Chicago Shakespeare To Stage Henry V, Harry Groener as Cyrano, Plus Gypsy, Road Show and More
By Kenneth Jones
March 11, 2013
Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 2013-14 season will feature The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, Harry Groener as Cyrano de Bergerac and a simultaneous pairing of works by Stephen Sondheim representing his early and late career.
Artistic director Barbara Gaines and executive director Criss Henderson announced CST's coming season in March 10. It will include Gypsy, by Sondheim, Jule Styne and Arthur Laurents, on the mainstage Courtyard Theater, and Road Show, by Sondheim and John Weidman, on the Upstairs stage. Associate artistic director Gary Griffin will direct both, with several weeks of the runs overlapping, continuing his and CST's reputation as the city's major recent producer of the works of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-lyricist (Griffin staged Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park With George and Follies there).
CST will also welcome international troupes — including the Chicago debut of England's Kneehigh (known for Brief Encounter), with its signature work Tristan & Yseult — as part of the World's Stage Series.
As previously announced, a summer 2013 production of Shrek the Musical will be offered to family audiences.
Sondheim will receive from CST the Spirit of Shakespeare Award, along with Mayor Richard M. Daley. 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.
Here's CST's 2013-14 season at a glance:
Cyrano de Bergerac
Sept. 24-Nov. 10
By Edmond Rostand
Translated and adapted for the stage by Anthony Burgess
Directed by Penny Metropulos
"Cyrano, a brilliant soldier and intellectual with a rather large nose, believes he is too ugly to be loved. Eloquently expressing his passion for Roxane in poetry through a handsome, young cadet, he courts his love to humorous and near disastrous results. Staged by Penny Metropulos and featuring Harry Groener in the title role, Cyrano de Bergerac reunites the artistic team of CST's acclaimed 2011 production The Madness of George III (Jeff Award, Production of a Play) in this homage to love and poetry."
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Dec. 3, 2013-Jan. 19, 2014
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Barbara Gaines
"Chicago Shakespeare Theater celebrates the holidays with Sir John Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s favorite clowns, rollicking through his misadventures in the play that is considered one of the world’s first situation comedies. Merriment ensues as the shenanigans of the lovable rogue find him hard up for money, wooing the wives of Windsor's gentlemen with hilarious consequences."
Feb. 6-March 23, 2014
Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Gary Griffin
"This great American musical was inspired by memoirs of the famous strip-tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee and features her larger-than-life, domineering stage mother. Under the direction of acclaimed Sondheim interpreter Gary Griffin, Momma Rose struggles to live out her dreams through her daughters' careers during the waning years of the vaudeville circuit."
March 13-May 4, 2014
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Directed by Gary Griffin
Based on the story of Wilson and Addison Mizner
"Constantly reinventing themselves to achieve success in the first part of the twentieth century, the legendary brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner embark on a musical journey that spans decades. Traversing America from Alaska to Florida, the brothers muscle through 'get-rich-quick-schemes' that explore the many sides of the American Dream."
April 29-June 15, 2014
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Christopher Luscombe
"Shakespeare's epic history play filled with rallies to battle and wartime crises tells the legendary coming-of-age story of the charismatic monarch. The play that launched CST on the rooftop of a pub in 1986 will receive its first staging in the Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier, revealing the story behind the young king and celebrating the power of language to summon battlefields and ignite souls to action."
A World's Stage Production From Australia
A "Live Art Event" by one step at a time like this
Based on William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure
Various locations in Chicago
"The Melbourne-based one step at a time like this focuses on the place and role of audience, emphasizing relationships between people and qualities of space and time. Following its acclaimed 2011 urban journey en route, the collective returns with a CST-commissioned, live art event inspired by Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and set in Chicago."
A World's Stage Production From Cornwall, England
Kneehigh's Tristan & Yseult
March 30-April 13, 2014
By Anna Maria Murphy and Carl Grose
Adapted and directed by Emma Rice
"The 12th-century poem, transformed into a 21st-century theatre production, tells the story of a love triangle that envelops an Irish beauty, a Cornish king and a French knight. Reclaiming Cornwall's oldest love story, this audacious British company brings their brand of cheeky humor and Wagnerian intensity with a blend of comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths."
Shrek The Musical
July 13-Sept. 1, 2013
Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Based on the Academy Award-winning DreamWorks film and the book by William Steig
"CST's 75-minute production of Shrek The Musical, staged by Jeff Award-winning director Rachel Rockwell, tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim his once-secluded home. Accompanied by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon and rescues the cursed princess Fiona, discovering the value of friendship and realizing that true love is more than skin deep."
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Also coming up at the Tony Award-winning CST:
Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet (Saturdays at 11 AM through March 23, 2013) staged by Rachel Rockwell; the CST-commissioned Othello: The Remix (March 12-April 28, 2013), written, directed and with music by Chicago's own Q Brothers, following its world premiere at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad at Shakespeare's Globe; Roadkill (May 11-26, 2013), the site-specific theatrical and multi-media event conceived and directed by Cora Bissett; William Shakespeare's Henry VIII (April 30-June 16, 2013), directed by Barbara Gaines; and the celebration of The Year of Italian Culture in America with Piccolo Teatro di Milano's production Inner Voices (June 25-29, 2013).