CST artistic director Barbara Gaines will direct the production that runs Nov. 29-Jan. 22, 2012. With the blessing of the Findley estate, the Chicago production of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival-born play will appear in a slightly revised, smaller-cast version.
"Set in Shakespeare's time," according to the Tony Award-honored CST, "Elizabeth Rex is a fictional drama based on an obscure historical fact: on the eve of the beheading of her court favorite and rumored lover, the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth was entertained with a royal command performance by William Shakespeare and his company. Findley's daring and original play imagines the troubled Queen's impassioned confrontation with an ailing actor [Sutcliffe] — who dares to reveal the woman buried beneath the role of the Virgin Queen."
Stratford Shakespeare Festival veteran actor Diane D'Aquila will play Queen Elizabeth, the role she originated in the award-winning play's first production.
Sutcliffe, a Drama Desk Award nominee for Ragtime and a veteran of the Shaw Festival, will be the Queen's sparring partner, Ned.
Longtime CST actor Kevin Gudahl, in his 29th role at CST, will play William Shakespeare.
The company will also feature Bradley Armacost as Percy, Torrey Hanson as Lord Cecil, Eric Parks as Matt, Andrew Rothenberg as Jack and Mary Ann Thebus as Tardy. Making their CST debuts are Brenda Barrie as Lady Mary and Matt Farabee as Harry.
Performances play CST's Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier. For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/rex.