Chicago Shakespeare Announces Free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Tour 2017

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Boeing partner to present the annual citywide summer tradition, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. Made possible by production sponsor BMO Harris, 25 performances of Shakespeare's timeless classic Romeo and Juliet, adapted and directed by Marti Lyons, will tour to 18 neighborhood parks across the City, July 26-August 27, 2017.

"Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has been instrumental in connecting Chicago's communities with world-class theater and shining a spotlight on our local performers," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "I have personally enjoyed the performances since its inaugural year, and look forward to this summer's rendition of Romeo and Juliet as part of our Night Out in the Parks."

The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of Romeo and Juliet kicks off as one of the inaugural events of the new performance lawns at Polk Bros Park on Navy Pier with three performances: Wednesday, July 26; Thursday, July 27; and Friday, July 28-all at 7:00pm.

Parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include:

  • Wednesday, July 26 at 7:00pm - Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Thursday, July 27 at 7:00pm - Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Friday, July 28 at 7:00pm - Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
  • Sunday, July 30 at 4:00pm - Ellis Park (3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave.)
  • Wednesday, August 02 at 6:30pm - Gage Park (2411 W. 55th St.)
  • Thursday, August 03 at 6:30pm - Kelvyn Park (4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.)
  • Friday, August 04 at 6:30pm - Eckhart Park (1330 W. Chicago Ave.)
  • Saturday, August 05 at 6:30pm - Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
  • Sunday, August 06 at 4:00pm - Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
  • Tuesday, August 08 at 6:30pm - Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave.)
  • Wednesday, August 09 at 6:30pm - Tuley Park (501 E. 90th Pl.)
  • Thursday, August 10 at 6:30pm - Humboldt Park (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.)
  • Friday, August 11 at 6:30pm - Humboldt Park (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.)
  • Saturday, August 12 at 6:30pm - Frank J. Wilson Park (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
  • Sunday, August 13 at 4:00pm - Frank J. Wilson Park (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
  • Wednesday, August 16 at 6:30pm - Garfield Park (100 N. Central Park Ave.)
  • Thursday, August 17 at 6:30pm - Dvorak Park (1119 W. Cullerton St.)
  • Friday, August 18 at 6:30pm - Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
  • Saturday, August 19 at 6:30pm - Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
  • Sunday, August 20 at 4:00pm - Steelworkers Park (E. 87th St. at Lake Michigan)
  • Wednesday, August 23 at 6:30pm - Hamilton Park (513 W. 72nd St.)
  • Thursday, August 24 at 6:30pm - Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.)
  • Friday, August 25 at 6:30pm - Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
  • Saturday, August 26 at 6:30pm - Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
  • Sunday, August 27 at 4:00pm - Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.)

"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, bringing free Shakespeare to our beautiful public parks," said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. "As we work together to activate arts and culture across the city through our Night Out in the Parks events, we are putting the Chicago Cultural Plan in action and providing all Chicagoans the opportunity to experience world-class performances in their neighborhood parks."

The citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural, and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing, and production sponsor BMO Harris Bank. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program six years ago, more than 100,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities.

"Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program has become a local symbol for increased access to and participation in the arts" said John Blazey, Vice President of Boeing's Global Corporate Citizenship. "This unique partnership among city agencies, community-based organizations, local artists, and neighborhood residents is a powerful example of how investment in the arts helps to bring vitality to our communities by engaging families and building connections with one another."

David Casper, President and CEO, BMO Harris Bank said, "BMO Harris Bank is proud to sponsor this summer's production of Romeo and Juliet, a powerful and timeless story that has been inspiring artists and audiences for over four hundred years. Chicago Shakespeare Theater shares our commitment to ensuring that great theater is accessible to all, and we look forward to partnering with them in bringing this production of Romeo and Juliet to neighborhoods across the city."

Adapted and directed by Marti Lyons, this 75-minute abridged production brings the most tragic, beautiful love story in Shakespeare's canon to life. Verona burns under summer's heat-and the hatred of two families. The Prince decrees: if Montague or Capulet again disrupts the peace, death is the punishment. The production combines Shakespeare's original verse with dynamic staging to connect audiences with the characters' journeys.

The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Romeo and Juliet cast includes Nate Santana (Romeo), Emma Ladji (Juliet), Gail Rastorfer (Nurse), Ryan Kitley (Lord Capulet), Lily Mojekwu (Lady Capulet), BrIan Grey (Mercutio/Friar John), Sam Pearson (Tybalt), Lisa Tejero (Prince/Apothecary), Edgar Miguel Sanchez (Balthazar), Andrew Saenz (Paris), Peter Sipla (Peter) and Michael Perez (Friar Laurence). Joining Lyons on the creative team is Fight Choreographer Matt Hawkins in his 22nd CST production. The award-winning creative team also features Scenic Designer Courtney O'Neill, Costume Designer Mieka van der Ploeg, Lighting Designer Greg Hofmann, Sound Designer Mikhail Fiksel, Wig and Make-up Designer Rick Jarvie, and Choreographer Stephanie Paul. Kathryn Walsh is the production's Verse Coach.

Partnering with the Chicago Park District, CST is offering ASL-interpreted performances at six of the eighteen Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour stops-two in each of the South, West and North Park District regions (dates to be announced). Sign-interpreting the performances are ElizaBeth Bartlow Breslin and Will Lee. Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will also offer an Audio-described performance for audience members who are blind or have low vision, in which a describer provides a description of visual elements of the production transmitted through headphones. Assistive-listening devices are available for all performances.

For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks.

ABOUT Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the 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. During 2016, CST spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. www.chicagoshakes.com.

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