London's Bush Theatre artistic director Josie Rourke directs the 2008-09 CST season closer, on the lip of Lake Michigan. In the play, Sebastian and Viola — twins separated in a shipwreck — wash ashore on the strange land, each thinking the other dead. Making their CST debuts as the stranded twins are Michelle Beck and Peterson Townsend.
Costume and scenic designs are by Lucy Osborne, who will fill CST's thrust stage with water. She said in a statement, "We wanted to set the play on a pier — on this pier here in Chicago. There's something about a pier that suggests a voyage into the unknown. People like venturing out, we like to go out into open spaces, and pleasure piers are just fundamentally playful and sort of decadent."
Rourke, a celebrated director of both classical and contemporary theatre, makes her Chicago debut. She was recently appointed artistic director of London's Bush Theatre, a 36-year-old company that focuses on the development and presentation of new plays.
According to CST, "The tale of mistaken identities and mismatched loves is set into motion when Viola disguises herself as a man to serve as a page in the court of the love-sick Duke Orsino. She becomes enamored with the Duke who pines for the Countess Olivia, who in turn wants nothing to do with him and instead falls in love with the Duke's new page. As the confusion persists, the surly Sir Toby Belch and his fellow pranksters humiliate the brooding steward, Malvolio, for trying to curb their merriment. Throughout all the chaos, Sebastian and Viola find each other and all, with the exception of an irate Malvolio, are reconciled." The Twelfth Night acting company features Scott Jaeck as Sir Toby Belch; Ross Lehman as Feste; Mark L. Montgomery as Orsino; Larry Yando as Malvolio; Karen Aldridge (seen earlier this season at CST in Macbeth and Edward II) as Olivia; Joel Stanley Huff as First Officer; Ora Jones as Maria; Dan Kenney as Andrew Aguecheek; John Lister as Sea Captain/Priest; Dan Sanders-Joyce as Fabian; and Chris Sullivan as Antonio.
Additional cast members include Creighton Hofeditz as Musician, Dominic Johnson as Musician, Cristina Panfilio as Gentlewoman, Edgar Miguel Sanchez as Valentine, with Walter Owen Briggs, Brandon Ford and Jonathan Helvey.
Twelfth Night's production team includes lighting designer Robert Wierzel, sound designer James Savage, wig and makeup designer Melissa Veal, composer Alaric Jans and properties master Kate Glodoski.
For more information call (312) 595-5600 or visit www.chicagoshakes.com.