Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Announces Free Summer 2019 Tour
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 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 Bank, 25 performances of Shakespeare's hilarious classic The Comedy of Errors, directed by David H. Bell, will tour free for all to 19 neighborhood parks across Chicago in the city's most expansive arts-in-communities initiative, July 18-August 18, 2019.
"Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks gives residents the chance to experience the thrill and magic of live theater in their own backyard," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Theater is essential to the cultural fabric of Chicago and with 25 performances throughout our neighborhoods, there's always a seat waiting for you."
The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of The Comedy of Errors kicks off at Polk Bros Park on Navy Pier with three performances: Thursday, July 18 through Saturday, July 20-all beginning at 7:00 p.m.
"We are proud to partner with Chicago Shakespeare Theater to bring free Shakespeare to our beautiful neighborhood parks," said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. "This beloved theatre experience is truly a highlight of the Year of Chicago Theatre and one of Night Out in the Parks' must-see theatre performances coming to parks citywide this summer."
Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program seven years ago, more than 130,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities.
David Casper, U.S. CEO, BMO Financial Group said, "In celebration of the Year of Chicago Theatre, BMO Harris Bank is proud to continue its sponsorship of Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. This summer's production of The Comedy of Errors is a wonderful story that has entertained audiences for more than 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 to neighborhoods across the city."
Throughout the tour, a specially equipped truck will roll into each park, a stage will unfold and actors will perform a 75-minute production of The Comedy of Errors. Staged and adapted by Jeff Award-winning director and choreographer David H. Bell, the story unfolds when Antipholus and his lifelong servant Dromio find themselves in Ephesus as they search the world over for a twin, lost in infancy. Everywhere they go in this foreign land, complete strangers insist that they're best of friends. Is everyone here quite mad? Mistaken identities abound, as one bewildering day in Ephesus makes for hilarious complications-and a bewitching theatrical experience.
The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks The Comedy of Errors cast includes Will Allan (Dromio of Syracuse), Amira Danan (Adriana), Meghan Murphy (Aemilia/Courtezan), Andrea San Miguel (Luciana), Drew Shirley (Egeon/Luce/Dr. Pinch), Alec Silver (Dromio of Ephesus), Laurence Stepney (Duke), and ensemble members Wesley Daniel, Nathaniel Elfant, and Max Fabian. Additional casting to be announced. Joining Bell on the creative team is Scenic Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Theresa Ham, Projections Designer Mike Tutaj, Sound Designer Christopher M. LaPorte, Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie, Assistant Director Eli N. Newell, and Verse Coach Ross Lehman.
In addition to the tour stops in Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will share Shakespeare with a one-night-only performance in Aurora at RiverEdge Park (360 N. Broadway St.) on Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.
Partnering with the Chicago Park District, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is offering ASL-interpreted performances at six of the eighteen Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour stops:
Sunday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. | Loyola Park (1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.)
Saturday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. | Ridge Park (1817 W. 96th St.)
Sunday, August 11 at 6:30 p.m. | Calumet Park (9801 S. Ave. G
Thursday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. | Piotrowski Park (4247 W. 31st St.)
Saturday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. | Welles Park (2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.)
Sunday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. | Ping Tom Memorial Park (1700 S. Wentworth Ave.)
Sign-interpreting the performances are Elizabeth Bartlow Breslin and Will Lee. Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will also offer an audio-described performance on Sunday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Frank J. Wilson Park (4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.) 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.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be-a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater's year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances-including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city's leading presenter of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater's nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago's most versatile performing arts center.
Photo Credit: Julie Stanton