Balcony Scene Gets New View in Chicago Shakespeare's Private Lives, Starting Jan. 6

News   Balcony Scene Gets New View in Chicago Shakespeare's Private Lives, Starting Jan. 6
The hotel balcony setting of Noël Coward's comedy Private Lives will be seen in-the-round in director Gary Griffin's Chicago Shakespeare Theater production, beginning performances Jan. 6.
Tracy Michelle Arnold and Robert Sella
Tracy Michelle Arnold and Robert Sella Photo by Michael Brosilow

The designers have reconfigured the CST's Courtyard Theater "with the addition of main floor seating on the proscenium stage itself, creating a theatre-in-the-round."

The production features Tracy Michelle Arnold as Amanda, Tim Campbell as Victor, Chaon Cross as Amanda and Jeff Award nominee Robert Sella as Elyot. Wendy Robie plays Louise. Performances play to March 7.

Griffin, who staged Broadway's The Apple Tree and The Color Purple, stated, "The decision to do Private Lives came out of the artistic team's discussions about plays that would lend themselves to our theatre specifically and its intimate space. There is nothing presentational about this piece at all. We are all voyeurs to its intimacy. That's what I think Coward was interested in exploring."

The 1930 comedy famously puts ex-spouses (Amanda and Elyot) on adjoining hotel balconies as they celebrate their honeymoons with new mates (Victor and Sybil).

The creative team includes scenic designer Neil Patel and lighting designer Robert Wierzel. They are joined by Paul Tazewell, who is designing costumes. CST associate artistic director Griffin, a lauded Chicago director, directed CST's Amadeus, featuring Sella as Salieri.

Arnold, a busy Chicago actress, is a veteran of many productions by American Players Theatre. Campbell appeared in six seasons at Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival and has worked in many resident Canadian theatres. Cross returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where her credits include Imogen in Cymbeline, Cressida in Troilus and Cressida, Emilia in The Two Noble Kinsmen and Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew. Robie has worked at CST, Goodman Theatre, Stratford and other theatres

Sella (Broadway's Cabaret and Side Man) appeared in the summer 2009 run of Coward's Design for Living for Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC.

The late, prolific Coward is currently represented on Broadway with a new production of Present Laughter.

The Private Lives production team includes sound designers Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen; wig and makeup designer Melissa Veal; properties master Chelsea Meyers and fight choreographer Chuck Coly.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call the box office at (312) 595-5600, or visit


Chicago Shakespeare Theater won the Tony Award for Regional Theatre.

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