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Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Pairs of Shakespeare, Sondheim Top 13–14 Bill

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy PierChicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson announced this week CST’s 2013–2014 Season, which includes William Shakespeare’s popular comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Gaines; Shakespeare’s epic history play Henry V, staged by acclaimed British director Christopher Luscombe; and Edmond Rostand’s classic romance Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by Penny Metropulos and featuring Harry Groener in the title role.

Continuing CST’s exploration of the Stephen Sondheim canon—which started with the Olivier and Jeff Award–winning Pacific Overtures (2001) and most recently with the highly acclaimed productions Follies (2011) and Sunday in the Park with George (2012)—Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin stages two musicals spanning Sondheim’s prolific career, each propelled by uncompromising characters in pursuit of the American Dream. In productions scheduled to run simultaneously in two CST theater spaces, Gypsy will be produced in the Courtyard Theater, and Road Show, formerly under the title Bounce and reworked and premiered at The Public Theater in 2008, will be re-imagined by Griffin in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare.

“Every production in the 2013–2014 Series will breathe new life into some of the most alluring characters to inhabit cherished, classic stories,” Gaines said in a press release. “From Falstaff to King Henry V, Cyrano to Momma Rose and the restless Mizner brothers, larger-than-life personalities will appear in intimate proximity with our audience. Each production will illuminate the human condition—in love and war, success and failure—with bold drama, laughter, and music.”

Chicago Shakespeare’s heralded World’s Stage Series continues to bring international artists to Chicago, to develop new work with theater artists from around the globe, and to export CST productions abroad. The initial offerings slated for the 2013–2014 World’s Stage Series include, from Cornwall, England, the long-awaited Chicago debut of the internationally acclaimed Kneehigh (The Wild Bride, Brief Encounter, The Red Shoes), with their audacious signature work Tristan & Yseult; and Australia’s one step at a time like this returns to Chicago following their acclaimed 2011 urban journey, en route, with a second CST-commission inspired by Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Touring Chicago-made productions abroad, the CST-commissioned Cadre by Omphile Molusi and Othello: The Remix, created by the Q Brothers, are slated for international engagements next season, traveling to London, Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Adelaide. Additional World's Stage productions will be announced in the months ahead.

In a season that embarks on Chicago Shakespeare’s boldest exploration of the Sondheim canon, it is especially fitting that the Tony Award– and Pulitzer Prize–winning composer/lyricist will receive from CST the Spirit of Shakespeare Award, along with Mayor Richard M. Daley. As the Artistic Honoree, Sondheim will be recognized for his preeminent contribution to American theater and the celebrated productions of his work staged by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin. Former Mayor Daley, honored for the first time since leaving office, is this year’s Civic Honoree. The Theater will recognize Daley’s unparalleled commitment to strengthening the artistic landscape of our City and advancing Chicago as a global cultural destination. The Spirit of Shakespeare awards will be presented at CST’s annual Gala, kicking off the new season on June 17, 2013. Both honorees will be in attendance.

March 20, 2013

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