By Kenneth Jones
18 Jul 2011
The director of Broadway's The Color Purple is CST's associate artistic director. In addition to casting Oliver nominee Barrett (Off-Broadway's current Silence!, Broadway's Chicago, London's Kiss Me, Kate) as Ben, Olivier nominee O'Connor (London's Mack & Mabel) as Phyllis and Petkoff (Broadway's Ragtime, CST's Sunday in the Park With George, Hamlet) as Buddy, director Griffin is embracing a collection of Chicago's most beloved and busy leading ladies and character actresses for the revival of the splashy backstage musical by Stephen Sondheim and librettist James Goldman.
More than 40 actors and musicians will be part of the show, on CST's thrust mainstage space, the Courtyard Theater, on Chicago's Navy Pier. The limited five-week engagement of Follies runs Oct. 4-Nov. 6. CST is the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.
Veteran Chicago actor Mike Nussbaum (American Buffalo) will play aged impresario Dimitri Weismann, who hosts a reunion of his Follies performers at his crumbling, demolition-bound theatre. Stories are swapped, old songs are sung and illusions are kindled (and snuffed) in the groundbreaking 1971 musical about dreams, misspent love, youth, time and showbiz.
The cast for Follies also includes Bill Chamberlain as Roscoe and ensemble members Adrian Aguilar, Jen Donohoo, Jenny Guse, Amanda Kroiss and Christina Myers.
The creative team for Follies includes music director Brad Haak, scenic designer Kevin Depinet, costume designer Virgil Johnson, lighting designer Christine Binder, choreographer Alex Sanchez (Broadway's Fosse), sound designers Joshua Horvath and Ray Nardelli, wig and makeup designer Melissa Veal and properties master Chelsea Meyers.
For more information about the 25th season of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, call (312) 595-5600 or visit www.chicagoshakes.com.
Griffin's acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare production of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures was subsequently mounted at the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End, where it garnered three Laurence Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production. At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, Griffin staged critically acclaimed productions of West Side Story, Evita and this season's Camelot, and will return to direct the Festival's 2012 production of 42nd Street.
Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare under the leadership of artistic director Barbara Gaines and executive director Criss Henderson.
Follow Kenneth Jones on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.