In The News

Chicago commemorates four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death, Preview – Amazing Variety

Published November 18, 2015 in Chicago Splash Magazine.
The original article can be found here.


As the world commemorates the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, there is a yearlong international festival in 2016 brings together Chicago’s resident world-class institutions across disciplines, and welcomes leading artists from around the globe to make Chicago their stage. An amazing array of opportunities await you – one more fascinating than the next.


Cheek by Jowl & Moscow Drama Pushkin Theater
by William Shakespeare
directed by Declan Donnellan
presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater

in CST’s Courtyard Theater
January 27–31, 2016

Hailed in Moscow as “a shattering portrait of contemporary Russia” by Novaya Gazeta, this gripping production received five Golden Mask Award nominations, including Best Director for Declan Donnellan and Best Large Scale Drama Production. With his unique brew of laughter and high seriousness, Shakespeare dissects the nature of government, love and justice—asking unsettling questions about how we are governed, and exploring the complex relationships between those in power and ordinary citizens.

Performed in Russian with projected English translation.

Tickets: $68–$78 • 312.595.5600


Belarus Free Theatre
by William Shakespeare
directed by Vladimir Shcherban
adapted by Nicolai Khalezin
presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
February 5–14, 2016

Belarus Free Theatre returns to Chicago following widely acclaimed productions of Being Harold Pinterand Minsk 2011, a reply to Kathy Acker. Featuring tempestuous poetic language and shot through with touches of humor and moments of heart-rending simplicity, this production is one of the most striking and relevant artistic explorations of the human condition. London’s The Guardian declares it “a Lear returned vividly to its roots: as a comic folktale that shatters into tragedy.” Founded in 2005 under Europe’s last surviving dictatorship, Belarus Free Theatre is one of the most outspoken critics of Belarus’ repressive regime and is banned from performing in their own country. Many company members have served time in prison, lost their jobs, gone into hiding or been exiled. Despite this, the company continues to create award-winning work with the support of artists around the world.

Performed in Belarusian with projected English translation.

Tickets: $48–$58 • 312.595.5600


Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chicago Shakespeare Theater
conducted by Edwin Outwater
adapted and directed by David H. Bell

at Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Center
February 13, 2016

The Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater developed two programs as part of the CSO’s annual school and family concert series. The CSO orchestra, conducted by Edwin Outwater, and a cast of Chicago Shakespeare actors directed by David Bell, perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream for schools and families with children ages 5–11. The performances include memorable scenes by the cast as the orchestra highlights various composers’ interpretations of these classic Shakespeare stories. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

February 13, 2016 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

Tickets: $6–$57 • 312.294.3000


Chicago a cappella & Chicago Shakespeare Theater

adapted & directed by Tom Mula
musical direction by John William Trotter

Locations across Chicago
February 13–21, 2016

The words of William Shakespeare are illuminated through innovative and artful a cappella music as actors from Chicago Shakespeare join singers from Chicago a cappella onstage to enhance the drama. Sonnets and soliloquies are set to music by brilliant composers from around the world. Chicago a cappella principal Music Director John William Trotter prepares this exciting musical celebration to honor the Bard’s 400-year legacy.

Tickets: $12–$38 • 773.281.7820


Oxford Playhouse
written by and starring Paterson Joseph
Presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
February 17–21, 2016

Celebrated Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paterson Joseph (Julius Caesar, HBO’s The Leftovers) inhabits the curious, daringly determined life of Charles “Sancho” Ignatius—composer, social satirist, general man of refinement. Born on a slave ship but never a slave, immortalized by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough, in 1774 Sancho became the first black person of African origin to vote in Britain. Among Sancho’s circle of friends was David Garrick, celebrated Shakespeare actor and theater owner. Sancho was a renowned man of letters and quotes Shakespeare in his numerous letters more than any other author. This endlessly revealing, often funny one-man show casts a new light on the often misunderstood narratives of African-British experience. UK’s The Public Reviews declares “Joseph is a superb storyteller… he brings Sancho to life in a revealing, poignant and funny show.”

Tickets: $38–$48 • 312.595.5600


Chicago Shakespeare Theater
by William Shakespeare
directed by Jonathan Munby

in CST’s Courtyard Theater
February 18–April 10, 2016

Fresh from Shakespeare’s Globe and Royal Shakespeare Company, renowned British director Jonathan Munby returns to Chicago to stage Shakespeare’s most intimate tragedy. In a black and white world, Othello and Desdemona fall in love, but the distinguished commander knows no maneuvers for the affairs of the heart. A stranger in a strange land, he falls under Iago’s spell, mistaking a lethal enemy for his closest ally. This production, featuring James Vincent Meredith in the title role, places Othello on a U.S. military base, heightening the tension of violence and the fear of the outsider. Here, Shakespeare excavates the most elemental of human emotions: the all-consuming passion of love—and jealousy.

Tickets: $48–$88 • 312.595.5600


Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Romeo and Juliet, featured as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by Matthias Baus

Lyric Opera of Chicago
by Charles Gounod
conducted by Emmanuel Villaume
directed by Bartlett Sher

Lyric Opera of Chicago
February 22–March 19, 2016

The world’s most famous love story finds new dimension in Gounod’s deeply romantic music. He’s a Montague and she’s a Capulet—families who have hated each other for centuries. Yet when Romeo meets Juliet, they fall instantly and rapturously in love. Secretly, they marry—but Shakespeare’s famed young couple is ultimately doomed. Everything that could have been is lost as they die tragically in each other’s arms. This is passion personified, from tender intimacy to ecstatic grandeur, including five iconic love duets and soaring music for the chorus and orchestra. With her “exquisite” voice of “purity and bloom” (The New York Times), Susanna Phillips is a Juliet to remember, while Joseph Calleja and Eric Cutler embody all the elegance and golden ardor that Romeo demands.

Performed in French with projected English translation.

Tickets: $20–$239 • 312.827.5600


Hamburg Ballet

Presented by and performed at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance
February 23 & 24, 2016

Hamburg Ballet brings Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s seminal tragedy Othello to the Harris Theater. Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies the dance with music by Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, and Naná Vasconcelos. The enduring story of love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge draws the audience into its tangled web of deceit and manipulation. Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, wins the heart of Desdemona, a Senator’s daughter, and they are married in secret. Driven by his own jealousy, Othello’s captain Iago seeks revenge by stirring Othello into a manufactured rage. The destructive course of action is set and the unfortunate fate of all is sealed. Splash Magazine declares this production exemplifies “emotional depth and power… elegant lyricism.”

February 23, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
February 24, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $35–$125 • 312.334.7777


Forced Entertainment
Presented by Museum of Contemporary Art & Chicago Shakespeare Theater

MCA Stage
February 26 & 27, 2016

A salt and pepper pot for the king and queen. A ruler for the prince. A spoon for the servant. Forced Entertainment has created condensed versions of every Shakespeare play ever written, comically and intimately retelling them using a collection of everyday objects on the one meter stage of a table top. Over two nights, (In) Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare shares eight of these interpretations. Each performance invites the audience to witness the idiosyncratic summary of different narratives—be it comedy, tragedy, history or late play—creating worlds as vivid as they are strange.

February 26, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.
February 27, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.

Tickets: start at $10 • 312.397.4010


UChicago Arts
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
February 27, 2016

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, the winter concert features the Decani, the professional semi-chorus of the Rockefeller Chapel Choir, in an a cappella celebration of Thomas Tallis and the Elizabethans, including Tallis’ famous Lamentations, paired with settings of Shakespeare texts by Shulamit Ran.

February 27, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $10, free to all students with university ID • 773.702.ARTS


Filter Theatre in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
March 1–13, 2016

Two worlds collide in Filter Theatre’s explosive take on Shakespeare’s lyrical Twelfth Night, originally commissioned for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival in 2006. This story of romance, satire and mistaken identity combines dynamic narrative drive with a torrent of sound and music. Olivia’s melancholic, puritanical household clashes head on with Sir Toby’s insatiable appetite for drunken debauchery. Orsino’s relentless pursuit of Olivia and Malvolio’s extraordinary transformation typify the madness of love in Illyria: land of make-believe and illusion. Experience the madness of love in this heady world where riotous gig meets Shakespeare. The Guardian raves, “The real virtue of this production is that it puts the fun back, and allows us to become participants in a feast of misrule.”

Tickets: $48–$78 • 312.595.5600


Chicago Shakespeare Theater
adapted and directed by Kirsten Kelly

in CST’s Courtyard Theater
March 5–April 9, 2016

This 75-minute abridged production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is designed to immerse students, young audiences and families alike in the playwright’s timeless work. A pair of shipwrecked twins set into motion a tale of mistaken identity and unlikely love. Separated from her brother Sebastian, the quick-thinking Viola adopts a male disguise and enters the service of the handsome Duke Orsino—only to find herself in the middle of a triangle of unrequited love. Following each performance, the actors remain on stage for a question-and-answer session, then join the audience in the Lobby for conversations and photos.

Tickets: $22–34 • 312.595.5600


Illinois Humanities & Chicago Shakespeare Theater
featuring Professor Michael Sandel

in CST’s Courtyard Theater
March 21, 2016

Are there some things money can’t buy? Do we have obligations to each other as citizens? The public is invited to participate in an evening of dramatic interpretations and public debate. This one-night-only event will include Shakespeare readings by Chicago Shakespeare actors as well as a lively town-hall conversation with the audience conducted by Harvard professor and best-selling author Michael Sandel about the way the language of money has been taking over our lives–the subject of his recent book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets.

March 21, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.

Tickets: $10
A limited number of seats are available free of charge through Illinois Humanities. • 312.595.5600