Gary Griffin Directs FOLLIES at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
Gary Griffin is directing Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's first production of the 2011-12 season, FOLLIES. The production will play today through November 6. For additional information, visit: www.chicagoshakes.com
Griffin made his Broadway debut with The Color Purple in 2005. Also in New York, Griffin has directed The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English, and The New Moon for City Center Encores! and Beautiful Thing at the Cherry Lane Theatre. His production of Pacific Overtures was seen at London's Donmar Warehouse and received the Olivier Award for "Outstanding Musical Production".
He is associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre where he has directed A Little Night Music and Sunday in the Park with George. His production of My Fair Lady played both the McCarter Theatre and Hartford Stage last season after its debut at Chicago's Court Theatre. Griffin has received eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing and has twice been named a "Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts" by the Chicago Tribune. In 2009 he directed a much lauded production of "West Side Story" at the Stratford Festival of Canada.
Follies is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. The story concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the "Weismann's Follies," a musical revue (based on the Ziegfeld Follies), that played in that theatre between the World Wars. It focuses on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Benjamin and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion. Sally and Phyllis were showgirls in the Follies. Both couples are deeply unhappy with their marriages. Buddy, a traveling salesman, is having an affair with a girl on the road; Sally is still as much in love with Ben as she was years ago; and Ben is so self-absorbed that Phyllis feels emotionally abandoned. Several of the former showgirls perform their old numbers, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves.
Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) offers a broad spectrum of theatrical experiences year-round, engaging and entertaining audiences from all walks of life and from around the world. CST has garnered acclaim under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, including 55 Joseph Jefferson Awards and three Laurence Olivier Awards. The Theater has experienced record growth since moving to its current, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier in 1999, and will celebrate its 25th Anniversary next season.
The 38-play canon of William Shakespeare forms the core of CST's work and Subscription Series, complemented by other dramatic works-from traditional classical theater to new classics that resonate with Shakespeare's timeless insights into the human condition. Through a 48-week season encompassing more than 600 performances, Chicago Shakespeare leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors. CST also contributes to an international community of creative exchange through its World's Stage Series, which affords Chicago audiences prime opportunities to experience the cultural and artistic traditions of some of the world's iconic theater troupes as well as sending some of CST's best works abroad. Chicago Shakespeare is committed to making theater an expansive, ever-changing and lifelong relationship. For family audiences, CST Family presents abridged Shakespeare productions, timeless fables and fairy tales, interactive music concerts and world-premiere musical theater created with families in mind. CST's education outreach program, Team Shakespeare, has served over 1 million students and teachers throughout the Midwest, introducing the Bard's legacy to a new generation.