First Folio Presents Shakespeare's CYMBELINE: A FOLK TALE WITH MUSIC, June 19-July 21

image005First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83), will present the rollicking World Premiere of SHAKESPEARE’S CYMBELINE: A FOLK TALE WITH MUSIC, previewing June 19, openingSaturday, June 22 at 8:15 p.m., and running through July 21, 2013. This wondrous new version of the timeless Shakespearean folk tale has been moved to Civil War Appalachia and includes 10 original songs featuring beautiful bluegrass melodies.  SHAKESPEARE’S CYMBELINE: A FOLK TALE WITH MUSIC is adapted by First Folio Theatre’s Executive Director and Jeff Award-nominee, David Rice, with Music and Lyrics by Rice and Michael Keefe (First Folio’s Resident Composer). Michael Goldberg (The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at First Folio Theatre) directs the “Shakespeare Under the Stars” production, which concludes First Folio Theatre’s smash hit 2013 season. It will appear on the outdoor main stage situated on the scenic slopes of the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate.

SHAKESPEARE’S CYMBELINE: A FOLK TALE WITH MUSIC is a powerful story of love, romance, and adventure. Falsely accused of betraying her lover, Imogen must flee to the hills to escape her death. Imogen disguises herself as a man and with the help of the shepherd Belarius and his two sons, she must prove her honesty and chastity, restore her good name, and defeat her evil stepmother.

SHAKESPEARE’S CYMBELINE: A FOLK TALE WITH MUSIC stars Kate McDermott as “Imogen” (“Bianca” inOthello and “Luciana” in Comedy of Errors at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival). The production also stars Andrew Behling as “Cloten” (The Classical Theatre Project's U.S. Tour of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn); Victoria Blade as “Cornelia” (Theatre Seven's Chicago Landmark Project); Ryan Czerwonko as “Cadmus” (Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare’s Associates); Jeff Award-nominee James Earl Jones II as “Iachimo” (Sweet Charity at Writers’ Theatre, Dreamgirls at Marriott Theatre, and Ragtime at Marriott Theatre); Jeff Award-nominee Ron Keaton as “Morgan” (The Christmas Schooner at Mercury Theater Chicago); Michael Keffer as “Posthumus” (Aspects of Love at Theo Ubique); John Milewski as “Cymbeline” (Romeo and Juliet at First Folio Theatre); Lia Mortensen as “Queen” (Rabbit Hole at Goodman Theatre); Tyler Rich as “Polydore” (Spring Awakening at The Artistic Home); Skyler Schrempp as “Pisania” (Love’s Labour’s Lost at Oak Park Festival Theatre) Robert Tobin as “General Lucius” (Love’s Labour’s Lost at Oak Park Festival Theatre) and Kate LoConti as “Valeria the Soothsayer” (Measure for Measure at the Goodman Theatre). The ensemble features Tyler Merle Thompson, Kelly Baskin, Andrew Coil, Royen Kent, and Michael Ferrarro.

Scenic Design by Angela Weber Miller and Lighting Design by Jeff Award-winner Michael McNamara will transport audiences to the lush, hauntingly beautiful scenery of the Appalachian Mountains. Civil War-era clothing is replicated by Costume Designer Rachel Lambert. Sound Design is by Jeff Award-winner Christopher Kriz. Jason Martin serves as Dialect Coach. Kate Danziger serves as Stage Manager, and Assistant Stage Managers are Katie Fecht and Jamie Fuller.

David Rice is co-founder (with his wife Alison C. Vesely) of First Folio Theatre, where he has produced over 40 shows. He is a playwright specializing in literary adaptations, including the acclaimed The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe (Jeff Award Nomination for New Adaptation in 2007), The Castle of Otranto and Dean Monti’s Why Dogs Don’t Talk, which was chosen for City Lit Theater’s first annual Art of Adaptation Festival. His First Folio Theatre acting roles include “Boolie” in Driving Miss Daisy, “Chris the Sly” in The Taming of the Shrew, “Egeus” and “Snug” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Aegeon” in The Comedy of Errors, “Feste” in Twelfth Night and “Friar Francis” in Much Ado About Nothing. He recently appeared in My Fair Lady at the Paramount Theatre; starred as “Boolie” in Driving Miss Daisy with Charlotte Rae (Briar Street Theatre); “George Reed” in 1776(Marriott Theatre); “Pseudolus” in A Funny Thing Happened… (Kinetic Theatre); and in numerous other plays and musicals, including Follies (Candlelight Dinner Playhouse), Kuni-Leml (Illinois Theatre Center), and Room Service (Bailiwick). He originated the role of “Mr. Toad of Toad Hall” in Doug Post’s musical version of The Wind in the Willows at the Organic Theater.

Michael Keefe has provided music for First Folio for seventeen seasons, having composed scores for The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, As You Like It, Antigone, Twelfth Night, and The Comedy of Errors among othersMost recently, he conducted and played for the WTTW Soundstage concert with Raoul Malo (of “The Mavericks”), performed with Dennis DeYong (formerly of “Styx”) as well as playing keyboards for the Chicago engagements of Wicked, Hairspray, Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out, the ABBA musical Mamma Mia and many other Broadway touring shows. Keefe has also performed with such artists as Henry Mancini, Shirley Bassey, and Eddie Arnold, as well as accompanying Edith Piaf singer Raquel Britton at Orchestra Hall, Charlotte Church at the Chicago Theater, the Three Tenors at the Chicago Theater, and the Joffrey Ballet's restaging of the 1967 groundbreaking ballet “Astarte” at the Auditorium. As a composer, Keefe was commissioned by the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago to write a setting of the “Passion According to St. John” and composed the score for WTTW's “Treasures of the Art Institute” as well as composing commercial music for clients such as 7-UP and Ruffles Potato Chips. He is also one of the principal synthesizer programmers in the Chicago area, working with such groups as the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera, and Steppenwolf Theater.

First Folio Theatre is in its 17th season of bringing high-quality performances of Shakespeare and other classics to the stage. During that time, the theater has expanded from an annual summer production to a year-round operation with three separate and distinct stages at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate. The Shakespeare Book of Lists names First Folio Theatre one of the “150 Great Places to See a Shakespeare Play.” The Chicago Tribune raved that their “Shakespeare Under the Stars” summer series “offers something Navy Pier can’t…plenty of greenery, gentle breeze.s and the chance to stretch out on a blanket with family and friends while being transported to Shakespeare’s otherworldly romance.”

First Folio is easy to get to from via the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds. Preview tickets are $22. Regular priced tickets are $32 Wednesdays and Thursdays (seniors and students are $26), and $37 on Fridays through Sundays (seniors and students are $30). Three and four show subscriptions are available for $57-$105 (subscribers will receive $5 off each subscription if they are purchased by August 15, 2012). Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at

SHAKESPEARE’S CYMBELINE: A FOLK TALE WITH MUSIC runs from June 19 through July 21. Tickets range from $30-37 and preview tickets are $22. The performance schedule is as follows: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:15 p.m. Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630-986-8067 or online at