Jeffrey Carlson Is Chicago Shakespeare's Edward II, in "Promenade" Production

News   Jeffrey Carlson Is Chicago Shakespeare's Edward II, in "Promenade" Production
The Tony Award-honored Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) presents Edward II, the play by Shakespeare rival Christopher Marlowe, in a unique production in which audience and actor intermingle, through Nov. 9 following previews from Oct. 1.

Jeffrey Carlson (Broadway's Taboo, The Goat, CST's Henry IV) and Karen Aldridge (CST's Le Costume, Love's Labour's Lost) return to CST to play King Edward II and Queen Isabella. Press performances are scheduled for Oct. 7-8.

This marks the first Marlowe play to appear at CST. Director Sean Graney "brings a contemporary perspective" to the play, which has the complete title The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward II, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer.

Actors perform among standing members of the audience who are free to move about the space in this 75-minute "promenade" exploration of political power and deception, which marks a CST debut for both Marlowe and avant-garde Chicago director Graney.

Performances play Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, on Navy Pier in Chicago.

In addition to standing at promenade level, patrons also have the option of purchasing gallery seating. All promenade tickets are $20; gallery tickets are $42-$56. According to CST, "In Chicago Shakespeare's promenade production of Edward II, the audience enters the court of King Edward II and the intrigue surrounding Gaveston — the King's 'favorite' — and the neglected Queen Isabella. The return of Gaveston after his banishment by the late King Edward I is a cause for celebration for Edward II. The nobles, however, are enraged at the honors, riches and attention that the King lavishes upon the commoner Gaveston, rather than the affairs of state and his duties as a leader. The Queen and the nobleman Mortimer, involved in an elicit affair, escape to join a group of rebels. Violence ensues as loyalties change, leaving many dead and the English court in ruins."

La Shawn Banks makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut as Gaveston. The cast of Edward II also includes Kareem Bandealy as Earl of Arundel; Lea Coco as Kent; Scott Cummins as Mortimer the Younger; Kurt Ehrmann as Mortimer the Elder; Zach Gray as Prince Edward; Erik Hellman as Spencer; John Lister as Bishop of Canterbury; and Chris Sullivan as Lancaster. Alejandro Cordoba, Dane Halvorson, Max Jenkins and Andrew Taylor complete the ensemble.

The production team for Edward II includes Tony Award-winning scenic designer Todd Rosenthal (August: Osage County), costume designer Alison Siple, lighting designer Philip Rosenberg, wig and make-up designer Melissa Veal; composer Kevin O'Donnell and fight choreographer Matt Hawkins.

Director Graney is the founder and artistic director of The Hypocrites. He has received two Joseph Jefferson Citations for his productions of Equus by Peter Shaffer and Machinal by Sophie Treadwell and has received several nominations for the Joseph Jefferson Award for New Adaptation. He is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors, was called Chicago's Best Avant-Garde Director by Chicago Magazine and named Chicagoan of the Year for Theatre by Chicago Tribune. Originally from Boston, Graney received his BFA Arts in theatre and writing from Emerson College.

Tickets to Edward II can be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater's box office at (312) 595-5600 or by visiting the theatre's website at

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