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Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces 2016–17 season

Written by
Kris Vire

Chicago Shakespeare Theater today revealed plans for its 2016–17 season, which will mark the company’s 30th year.

The slate opens with the second half of artistic director Barbara Gaines’s marathon adaptation of Shakespeare’s history plays, Tug of War: Civil Strife, encompassing Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3 and Richard III (September 14–October 9). (The first half, Tug of War: Foreign Fire, covering Edward III, Henry V and Henry VI, Part 1, begins performances May 12.)

Gary Griffin will direct the Chicago premiere of King Charles III, Mike Bartlett’s acclaimed verse play about the future reign of England’s current Prince Charles (November 5–January 15). Having had a Broadway run earlier this season, Bartlett’s play is likely to be up for the Tony Award for best play when those nominations are announced next month. 

Gaines will stage The Book of Joseph, a new commissioned play by Karen Hartman based on a collection of letters that author Richard Hollander found in the possession of his late father, sent from his family in Poland in the years before and during World War II (January 29–March 5). Marti Maraden, a former artistic director of Canada’s Stratford Festival, will helm a production of Shakespeare's comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost (February 7–March 26).

The Hypocrites’ Sean Graney will return to CST for the first time since 2008's Edward II to direct Gravediggers’ Hamlet, a new musical piece by Michael Mahler, Alan Schmuckler and Laura Schellhardt that puts the spotlight on the churchyard excavators of Hamlet’s Act V (spring 2017).

Rachel Rockwell will stage the Chicago premiere of the Disney Theatricals stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love (April 15–June 11). The play, adapted by Lee Hall from the movie named best picture of 1998 at the Academy Awards, was first produced in London in 2014, where The New York Times described it “Shakespeare-flavored.”

Also on tap for Chicago Shakes are this summer's Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of Twelfth Night (July 15–August 14) and a kid-aimed Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet adapted and directed by Marti Lyons (February 25–March 25). The ongoing Shakespeare 400 Chicago celebration continues through the end of 2016, including a number of previously announced performances by visiting companies from around the globe.

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