Chicago Shakes Announces Casting for Gary Griffin’s ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ & More
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, announces casting for the 2012 Fall Season. The Tony Award® and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine will be staged by CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, September 26–November 4, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. The production featuresJason Danieley, recently seen on Broadway as Dan in the musical Next to Normal, and Carmen Cusack, known to Chicago audiences through her role as Elphaba in the Broadway tour of Wicked. The season continues with The School for Lies by David Ives, adapted from Moliere’s The Misanthrope and staged by CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, December 4, 2012–January 20, 2013 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Featured in the production are longtime Stratford Shakespeare Festival actors Deborah Hay and Ben Carlson, who was last seen on CST’s stage in the title roles in Hamlet andMacbeth, and veteran CST actor Greg Vinkler.
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
From his Laurence Olivier Award-winning CST production of Pacific Overtures(2003) at London’s Donmar Warehouse to last season’s sold-out sensationFollies (2011), Chicago Shakespeare Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffinstages his sixth Sondheim production at CST. Sunday in the Park with George, inspired by Georges Seurat’s most famous work A Sunday on La Grande Jatte-1884, on display and in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, unites Seurat and Sondheim in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater. Griffin’s musical production will transform the painting into a life-size masterpiece to tell the story of a painter’s struggle between creating art and living life.
“I think of this project as a celebration of the home of Seurat, Sondheim and Shakespeare in Chicago,” said Griffin. “We take great civic pride that Seurat’s masterpiece resides at the Art Institute of Chicago and I am proud that Mr. Sondheim’s work has an important place here as companion to the great plays of William Shakespeare.” Griffin added, “As this is my artistic home, I am thrilled to be welcoming two dynamic musical theater artists—Jason Danieley and Carmen Cusack—whose work I have long admired, alongside the excellent ensemble of artists with whom I have had the pleasure of working in Chicago for many years.”
Leading the cast are Jason Danieley as Georges Seurat/George andCarmen Cusack as Dot/Marie. Danieley makes his CST debut following an extensive career in New York, including his Broadway debut in the title role in the Hal Prince production of Candide (Theatre World Award and Drama Desk Nomination), the leading role of Dan in Broadway’s Next to Normal, Aaron Fox in the Kander and Ebb musical Curtains (Outer Critics Circle Nomination) and Malcolm in The Full Monty on Broadway and the West End. He was featured inA Tree Grows in Brooklyn, directed by Gary Griffin for Encores! Cusack also makes her CST debut, having previously starred in such roles as Rose in The Secret Garden for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Fantine in Les Misérableson London’s West End, Elphaba in the U.S. National Tour of Wicked, and Ensign Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center’s North American Tour of South Pacific.
Featured in both Sunday in the Park with George and The School for Lies areSean Fortunato, Kevin Gudahl and Heidi Kettenring. Two longtime CST-affiliated artists, Fortunato and Gudahl, join the cast of Sunday in the Park with George, performing the roles of Jules/Alex and Mr./Bob Greenberg, respectively. Recently seen on the CST stage as Flavius in Timon of Athens, Fortunato has performed in more than 15 CST productions, including The Taming of the Shrew (Hortensio), The Comedy of Errors (Eddie Philpot/Dr. Pinch) and Othello (Michael Cassio). Celebrated for his role as William Shakespeare in CST’s production of Elizabeth Rex, Gudahl has performed in more than 30 CST productions, including most recently Timon of Athens(Writer/Judge), The Madness of George III (Captain Fitzroy) and As You Like It (Duke Senior). Five-time Jeff Award nominee Heidi Kettenring performs the roles of Frieda/Mrs./Elaine. Chicago credits include: Hero, The Musical at Marriott Theatre (Jane), Angels in America at Court Theatre (Harper Amaty Pitt) and the National Tour of Wicked (Nessarose). Recent CST productions include Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena) and the CST-commissioned musical, The Adventures of Pinocchio (Cat).
Ora Jones performs the role of Nurse/Harriet Pawling in Sunday in the Park with George and was last seen at CST as Queen Charlotte in The Madness of George III. Additional credits at CST include: Twelfth Night (Maria) and A Flea in Her Ear (Lucienne Homenides de Histangua). Linda Stephens and Rachel Cantor, both seen in CST’s 2011 production of Follies, return to the Courtyard Theater stage in the roles Old Lady/Blair Daniels and Celeste 1/Naomi Eisen, respectively. McKinley Carter performs the roles of Yvonne/Betty after last appearing at CST as Adriana in the Short Shakespeare! production of The Comedy of Errors. Derek Hasenstab, who last appeared in the CST-commissioned musical, The Adventures of Pinocchio(Fox), performs the roles of Franz/Dennis; Michael Aaron Lindner performs the roles of Louis/Billy Webster after last appearing at CST as Snout/Mustardseed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and William Travis Taylor will take on the roles of Soldier/Lee Randolph, moving directly from his CST debut as the Beast in this summer’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Making their CST debut in Sunday in the Park with George areElizabeth Lanza as Celeste #2, Benjamin Magnuson as Boatman/Charles Redmond and Madison Olszewski as Louise.
The creative team for Sunday in the Park with George includes Musical Director Brad Haak (Music Director for Mary Poppins on Broadway) and Conductor Ryan Nelson, who will lead the live 11-person orchestra for the production. The creative team is rounded out by Scenic DesignerKevin Depinet, Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld, Lighting DesignerPhilip Rosenberg, Sound Designers Ray Nardelli and Dan Mead, Projections Designer Mike Tutaj, Wig and Makeup Designer Melissa Veal and Properties Master Chelsea Meyers.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s limited five-week engagement of Sunday in the Park with George runs September 26–November 4, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $48–$78 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website atwww.chicagoshakes.com/sunday.
THE SCHOOL FOR LIES
This winter, Chicago Shakespeare Theater will bring to the stage the Midwest premiere of David Ives‘ comedy The School for Lies, adapted fromThe Misanthrope by Molière. Ives’ play, Venus in Fur, was a 2012 Tony Award® nominee for Best Play; and his previous work with Chicago Shakespeare includes the CST-commissioned adaptation of Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear—a 2006 world premiere directed by Gary Griffin. The School for Lies transforms Molière’s classic into a modern satire crafted in rhyming couplets, creating a seventeenth-century comedy of manners brimming with contemporary slang. CST Artistic Director and multiple Jeff Award-winning director Barbara Gaines helms a cast that includes longtime Stratford Shakespeare Festival actors Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay and the return of CST-affiliated artist Greg Vinkler.
Performing the roles of love interests Frank and Celimene are real life husband and wife duo Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay. Carlson reunites with Gaines after performing the title role in her CST production of Macbeth (2009). Carlson also played the title role in internationally acclaimed director Terry Hands’ CST production of Hamlet (2006), for which he won a Jeff Award for Best Actor. For 12 seasons Carlson was a member of the repertory company at the Shaw Festival in Ontario and is currently in his fifth season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, this summer performing the roles of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and Captain Fluellen in Henry V. Deborah Hay makes her CST debut as Celimene in The School for Lies. Currently in her fourth season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Hay performs the roles of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Alice in Henry V. Hay performed in five seasons at the Shaw Festival in Ontario and was recently seen as Rose Stopnick in Caroline, or Change at Acting Up Stage in Ontario.
Having appeared in over thirty productions with CST, Greg Vinkler returns to play Oronte in The School for Lies. Vinkler’s multiple Jeff Award-winning roles at CST include Polonius in Hamlet (1996), Malvolio in Twelfth Night (1996) and the title role in King Lear (2001). Last seen at CST in Othello as Gratiano in 2008, Vinkler’s recent New York roles include Doc in the Tony Award®-nominated Broadway revival of West Side Story.
Sean Fortunato, Kevin Gudahl and Heidi Kettenring continue at CST following their work in Sunday in the Park with George to play the roles of Philinte, Acaste and Eliante, respectively, in The School for Lies. Rounding out the cast are Paul Slade Smith as Clitander and Samuel Taylor as Dubois/Basque. Smith was last seen at CST in Love’s Labor’s Lost, with additional CST credits including The Comedy of Errors and Much Ado About Nothing. Taylor was most recently seen at CST in last season’s production ofTimon of Athens, with previous productions including CST’s collaboration with Redmoon Theater for The Feast: an intimate Tempest.
The creative team for The School for Lies includes Scenic DesignerDan Ostling, Costume Designer Susan Mickey, Lighting DesignerPhilip Rosenberg, Sound Designer Lindsay Jones, Wig and Makeup DesignerMelissa Veal and Properties Master Chelsea Meyers.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s The School for Lies runs December 4, 2012–January 20, 2013 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are on sale now for $48–$78, with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website atwww.chicagoshakes.com/school.
Sunday in the Park with George
September 26–November 4, 2012 | CST Courtyard Theater
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | book by James Lapine
directed by Gary Griffin
Inspired by Georges Seurat’s most famous work, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte-1884, CST’s Courtyard Theater will be transformed into a life-size masterpiece to tell the story of a painter’s struggle between creating art and living life.
The National Theatre of Scotland’s
The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
September 26–October 14, 2012 | Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
created by David Greig | directed by Wils Wilson
Supernatural storytelling, Scottish border ballads and devilish encounters combine in this dream-like journey of self-discovery about uptight academic Prudentia.
The National Theatre of Scotland’s
October 10–21, 2012
Broadway Armory (5917 N. Broadway, Chicago)
by Gregory Burke | directed by John Tiffany
Exploring the legendary Scottish regiment’s valiant history and tour in Iraq, the production creates a dramatic military environment that hurtles audiences from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq.
The School for Lies
December 4, 2012–January 20, 2013 | CST Courtyard Theater
Adapted from Molière’s The Misanthrope | by David Ives
directed by Barbara Gaines
Hilarious rhyming couplets and contemporary slang abound in David Ives’ deliciously off-color tribute to Molière, set in the seventeenth century and based on the plot of The Misanthrope.
February 5–March 24, 2013 | CST Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare | directed by Jonathan Munby
Using the fractured political landscape of present-day Washington as a backdrop, Munby’s staging of Shakespeare’s tale of conspiracy, assassination and civil unrest will draw current events into eerily sharp focus.
Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet
Saturdays at 11 a.m., February 23–March 23, 2013
CST Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare | directed by Rachel Rockwell
Shakespeare’s great love story comes to life in this 75-minute abridged version. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
April 30–June 16, 2013 | CST Courtyard Theater
by William Shakespeare | directed by Barbara Gaines
This story of England’s most notorious king—known for his six marriages and frequent public beheadings—reveals the political machinations and sexual exploits of Anne Boleyn’s rise to power.
Ben Carlson performs the role of Frank in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of The School for Lies, directed by Barbara Gaines, December 4–January 20, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
Carmen Cusack performs the roles of Dot/Marie in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of Sunday in the Park with George, directed by Gary Griffin, September 26–November 4, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
Jason Danieley performs the roles of Georges Seurat/George in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of Sunday in the Park with George, directed by Gary Griffin, September 26–November 4, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
Deborah Hay performs the role of Celimene in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of The School for Lies, directed by Barbara Gaines, December 4–January 20, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
Greg Vinkler performs the role of Oronte in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of The School for Lies, directed by Barbara Gaines, December 4–January 20, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
Photo by Bill Burlingham
Georges Seurat (Jason Danieley) poses Dot (Carmen Cusack) for his famous work, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte-1884, on display and in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production ofSunday in the Park with George, directed by Gary Griffin, September 26–November 4, 2012 in CST’s Courtyard Theater.
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Chicago Shakespeare’s work has been recognized internationally with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 62 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare; unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. At its permanent, state-of-the-art facility on Navy Pier, CST houses two intimate theater spaces: the 500-seat Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the 200-seat Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 500 performances, CST leads the community as the largest employer of Chicago actors and attracts nearly 200,000 audience members annually—including 40,000 students and teachers through its comprehensive education programs.