First Folio presents Shakespeare’s classic comedy THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR July 9-Aug 10, 2014

merrywivesFirst Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83), presents Shakespeare’s classic comedy THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR on its outdoor main stage situated on the scenic slopes of the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate. THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR previews July 9, opens Saturday, July 12 at 8:15 p.m., and runs through August 10, 2014. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy First Folio Theatre’s annual “Shakespeare under the Stars” production, directed by Jeff Award nominee Nick Sandys.

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR stars Shakespeare’s greatest (and largest) comic character, Sir John Falstaff, who was too huge to be contained by his original appearance in Henry IV. Short on money, the rotund Falstaff sets out on a quest to seduce not just one, but two wealthy married women, who then decide to turn the tables on Falstaff and teach him a lesson in fidelity and honesty. The New York Times raves that this classic tale is “Sparkling!  Brims with joy!”

The cast is led by Brian McCartney as “Sir John Falstaff” (Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It at First Folio Theatre), Patrice Egleston as “Mistress Page” (Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth at First Folio Theatre), Meg Warner as “Anne Page” (Northanger Abbey at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Lydia Berger Gray as “Mistress Ford” (Jeeves Takes A Bow and Richard III at First Folio Theatre), and Fred Geyer as “Fenton” (The Pitchfork Disney at Athenaeum Theatre). THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR also stars Victor Holstein as “Master Page” (Bellboys, Bears & Baggage at Redmoon), Caroline Rau as “Mistress Quickly,” Joe Foust as “Master Ford” (A Christmas Carol and Measure for Measure at Goodman Theatre), Robert Allan Smith as “Sir Hugh” (The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe: A Love Story at First Folio Theatre), Christian Gray as “Dr. Caius” (The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe: A Love Story, The Jeeves Trilogy and A Moon for the Misbegotten at First Folio Theatre), Elliott Plowman as “Bardolph,” Mark Hespen as “Pistol” and “Rugby” (Rough Crossing at First Folio Theatre), Alex Stein as “Nym,” Bill Chamberlain as “Shallow” (Follies at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Lakme at Lyric Opera Chicago), Michael Mulhearn as “Slender,” Aaron Berogan as “Simple,” Sophie Duntley as “Robyn,” and Steve Peebles as “The Host of Gartner Inn” (Much Ado About Nothing at First Folio Theatre). The ensemble includes Sara Costello and Alex Dematralis.

The artistic team includes David Rice (Producer/Executive Director), Alison C. Vesely (Artistic Director), Angela Weber Miller (Scenic Designer), Michael McNamara (Lighting Designer), Elsa Hiltner (Costume Designer), and Chris Kriz (Sound Designer). It also includes Brian Claggett (Technical Director), Cassy Schillo (Properties Designer), Mara Filler (AEA Stage Manager), Ricky Harbecke (Board Operator), and Jason Martin (Dialect/Vocal Coach), Coral Opem (Assistant Stage Manager), and Sarah West (Assistant Stage Manager).

First Folio Theatre is in its 18th 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 breezes and the chance to stretch out on a blanket with family and friends while being transported to Shakespeare’s otherworldly romance.”

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR previews July 9, opens July 12, and runs through August 10, 2014. All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 W 31st St., off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook. 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 $30 Wednesdays and Thursdays (seniors and students are $26), and $37 on Fridays through Sundays (seniors and students are $32). All performances are at 8:15 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at