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

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Announces 2018-19 Season

The lineup will include the world premiere musical ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks.’

CHICAGO: Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) has announced its 2018-19 season, featuring 5 mainstage productions, a holiday favorite, and a series of works from Flemish theatre companies.

The season will begin with Nell Gwynn (Sept. 20-Nov. 4), by Jessica Swale, a bawdy comedy about a 17th-century actress whose quick wit and relationship to King Charles II propels her to notoriety. Christopher Luscombe will direct.

For the holidays will be Q Brothers Christmas Carol (Nov. 20-Jan. 27, 2019), by the Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax, Pos), a hip-hop interpretation of the perennial holiday classic by Charles Dickens. The production, developed with Rick Boynton, will be directed by GQ and JQ.

Next will be Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dec. 6-Jan. 27, 2019), directed by Joe Dowling, who helmed a production of the show in 1999 as part of CST’s inaugural season.

The season will continue with An Inspector Calls (Feb. 19-March 10, 2019), by JB Priestly, a thriller about a dinner party broken up by an inspector delivering shocking news. Stephen Daldry will direct.

Following will be Shakespeare’s Hamlet (April 17-June 9, 2019), helmed by artistic director Barbara Gaines.

Next up will be the world premiere of Bedknobs and Broomsticks (May 30-July 28, 2019), with book by Brian Hill and music and lyrics by Neil Bartram. The musical, adapted from the Walt Disney film based on the books by Mary Norton, follows three children evacuated from the London Blitz who arrive on the seaside doorstep of a witch-in-training. Rachel Rockwell will choreograph and direct.

Also part of the programming will be the series “Big in Belgium-Chicago,” celebrating Flemish theatre. The series will kick off with SKaGeN’s BigMouth (Sept. 12-22), a solo performance celebrating the history of oration. Valentijn Dhaenens will star.

The “Big in Belgium-Chicago” series will continue with Ontroerend Goed’s Fight Night (Oct. 23-Nov. 4), by Alexander Devriendt, Angelo Tijssens, and the cast. The immersive performance features a showdown between five contenders vying for the audience’s vote to be crowned the elected victor. Devriendt will direct.

The series will conclude with the BRONKSUs/Them (Jan. 22-Feb. 3, 2019), by Carly Wijs, about the 2004 Beslan school siege by Chechen separatists in Russia, told through the viewpoint of two children.

Following will be Phia Ménard’s L’après midi d’un foehn (Jan. 24-27, 2019), co-presented with Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, a performance of puppetry, juggling, mime, and dance.

Next up will be Two Pints (March 5-31, 2019), by Roddy Doyle, an immersive show set in  the pub inside CST’s lobby, which invites audience members to pull up a stool as two men chat over a pint. Caitríona McLaughlin will direct.

CST’s 2018 summer programming will include Peter Pan, a Musical Adventure (June 27-Aug. 19), with book by Elliot Davis, music by George Stiles, and lyrics by Anthony Drewe. The play, adapted from J.M. Barrie, takes audiences on a musical journey with Wendy, Peter, and the Lost Boys to Neverland. Amber Mak will choreograph and direct.

Next up will be Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks (July-Aug.), a tour of free Shakespeare productions across the neighborhood parks of Chicago.

CST’s education initiative Team Shakespeare will present Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, adapted and directed by Marti Lyons, to more than 30,000 Chicago-area students.

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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