Shakespeare Project Of Chicago Presents Free Performances Of ROMEO AND JULIET

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Shakespeare Project Of Chicago Presents Free Performances Of ROMEO AND JULIET

The Shakespeare Project of Chicago continues its 25th Theatrical Reading Season with free performances of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy ROMEO AND JULIET, running Feb. 21-27, 2020, at eight Chicago-area venues.

ROMEO AND JULIET, published in the quarto around 1597, is one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays. The classic tale of 'star-crossed lovers' is, next to HAMLET, one of the most frequently performed Shakespearean plays - both during his time and ours. Although the play begins with a street fight between the factions of Montague and Capulet (broken up rather quickly by the Prince), ROMEO AND JULIET appears at first blush to be mostly comedy. The dramatic action is rife with excited marriage planning, falling in love, romantic counsel, teenage antics, a fabulous party and one of the most poetic love scenes in all literature. But with the death of the Prince's cousin Mercutio, the play turns darkly to tragedy. The ancient feud between warring families surges to the fore: violence erupts, Romeo is banished and a dangerous plot is hatched when Juliet is promised in marriage to the County Paris. And the wheel of fate turns once more - unable to relinquish their ancient feud, the families pay the ultimate price for their passion, when Romeo and Juliet choose to take their lives rather than live without one another.

Michelle Shupe, the Shakespeare Project associate artistic director, directs a cast that includes Tyshon Boone (Romeo), Sir King Castro (Benvolio), Matt Gall (Tybalt), Peter Garino (Prince/Peter), Charls Hall (Friar Laurence), Kelly Lynn Hogan (Lady Capulet), Khnemu Menu-Ra (Paris), Corliss Preston (Montague/Apothecary), Grace Smith (Mercutio), Randy Steinmeyer (Lord Capulet), Pricilla Torres (Juliet) and Barbara Zahora (Nurse). Madeline Bunke and Scott Myers are the understudies.

The production features sound design and music by George Zahora. Judy Blue is the assistant director and Kraig Kelsey is the dramaturg.

ROMEO AND JULIET is presented in memory of David Bevington.

The Shakespeare Project of Chicago's theatrical readings are fully staged, book-in-hand performances featuring members of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

Admission is free and seating is limited. All performances are preceded by an introduction to the play that commences 15 minutes prior to curtain.

Performance schedule

- Friday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m., Niles-Maine District Library, 6960 W. Oakton St., Niles (registration required, 847-663-1234, register)
- Saturday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m., Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago (registration required, register)
- Saturday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m., Wilmette Public Library, 1242 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette
- Sunday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m., Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Ave., Highland Park
- Monday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m., Vernon Area Public Library, 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire (registration required, 847-634-3650, register)
- Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., Mount Prospect Public Library, 10 S. Emerson St., Mount Prospect (registration required, 847-253-5675, register)
- Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m., Des Plaines Public Library, 1501 Ellinwood St., Des Plaines (registration required, 847-376-2788, register)
- Thursday, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m., Elmhurst Public Library, 125 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst (registration required, 630-279-8696, register)

The Shakespeare Project's 25th Theatrical Reading Season, composed solely of works by Shakespeare, kicked off in October with HAMLET, directed by J.R. Sullivan. In January, Artistic Director Peter Garino directed RICHARD III. One of Shakespeare's "problem plays," MEASURE FOR MEASURE, directed by Erin Sloan in her Project directorial debut, will conclude the season in May.

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