Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2019–2020 season will launch September 12 with David Seidler’s play The King’s Speech, the true story of the unlikely bond between King George VI and his charismatic subject—Australian migrant Lionel Logue—that inspired the Oscar-winning film.
Directed by Michael Wilson, the North American premiere production will continue through October 27 before playing engagements at other theatres across the country.
The forthcoming season will also include Romeo and Juliet (November 1–December 22), helmed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines; South Africa-based Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope (October 4–13), about one young Somalian refugee’s odyssey across a continent; Makuyeika Theatre Collective’s Andares (October 23–27), which chronicles the lives of indigenous youth in México and is directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu; Paul Gordon’s musical version of Jane Austen’s Emma (January 28–March 15, 2020), also directed by Gaines; a ‘60s-inspired take on As You Like It (May 1–June 21), adapted and directed by Daryl Cloran, artistic director of Canada’s Citadel Theatre; and the return of the Royal Shakespeare Company with a Shakespeare work to be announced.
Also in the lineup: the new opera Blue by Tony-winning Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori and director, playwright, and librettist Tazewell Thompson. Presented in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, performances are scheduled for June 19–28. Blue brings audiences into the emotional epicenter as an African-American couple is faced with the sudden death of their son. The opera was also recently announced for Washington National Opera's upcoming season.
Director Brian Hill and choreographer Kenny Ingram will also join forces to bring new life to The Wizard of Oz (July 6–August 25, 2019, on the Navy Pier) and the “Free for All” Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of The Comedy of Errors, adapted and directed by David H. Bell, will be brought to 18 neighborhood parks beginning July 18.
Artistic Director Gaines shared: “At a time in our lives when estrangement and belonging are so entwined into our public discourse, we are looking forward to a season of stories that explore our boundaries—personal, societal, geographic—and how we cross them in order to better understand ourselves, our neighbors, and the world we inhabit. A king is limited by his inability to speak to his nation; two teenagers see beyond the walls erected by their families’ hatred; a young woman can imagine the possibilities of love all around—but not in her own heart; and free spirits leave behind the constraints of society and discover love in unexpected places. Powerful narratives of a Somalian refugee in South Africa and indigenous youth in México both wrestle with defining home and identity. In the communal space that is the theatre, we share these stories that bind us together.”