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"Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2017. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Chicago Shakes Announces 2017-18 Season

The season will welcome the new performance space, the Yard.

CHICAGO: Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced its 2017-18 season, which will include nine productions.

“On the heels of the theatre’s 30th anniversary and the year-long Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival, we have curated a season that reflects upon historic moments with radically fresh eyes—and at the same time blazes a trail forward by reimagining Shakespeare’s plays for today’s audiences,” said artistic director Barbara Gaines in a statement. “These works give voice to our collective soul, and serve to unite us in a time when the world feels more divided than ever.”

The season will begin with Madagascar: A Musical Adventure (July 13-Aug. 27), based on the DreamWorks film about a group of animals at the Central Park Zoo who venture to Madagascar. Matt Raftery will choreograph and direct.

Next will be a touring production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (July-August), adapted by Marti Lyons, which will be performed for free at neighborhood parks across Chicago. Lyons will direct.

Following will be Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (Sept. 16-Nov. 12), adapted by Gaines and Ron West, a retelling of the classic play as a performance by a group of Suffragettes in 1919 that takes place on the eve of the passing of the 19th Amendment.

Next up will be James Thierrée’s The Toad Knew (Sept. 19-23), presented by La Compagnie du Hanneton of France, which combines dancers, contortionists, and high-wire artists. The production will be part of CST’s World’s Stage series and will be presented in the Yard.

Following will be will be the International Latino Theater Festival (Fall 2017), presented by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance in partnership with CST. The festival will feature a Latin American production as part of CST’s World’s Stage series.

Next will be Red Velvet (Dec. 1-Jan. 21, 2018), by Lolita Chakrabarti, about the first African-American actor to take on the role of Othello in 1833. Gary Griffin will direct.

The season will continue with Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Jan. 24-March 10, 2018), an abridged version of Shakespeare’s comedy for family and student audiences that will be presented in the Yard.

Following will be Schiller’s Mary Stuart (Feb. 21-April 15, 2018), adapted by Peter Oswald, about Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary Queen of Scots as they face off in a struggle for the faith of the nation. Jenn Thompson will direct.

Next up will be Shakespeare’s Macbeth (April 25-June 24, 2018), adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller.

CST’s World’s Stage series will continue with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (May 23-June 3, 2018), presented by Ireland’s Druid Theatre. Garry Hynes will direct.

Founded in 1986, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a mix of classics, new works, and family programming, producing work on its stages while also touring regionally and internationally.

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