Showing posts with label Hamlet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hamlet. Show all posts

Monday, March 11, 2019

Maurice Jones To Play Title Role in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Hamlet

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces updated casting for
Maurice Jones steps into title role

Joins company featuring: Karen Aldridge, Timothy Decker, Larry Yando, Sean Allan Krill, Paul Deo, Jr., Rachel Nicks, Mike Nussbaum, Greg Vinkler, Kevin Gudahl, Alex Goodrich, Samuel Taylor, Sarah Chalcroft, and Callie Johnson

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces that Maurice Jones has stepped into the title role of the Theater’s upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, staged by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, in the Courtyard Theater, April 17–June 9, 2019. 

Most recently appearing on Broadway in The Lifespan of a Fact opposite Daniel Radcliffe, Jones is an accomplished classical performer whose Broadway credits include Saint Joan staged by Tony Award-winner Daniel Sullivan, The Cherry Orchard featuring Diane Lane, Romeo and Juliet starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, and Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington—as well as credits at the Public Theater and Roundabout Theatre Company. The role of Hamlet was originally to be played by Raúl Esparza who had to withdraw from the production due to scheduling conflicts.

Joining Jones in the Hamlet company are Karen Aldridge (Gertrude), Timothy Decker (Claudius), Larry Yando (Polonius), Sean Allan Krill (Horatio), Paul Deo, Jr. (Laertes), Rachel Nicks (Ophelia), Mike Nussbaum (Gravedigger), Greg Vinkler (Gravedigger/Player King), Kevin Gudahl (Osric), Alex Goodrich (Rosencrantz), Samuel Taylor (Guildenstern), Sarah Chalcroft (Voltemand/Player Queen), Callie Johnson (Reynalda), and Drew Shirley (Barnardo), as well as ensemble members Al'Jaleel McGhee and Sam Pearson.

Cast of Hamlet

Celebrated actress Karen Aldridge takes on the role of Gertrude, queen of Denmark. In addition to numerous credits with Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare, Aldridge originated the role of Tamyra in Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer-Prize-nominated Man from Nebraska at Steppenwolf Theatre, as well as Mrs. Phelps in the Broadway production of Matilda the Musical. She also starred in the international tours of Battlefield and Le Costume, both directed by the legendary Peter Brook. Timothy Decker portrays Hamlet’s uncle and adversary Claudius. Decker has appeared onstage at Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, and American Blues Theatre, where he garnered the Jeff Award for his performance in Toys in the Attic. He notably completed a four-year run with 1,600 performances as Sam Philips in Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theatre. In his twenty-fifth Chicago Shakespeare production, Larry Yando performs the role of Polonius. The five-time Jeff Award-winner—named “Best Actor in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine—is a mainstay on Chicago stages, including eleven seasons as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. Veteran of the National Tour of The Lion King, Yando recently concluded a critically acclaimed European tour of Peter Brook’s Battlefield.

Sean Allan Krill portrays Hamlet’s close friend and confidante Horatio. Krill debuted on Broadway as Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia!, a role which he reprised in the production’s North American tour; additional Broadway credits include On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Honeymoon in Vegas. He recently appeared in American Repertory Theater’s world premiere production of the Alanis Morrissett musical Jagged Little Pill, which is headed to Broadway in Fall 2019. Appearing as Laertes is Paul Deo, Jr., who has previously performed in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Troilus and Cressida, as well as Shakespeare Theater Company’s Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet. Rachel Nicks takes on the role of Ophelia. Nicks has appeared Off-Broadway in Final Follies, War, And I and Silence, and The Good Negro, as well as in productions with McCarter Theatre and The Old Globe.

Portraying the Gravediggers are Mike Nussbaum and Greg Vinkler. A seven-time Jeff Award-winner, Nussbaum’s illustrious career at Chicago Shakespeare has included notable performances in Henry VIII, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and Follies. The Sarah Siddons Society honoree starred in Peter Brook’s international touring production of The Cherry Orchard, as well as in the original Broadway productions of David Mamet’s American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross. Now 95 years old, Nussbaum is hailed “the oldest working actor in the United States.” Vinkler has appeared in nearly forty Chicago Shakespeare productions, garnering Jeff Awards for his performances in King Lear, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night. He made his Broadway debut in the 2009 revival of West Side Story, and has appeared regionally with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and Peninsula Players Theatre, where he also serves as artistic director—and in Chicago with Writers Theatre, Court Theatre and Goodman Theatre. Multiple Jeff Award-winner Kevin Gudahl is Osric. A veteran of more than forty Chicago Shakespeare productions, Gudahl has also appeared onstage at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Writers Theatre, in addition to five seasons with the Stratford Festival.

As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Alex Goodrich and Samuel Taylor, respectively. Goodrich has previously appeared on Chicago Shakespeare’s stages in Love’s Labor’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Taming of the Shrew. Goodrich frequently appears at Northlight Theatre and Marriott Theatre, where his performance in the world premiere musical Hero earned him a Jeff Award. Taylor returns to Chicago Shakespeare after memorable performances in Macbeth, Henry V, Julius Caesar, The School for Lies, and The Feast: an Intimate Tempest. His numerous Shakespeare credentials include teaching courses on the playwright at the University of Chicago and co-founding the Back Room Shakespeare Project.

Sarah Chalcroft returns to Chicago Shakespeare after appearing in King Charles III to perform the roles of Voltemand and the Player Queen. Playing Reynalda is Callie Johnson, who garnered a Jeff Award for her performance in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Pal Joey and has also appeared at Drury Lane Theatre and Marriott Theatre.

As a leading director of Shakespeare internationally renowned for her populist and dynamic interpretations, Barbara Gaines has staged more than sixty productions at Chicago Shakespeare throughout her distinguished career, garnering the prestigious Honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production (Hamlet, Cymbeline, King Lear, and The Comedy of Errors), and for Best Director (Cymbeline, King Lear and The Comedy of Errors). Joining Gaines on the Hamlet creative team are Scenic Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Susan E. Mickey, Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel, Sound Designer Lindsay Jones, Projection Designer Mike Tutaj, Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie, and Fight Choreographer Matt Hawkins. Tyrone Phillips is the production’s Associate Director.

For more information, visit

Hamlet is presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, April 17–June 9, 2019. Single tickets ($48–$88) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for Hamlet include:

Audio-description – Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.

ASL Duo-interpretation – Friday, May 31, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Open-captioning – Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be—a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater’s year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances—including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading producer of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago’s most versatile performing arts center.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

OPENING: HAMLET Via The Gift Theatre 6/1-7/29/18

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

The Gift Theatre 
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Guest Artist Monty Cole
June 1 – July 29, 2018

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've long been big fans of Gift Theatre's little space. They're outliers from all the cities various theatre districts, but well worth the trek to Jefferson Park on Chicago's northwest side. They've made a go of it for 17 seasons, with intimate, excellent, and award winning productions. Gift often likes to play vertically with multilayered shows, physically and mentally. We're eager to catch their take on Hamlet.

The Gift Theatre is pleased to announce casting for William Shakespeare’s HAMLET, directed by guest artist Monty Cole. The Gift’s production of the Bard’s great tragedy will crack open the mind of one of western drama's most fascinating and complex characters. 

The cast of The Gift Theatre’s HAMLET includes (top, l to r) John Kelly Connolly, Robert Cornelius, Shanésia Davis, Gregory Fenner and Daniel Kyri (bottom, l to r) Martel Manning, Casey Morris, Jake Szczepaniak, Hannah Toriumi and Netta Walker.

HAMLET will feature Daniel Kyri as Hamlet with Gift ensemble members John Kelly Connolly* as Claudius, Gregory Fenner* as Laertes, Martel Manning* as Guildenstern and Hannah Toriumi* as Rosencrantz, and guest artists Robert Cornelius as Ghost/Polonius, Shanésia Davis as Gertrude, Casey Morris as Horatio, Jake Szczepaniak as Fortinbras/Marcellus/Gravedigger and Netta Walker as Ophelia.

HAMLET will play June 1 – July 29, 2018 at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting The press opening is Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 pm

After the death of his dad, a young black man named Hamlet returns home to grieve and seek revenge. Fighting against the injustice of his father's murder and the powers that want him out of the picture, Hamlet quickly loses power and sanity. 

Director Monty Cole comments, “Over the last year, this script has only become more personal to me and my production team. What makes this Hamlet unique isn’t necessarily “a new spin” from me but rather a process of personalization from incredibly respected Chicago artists working to make this 400 year old story feel prescient.”

Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton adds, “Experiencing Shakespeare at The Gift is electrifying. In our intimate space, we can deliver performances that mirror Hamlet’s advice to the players: stripped-down, clear, lyrical, and conversational. To be mere feet away from Hamlet’s heartache and blazing mind would be gift enough; with the colossal talents of these artists, our HAMLET will be one for the ages.”

The production team for HAMLET includes: William Boles (scenic design), Samantha Jones (costume design) Claire Chrzan and Michelle Benda (lighting design) Jeffery Levin (sound design) and Michael Petersen, Ph.D. (dramaturg).  

Location: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, June 1 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 3 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, June 6 at 7:30 pm
Press openings: Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Friday, June 8 – Sunday, July 29, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm. Please note: there will not be a 3:30 pm performance on Saturday, June 9.

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $35 – $40. Single and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting

*Denotes Gift Theatre ensemble member

About the Director
Monty Cole is a director based in Chicago and Los Angeles. Cole has directed for The Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, American Theatre Company, Definition Theater Company/ALTA, The House Theatre of Chicago, the Chicago Theater Marathon, California Institute of the Arts and others. Cole directed the critically acclaimed and Jeff Award winning production of The Hairy Ape for Oracle Productions. Monty is working with collaborator and choreographer Breon Arzell on revitalizing In Dahomey, the first black written and performed Broadway musical from 1903 for the Center for New Performance. Recently, he directed Kiss by Guillermo Calderon at the California Institute of the Arts where he is currently an MFA2 Directing candidate.

About The Gift Theatre
The Gift’s 17th season consists of Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of Hang Man, directed by Jess McLeod (March 2 – April 29, 2018); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Monty Cole (June 1 – July 29, 2018); and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s Cosmologies, directed by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton (October 12 –December 9, 2018). The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or by calling (773) 283-7071. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:



Artistic director and co-founder Michael Patrick Thornton proudly announces The Gift Theatre's 2018 season will include: Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of Hang Man, directed by ensemble member Erica Weiss (February 9–April 8); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Monty Cole (June 1–July 29); and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s Cosmologies, directed by Thornton (October 12–December 9).

The Gift Theatre also announces the addition of five artists to their ensemble: Evan Michael Lee, Chika Ike, Martel Manning, Gregory Fenner, and Hannah Toriumi. The ensemble is composed of actors, directors, writers and improvisers. For 16 years, The Gift Theatre has earned and deepened its reputation as an ensemble dedicated to acting of the highest caliber and a welcome home for new plays.

“Who are we? From the individual level to the national, we are in the midst of a vital articulation of Identity,” Thornton said. “We believe theatre can help orient and navigate people through a life which often contains multitudes of pain and struggle. And yet, the resolve to continue to struggle can define us; giving us, even, perhaps, in the act, a kind of grace. The 2018 Season lives under the aesthetical canopy of Absurdism, wherein characters who struggle to find meaning in life nevertheless continue to pursue meaning. Today, we are also deeply honored and excited to announce an enrichment of our ensemble. Evan, Chika, Martel, Gregory, and Hannah are artists of virtuosic talents with whom we have collaborated over the years in joy and awe. In short, we love them. They have each played a defining role in The Gift’s history and now, as ensemble members, our future.”

The now 37-member ensemble also includes: Danny Ahlfeld, Maggie Andersen, Cyd Blakewell, Brittany Burch, Hillary Clemens Harbor, John Kelly Connolly, Paul D’Addario, Jenny Connell Davis, Brendan Donaldson, Will Eno, James D. Farruggio, Ed Flynn, Gabriel Franken, John Gawlik, Andrew Hinderaker, Marti Lyons, Alexandra Main, Laura Marks, Kenny Mihlfried, Benjamin Montague, Darci Nalepa, Keith Neagle, William Nedved, Lynda Newton, Sheldon Patinkin (in loving memory), Maureen Payne-Hahner, David Rabe, Mary Ann Thebus, Michael Patrick Thornton, Erica Weiss, Jay Worthington and Kyle Zornes.

As usual, The Gift's year begins in January with TEN (January 5-14), the theater's annual celebration of world premiere ten-minute pieces by The Gift and guests, sponsored by Revolution Brewing.


February 9–April 8, 2018
HANG MAN (world premiere)
by Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour, directed by ensemble member Erica Weiss
The community of a backwoods Southern town grapples with the murder of a Black man who is found hanging in a tree. As events unfold, the hanging mystifies the people of the community, forcing them to confront their complicity in this man’s horrific demise. Osei-Kuffour’s darkly comical, heartbreaking play, which recently made the prestigious 2017 Kilroy’s List, uses absurdity to explore racism, sexuality, and the parts of American history we would all like to forget.

June 1–July 29, 2018
HAMLET, by William Shakespeare, directed by Monty Cole
After the death of his dad, a young black man named Hamlet returns home to grieve and seek revenge. Fighting against the injustice of his father's murder and the powers that want him out of the picture, Hamlet quickly loses power and sanity. Directed by guest artist Monty Cole, The Gift's retelling of Shakespeare's great tragedy will crack open the mind of one of western drama's most fascinating and entertaining characters.

October 12–December 9, 2018
COSMOLOGIES (Midwest premiere)
by ensemble member David Rabe, directed by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton
Put the whimsical humor of the Keystone Cops and Bugs Bunny into a particle collider with the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard  and George Berkeley and you’re getting close to the style of this existential absurdist comedy from David Rabe. When a young man’s negotiation for a date goes very wrong, we are transported through kaleidoscopic worlds of possibilities, identities, and loves. 

The Gift Theatre’s Annual Gala will take place on December 1, 2017 at The Copernicus Center; 4802, the new play development engine of The Gift, will present works in progress August 24, 25, and 26 of 2018.  

About The Gift Theatre
The Gift’s 16th season consists of three world premieres and kicked off in February with Mona Mansour’s war-torn drama Unseen, directed by ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner, followed by Claire Kiechel’s Pilgrims, co-directed by ensemble member Michael Patrick Thornton and guest artist Jessica Thebus (June 2-July 30). The season closes with Janine Nabers’ time-hopping love story A Swell in the Ground, directed by guest artist Chika Ike (October 13-December 10). 

Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or call 773-283-7071.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ACT OUT: After at Profiles Opening Night Tonight and Hamlet at Writers' Theatre


After at Profiles Theatre
We can't wait for opening night TONIGHT, and we'll have a full review up shortly.    

When a wrongfully imprisoned man is exonerated by DNA evidence after seventeen years in prison, he is forced to re-assimilate into a cold, foreign world of toothbrush shopping, doggy day care, and a friendship with an anxious young woman with secrets of her own. After is a compassionate portrait of a man struggling with the challenges of socializing and the anger he still feels for having his youth unjustly destroyed.

Schedule: Thurs., Fri.: 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 5:00 p.m. and 8:00p.m. (no 5pm show September 1 and 8)
Sunday: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Profiles Theatre, The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway
Parking is available for $10 - $12 at 4100 N. Clarendon
(One block east of the theatre at the corner of Clarendon and Belle Plaine)

Ticket prices:
Thursdays are $35, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are $40; Students and Senior Citizens receive a $5 discount on all performances; Group rates are available.
Box Office: Buy online at
or call (773) 549-1815

**Check out our prior coverage and full show details here.**

Writers’ Theatre presents
written by William Shakespeare
directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam
featuring Scott Parkinson in the title role

Writers’ Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, opens its 21st season with Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Artistic Director Michael HalberstamThe production runs September 4, 2012 – November 11, 2012 at Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe. 

The king is dead—murdered by his own brother, who has claimed the throne and the widowed queen. And the world goes on…but the Prince cannot. Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy is equal parts ghost story, political intrigue, doomed romance and murder mystery, driven by one of literature’s most intriguing, enigmatic and controversial characters.

**Check out our prior coverage and full show details here.**

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