Christopher Marlowe, infiltrates Shakespeare's home as Sean Graney brings a contemporary perspective to The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward II, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer. Actors perform among standing members of the audience who are free to move about the space in this 75-minute "promenade" exploration of political power and deception, which marks a CST debut for both Marlowe and Graney. Performed Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, Edward II begins previews Wednesday, October 1, 2008 and runs through Sunday, November 9, 2008. In addition to standing at promenade level, patrons also have the option of purchasing gallery seating. All promenade tickets are $20; gallery tickets are $42-56. Tickets to Edward II can be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or by visiting the Theater's website at

In Chicago Shakespeare's promenade production of Edward II, the audience enters the court of King Edward II and the intrigue surrounding Gaveston-the King's "favorite"-and the neglected Queen Isabella. The return of Gaveston after his banishment by the late King Edward I is a cause for celebration for Edward II. The nobles, however, are enraged at the honors, riches and attention that the King lavishes upon the commoner Gaveston, rather than the affairs of state and his duties as a leader. The Queen and the nobleman Mortimer, involved in an elicit affair, escape to join a group of rebels. Violence ensues as loyalties change, leaving many dead and the English court in ruins.

Director Sean Graney is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Hypocrites. Graney has received two Joseph Jefferson Citations for his productions of Equus by Peter Shaffer and Machinal by Sophie Treadwell and has received several nominations for the Joseph Jefferson Award for New Adaptation. He is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors, was called Chicago's Best Avant-Garde Director by Chicago Magazine and named Chicagoan of the Year for Theatre by Chicago Tribune. Originally from Boston, Graney received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater and Writing from Emerson College.

Jeffrey Carlson and Karen Aldridge return to CST this fall as King Edward II and Queen Isabella. In addition to Carlson's work in Chicago Shakespeare's production of Henry IV, Parts I and 2 at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival in 2006, he has appeared on Broadway in Taboo, Tartuffe and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and on television as Zarf in All My Children. Aldridge has worked extensively in Chicago, including Le Costume directed by Peter Brook and Love's Labor's Lost directed by Barbara Gaines, both at CST. La Shawn Banks makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut as Gaveston in Edward II. Banks has appeared in productions of The Turn of the Screw and Othello at Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, as well as in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre.

The cast of Edward II also includes: Kareem Bandealy as Earl of Arundel; Lea Coco as Kent; Scott Cummins as Mortimer the Younger; Kurt Ehrmann as Mortimer the Elder; Zach Gray as Prince Edward; Erik Hellman as Spencer; John Lister as Bishop of Canterbury; and Chris Sullivan as Lancaster. Alejandro Cordoba, Dane Halvorson, Max Jenkins and Andrew Taylor complete the ensemble.

The production team for Edward II includes Tony Award-winning scenic designer Todd Rosenthal (August: Osage County, 2008), costume designer Alison Siple, lighting designer Philip Rosenberg, wig and make-up designer Melissa Veal; composer Kevin O'Donnell and fight choreographer Matt Hawkins.

The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward II, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer begins previews on Wednesday, October 1, 2008, with performances scheduled through November 9, 2008, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. The performance schedule is: Wednesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Promenade tickets for all performances are $20; gallery seating tickets are $42 for previews, $46 for performances Wednesday through Thursday and $56 Friday through Sunday.

Pre•Ambles, half-hour introductory lectures on Edward II presented by scholars, will take place at 2:00 p.m. on select Saturdays (October 11; November 8) and Sundays (October 12, 19 and 26; November 9). Admission is free and reservations are not required. For further information about performances at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at

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