California Shakespeare Theater announced today that it will present the world premiere of The Great Tragedies: Mike Daisey Takes on Shakespeare, October 2 through October 12 at the Bruns Amphitheater. Created especially for Cal Shakes 40th anniversary, each of Daisey's four monologues will focus on one of Shakespeare's famous tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear. Each evening is unique and can be viewed independently; all four together form an epic oral accounting of triumph and folly told with Daisey's dark and hilarious intensity.

Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone says, "I love the way Mike takes aspects of our culture on-he's fearless, fiercely articulate, but like a jazz musician, working from a theme-in this case, Shakespeare, and wrestling with it with the entirety of his wit and intellect, right in front of your eyes. The Theater of Mike Daisey is fully, undeniably alive, and I am thrilled to have him explore Shakespeare's great tragedies on our stage."

Mike Daisey has been called "the master storyteller" and "one of the finest solo performers of his generation" by The New York Times for his groundbreaking monologues which weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance to tell hilarious and heartbreaking stories that cut to the bone, exposing secret histories and unexpected connections. His controversial work, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, was recognized as one of the year's best theater pieces by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, San Jose Mercury News, and The San Francisco Bay Guardian.

As a playwright, his transcript of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first week it was made available. Under a revolutionary open license it has seen more than fifty productions around the world and been translated into six languages. The first Chinese production opened last year in Beijing, and will tour to Hong Kong and Shenzhen this year.

Since his first monologue in 1997, Daisey has created over twenty monologues, including the critically-acclaimed The Last Cargo Cult, the controversial How Theater Failed America, the twenty-four-hour feat All the Hours in the Day, the unrepeatable series All Stories Are Fiction, the four-part epic Great Men of Genius, and the international sensation 21 Dog Years. Other titles include If You See Something Say Something, Barring the Unforeseen, Invincible Summer, Monopoly!, Tongues Will Wag, I Miss the Cold War, and Teching in India.

He has performed in venues on five continents, ranging from Off-Broadway at the Public Theater to remote islands in the South Pacific, from the Sydney Opera House to an abandoned theater in post-Communist Tajikistan. He's been a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, the Late Show with David Letterman, a longtime host and storyteller for The Moth, as well as a commentator and contributor to The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper's Magazine, The Daily Beast, WIRED, Vanity Fair, Slate, Salon, NPR and the BBC. In a brief, meteoric career with This American Life, his two shows are the most listened to and downloaded episodes of that program's eighteen-year history. He is currently at work on his second book, an anthology of his monologues, and he stars in the Lawrence Krauser feature Horrible Child. He has been nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama League Awards, and is the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, five Seattle Times Footlight Awards, the Sloan Foundation's Galileo Prize, and a MacDowell Fellowship.

Jean-Michele Gregory works as a director, editor, and dramaturg, focusing on extemporaneous theatrical works that live in the moment they are told. Working primarily with solo artists, for sixteen years she has been Mike Daisey's chief co-conspirator, staging his monologues at venues across the globe including the Public Theater, the Sydney Opera House, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, the Spoleto Festival, T:BA Festival, Under the Radar Festival, and many more. Notable works with Daisey include The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, How Theater Failed America, Great Men of Genius, The Last Cargo Cult, American Utopias, and most recently, All the Faces of the Moon, a 29-part epic story told over one lunar cycle in collaboration with painter Larissa Tokmakova as part of the Public Theater's 2013 season.

Other notable collaborators include New York storyteller Martin Dockery, whose shows she's directed in New York and San Francisco (Wanderlust, The Surprise), and author and performer Suzanne Morrison with productions in London, New York, Seattle, Atlanta, and Maui (Yoga Bitch, Optimism).

Her productions have received the Bay Area Critics Circle Award (Great Men of Genius), nominations from the Drama League and Outer Critics Circle (If You See Something Say Something), and six Seattle Times Footlight Awards (21 Dog Years, The Ugly American, Monopoly!, The Last Cargo Cult, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, and Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand).

She has taught the art of first person narrative at Colby College and told her own stories onstage with The Moth, The Liar Show, and Speakeasy. Her writing has appeared in Brevity and in profiles for The New York Sun and Barnard magazine. She is currently at work on a memoir about her family's exodus from Poland and what it means to forgive.

Tickets for current Cal Shakes subscribers are now on sale, with tickets to the general public available starting July 21. Special discounted package prices for tickets to all four shows in The Great Tragedies: Mike Daisey Takes on Shakespeare are $120-$135, a savings of 25% percent off the single ticket price. Single tickets are $40 and $45, with discounts available for subscribers and persons age 30 and under. Prices, dates, titles, and artists are subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available at

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