James Vincent Merediths Lead CST's Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves

James Vincent Merediths Lead CST's Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announced today the casting for its 10th annual concert collaboration with The Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM), Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare, introducing families and children to the joys of live performance-through music performed by CCM ensemble members, and through the plays of Shakespeare brought to life by CST actors. Directed by Matt Schwader, who appears later this season in CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the scenes feature celebrated Chicago actors James Vincent Meredith as Prospero and Steve Haggard as Puck. Additional actors include Charin Alvarez, Susan Shunk, Penelope Walker and Eric Parks, who is currently performing in CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines' production of Elizabeth Rex at Chicago Shakespeare.

Performances of Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare run January 21 and 22, 2012 in CST's Courtyard Theater at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each day. Tickets are on sale now for $15–$18, and all patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

Bruce Adolphe's Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare was commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Chicago Chamber Musicians specifically for their annual Family Concert series, and premiered at CST in 2002. Adolphe's score portrays the magic found in William Shakespeare's plays as it is performed by CCM ensemble members, while characters from The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth are performed by CST artists: James Vincent Meredith as Prospero, Steve Haggard as Puck, Eric Parks as Mercutio, Penelope Walker as First Witch, Charin Alvarez as Second Witch and Susan Shunk as Third Witch. Adolphe will narrate the performance.

Seven of CCM's Ensemble Artists will play in the January concerts: Joseph Genualdi (violin), Charles Geyer (trumpet), Dennis Michel (bassoon), Brad Opland (double bass), Rami Solomonow (viola) and CCM founding members Gail Williams (horn) and GRAMMY winner Larry Combs (clarinet). Between concerts each day, interactive exhibits staged in the CST lobby will give children a chance to explore the instruments used in the concert-musicians will be available for autographs and young performers will demonstrate their craft and answer questions about the featured instruments.

The creative team for Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare includes Costume Coordinator Emily Tarleton, Wigs and Makeup Designer Melissa Veal and Lighting Designer Gary C. Echelmeyer.

About Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this season, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare's genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare's work has been recognized internationally with three of London's prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 62 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare; unlocking Shakespeare's work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago's cultural ambassador through its World's Stage Series.

At its permanent, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier, CST houses two intimate theater spaces: the 500-seat Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the 200-seat Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 500 performances, CST leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors and attracts 200,000 audience members annually-including nearly 16,000 subscribers and 40,000 students and teachers.

About The Chicago Chamber Musicians

Founded in 1986, The Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM) is celebrating its 25th season as a society of musicians and music devotees committed to building an internationally recognized chamber music institution in Chicago. Since its inception, CCM has launched a critically and popularly-acclaimed subscription series; an award-winning annual series of contemporary chamber music; a touring program; the annual Family Concerts; and a remarkable set of community service programs. A staunch advocate for new music, CCM has commissioned 17 works, and has received two ASCAP-Chamber Music America Awards for Adventurous Programming. CCM's recordings include previously unrecorded works from composers such as John Harbison, David Diamond and Bruce Adolphe as well as works from the chamber canon including the GRAMMY-finalist Chamber Works for Winds and Strings by Mozart. In 2011, CCM launched encoreCCM (encoreCCM.org), an online archive of CCM recordings and program notes, free to the public. Among CCM's numerous awards are the 2006 ABBY Award for Arts Management Excellence and the 2007 Chamber Ensemble of the Year Award from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Annually CCM shares the joy of chamber music with more than 300,000 radio listeners, audience members and students throughout Chicago. CCM is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Julius N. Frankel Foundation, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and Bentley-Forbes.

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