Kareem Bandealy Set for The Gift's OTHELLO

Kareem Bandealy Set for The Gift's OTHELLO

The Gift Theatre has announced that Kareem Bandealy will star as Othello and artistic director and ensemble member Michael Patrick Thornton will play villainous Iago in its production of William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello, directed by Jonathan Berry (Dirty). This marks The Gift Theatre's first Shakespeare production ever mounted in its intimate 40-seat theater and Berry's Shakespearean directorial debut.

"Kareem Bandealy is one of Chicago's most esteemed actors. We first collaborated years ago on Julius Caesar for A Crew of Patches Theatre, and this reunion for Othello is as overdue as it is exciting. We're ecstatic to welcome Kareem to The Gift," says Thornton.

Many of The Gift's ensemble members, including Thornton, have performed in Shakespeare productions separate from The Gift Theatre.

"I started my career in Chicago, like so many, doing Shakespeare at the Ivanhoe," says Thornton. "This would be my return to a playwright I've long loved performing since my spinal strokes. And what text did I use in Speech therapy at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to get build my voice back? Shakespeare."

Othello previews run July 10 - July 13 at the Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Opening night is Thursday, July 17. Press night is Monday, July 14. The show runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through August 31. Single tickets, $20-$35, are available at www.thegifttheatre.org or by calling the box office at 773-283-7071. Subscriptions to the entire 2014 season start at $75.

Kareem Bandealy was born in Karachi, Pakistan, brought up in the USA, and received his BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Central Florida. He is an Ensemble Member of American Theater Company, an Associate Artist of Silk Road Rising and a newly appointed Artistic Associate at Lookingglass Theatre Company. His Chicago theater credits include: The Wheel (Steppenwolf); Blood and Gifts (TimeLine); The Little Prince, the World Premiere of Keith Huff's Big Lake, Big City, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The Last Act of Lilka Kadison and Peter Pan (Lookingglass); Rock 'N' Roll, Gas for Less, King Lear (Goodman); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edward II and Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Illusion (Court Theatre); Heartbreak House and The Caretaker (Writers Theatre); It's a Wonderful Life, Oklahoma! (American Theater Company); The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo); Wedding Play (About Face); and Our Enemies, Back of the Throat, 10 Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith (Silk Road Rising). Regional credits: The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Three Musketeers, The Tempest (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Love's Labour's Lost (Notre Dame Summer Shakespeare Festival); Stuff Happens, Julius Caesar (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre); and four seasons at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. He has also appeared in commercials and feature films, and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association as well as SAG and AFTRA. In 2011, he received the 3Arts Artist Award.

Michael Patrick Thornton, artistic director and co-founder of The Gift Theatre, was most recently seen onstage in Actors Theater of Louisville's presentation of Our Town and the Kennedy Center workshop of fellow Gift ensemble member Andrew Hinderaker's Colossal. Previous stage credits include: the World Premiere of Hinderaker's Dirty at The Gift, the U.S. Premiere of Absolute Hell at The Gift directed by fellow Gift ensemble member Sheldon Patinkin and the Midwest Premiere of Will Eno's Middletown at Steppenwolf, directed by Les Waters. He is currently in Melissa Ross's Thinner Than Water at The Gift directed by ensemble member John Gawlik. Michael directed the Chicago Premiere of Will Eno's Oh, The Humanity (and other exclamations) at The Gift as well as Of Mice and Men at Steppenwolf. Other directing with The Gift includes: Prairie View, Night & Her Stars, Stop/Kiss; Santa's Great American Depression Holiday Show! America; White People; Three Sisters; Long Day's Journey Into Night; Hurlyburly (Joseph Jefferson Award: Actor In Leading Role); A Young Man In Pieces; Language Of Angels; County Fair; and Orestes 2.0. Other directing: the World Premieres of Sean Graney's IS N UR B1UDS7REEM...and Mark Harvey Levine's LA 8AM (Collaboraction Sketchbook) and Picasso At The Lapin Agile (Noble Fool). Michael was a very grateful assistant director on Steppenwolf's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning August: Osage County. In March 2015, he will appear in Will Eno's one-man show Title & Deed at Lookingglass.

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