Tom Waits, Little Mermaid and Six-Hour Shakespeare Cycle Plays Slated for Chicago Shakespeare Season

News   Tom Waits, Little Mermaid and Six-Hour Shakespeare Cycle Plays Slated for Chicago Shakespeare Season
Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced its 2015-16 season. Included in the new season line-up are a musical re-imagining of The Tempest featuring music by Tom Waits, an adaptation of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid and the world premiere of artistic director Barbara Gaines' two six-hour Shakespeare cycle-plays, decades in the making. 

This summer, CTS will offer a newly adapted 75-minute production of family favorite Disney's Little Mermaid, based on the full-length Broadway musical. Chicago Shakespeare in the Park, the free performance event, will also return for another year with Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, bringing his most memorable characters and scenes to life in a medley that blends contemporary music with the classic tales.

The new season will officially kick off with two musicals: one old, one new. In the Courtyard theatre, CST will present a musical re-imagining of The Tempest, adapted by Aaron Posner and Teller, with music by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, and featuring choreography by dance collective Pilobolus. Following his acclaimed performance as King Lear last year, Larry Yando returns to play Prospero in this classic tale of love and revenge.

The upstairs theatre will see the staging of new musical Ride the Cyclone, with book, music and lyrics by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell, to be choreographed and directed by Rachel Rockwell and featuring musical direction by Doug Peck. The premiere, about six teenagers whose lives are cut short in a freak roller-coaster accident, is billed as "at once quirky and smart, edgy and beautiful."

The year will come to a close with David Ives' cheeky romp, The Heir Apparent, to be directed by longtime Ives collaborator and Tony winner John Rando. The adaptation of Le Légataire Universel by Jean-François Regnard blends seventeenth century bawdiness with contemporary slang and Ives' signature wit.

In February 2016, CST will launch "Shakespeare 400," a celebration of the bard's four century legacy. The event will begin with a staging of one of his most famous works, Othello, to be directed by Jonathan Munby and starring Dion Johnstone in the title role. The season will conclude with Tug of War: Foreign Fire and Tug of War: Civil Strife, the world premiere of artistic director Barbara Gaines' two six-hour Shakespeare cycle-plays. Each installment, which includes several intermissions and meal break, explores the cannon of works Edward III, Henry V, Henry VI, Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3 and Richard III.

CST will also present Madsummer, a hip-hop adaptation by the Q Brothers of A Midsummer Night’s Dream into a contemporary, high-energy performance experience, as well as Short Shakespeare! Twelfth Night, an abridged production designed for students and younger audiences.

For more information, including the full line-up, visit

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