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Initial events of Shakespeare 400 Chicago project announced

Shakespeare 400 Chicago – the yearlong international festival that will run throughout 2016, and is designed to commemorate the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616 – has announced the events planned for January through March, 2016. The full line-up of the year’s productions and other events will be announced in January.

+ From RUSSIA: Cheek by Jowl & Moscow Drama Pushkin Theater in “Measure for Measure,” by William Shakespeare. Directed by Declan Donnellan

presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater in CST’s Courtyard Theater,

Jan. 27–31, 2016. Performed in Russian with projected English translation.

Tickets: $68–$78; Call (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.org

Alexander Matrosov, Peter Rykov and Alexander Arsentyev in the Cheek by Jowl/Puskin Theatre production of Measure for Measure directed by Declan Donnellan, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. (Photo: Johan Persson)
Alexander Matrosov, Peter Rykov and Alexander Arsentyev in the Cheek by Jowl/Puskin Theatre production of Measure for Measure directed by Declan Donnellan, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. (Photo: Johan Persson)

+ From BELARUS: Belarus Free Theatre in “King Lear,” by William Shakespeare. Directed by Vladimir Shcherban, adapted by Nicolai Khalezin and presented at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Upstairs, Feb. 5–14, 2016. Founded in 2005 under Europe’s last surviving dictatorship, Belarus Free Theatre is one of the most outspoken critics of Belarus’ repressive regime and is banned from performing in their own country. Many company members have served time in prison, lost their jobs, gone into hiding or been exiled. Despite this, the company continues to create award-winning work with the support of artists around the world. Performed in Belarusian with projected English translation.

Tickets: $48–$58. Call (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.com.

Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. (Photo: Nicolai Khalezin)
Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. (Photo: Nicolai Khalezin)

+ Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chicago Shakespeare Theater in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” conducted by Edwin Outwater and adapted and directed by David H. Bell at Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Center. The Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater ,developed two programs as part of the CSO’s annual school and family concert series. The CSO orchestra, conducted by Edwin Outwater, and a cast of Chicago Shakespeare actors directed by David Bell, perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for schools and families with children ages 5–11. The performances include memorable scenes by the cast as the orchestra highlights various composers’ interpretations of these classic Shakespeare stories. Feb. 13, 2016 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Tickets: $6–$57. Call (312) 294-3000; http://www.cso.org.

+ Chicago a cappella & Chicago Shakespeare Theater in “Shakespeare a Capella,” adapted & directed by Tom Mula, with musical direction by John William Trotter. Locations across Chicago, Feb. 13–21, 2016. The words of William Shakespeare are illuminated through innovative and artful a cappella music as actors from Chicago Shakespeare join singers from Chicago a cappella onstage to enhance the drama. Sonnets and soliloquies are set to music by composers from around the world. Tickets: $12–$38. Call (773) 281-7820; http://www.chicagoacappella.org.

+ From the UNITED KINGDOM: Oxford Playhouse in “Sancho: An Act of Remembrance,” written by and starring Paterson Joseph and presented at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Upstairs, Feb. 17–21, 2016. Celebrated Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paterson Joseph inhabits the curious, daringly determined life of Charles “Sancho” Ignatius—composer, social satirist, general man of refinement. Born on a slave ship but never a slave, immortalized by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough, in 1774 Sancho became the first black person of African origin to vote in Britain. Among Sancho’s circle of friends was David Garrick, celebrated Shakespeare actor and theater owner. Sancho was a renowned man of letters and quotes Shakespeare in his numerous letters more than any other author. This endlessly revealing, often funny one-man show casts a new light on the often misunderstood narratives of African-British experience. Tickets: $38–$48. Call (312) 595-5600; www,chicagoshakes.com.

+ Chicago Shakespeare Theater in “Othello,” by William Shakespeare. Directed by Jonathan Munby in CST’s Courtyard Theater, Feb. 18–April 10, 2016. British director Jonathan Munby featuries James Vincent Meredith in the title role, and places the play on a U.S. military base. Tickets: $48–$88. Call (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.com.

+ Lyric Opera of Chicago in “Romeo & Juliet,” by Charles Gounod. Conducted by Emmanuel Villaume and directed by Bartlett Sher. At Lyric Opera of Chicago,

Feb. 22–March 19, 2016. Performed in French with projected English translation. Tickets: $20–$239. Call (312) 827-5600; http://www.lyricopera.org.

Helene Bouchet (Desdemona) and Amilcar Moret Gonzalez (Othello) in Hamburg Ballet’s “Othello,” featured at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Hamburg Ballet.)
Helene Bouchet (Desdemona) and Amilcar Moret Gonzalez (Othello) in Hamburg Ballet’s “Othello,” featured at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Hamburg Ballet.)

+ From GERMANY: Hamburg Ballet in “Othello,” presented by and performed at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Feb. 23 & 24, 2016. Hamburg Ballet brings artistic director and chief choreographer John Neumeier’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s seminal tragedy to the Harris Theater. The Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies the dance with music by Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, and Naná Vasconcelos. Tickets: $35–$125. Call (312) 334-7777; http://www.harristheaterchicago.org.

+ From the UNITED KINGDOM: Forced Entertainment in “(In) Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare,” presented by Museum of Contemporary Art & Chicago Shakespeare Theater on the MCA Stage, Feb 26-27. A salt and pepper pot for the king and queen. A ruler for the prince. A spoon for the servant. Forced Entertainment has created condensed versions of every Shakespeare play ever written, comically and intimately retelling them using a collection of everyday objects on the one meter stage of a table top. Over two nights, the company shares eight of these interpretations. Each performance invites the audience to witness the idiosyncratic summary of different narratives—be it comedy, tragedy, history or late play—creating worlds as vivid as they are strange. Tickets: start at $10. Ca;; (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.com.

+ UChicago Arts in “Music inthe Time of Shakespeare,” at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Feb. 27 2016. This concert features the Decani, the professional semi-chorus of the Rockefeller Chapel Choir, in an a cappella celebration of Thomas Tallis and the Elizabethans, including Tallis’ famous “Lamentations,” paired with settings of Shakespeare texts by Shulamit Ran. Tickets: $10, free to all students with university ID. Call: (773) 702-ARTS; http://www.arts.uchicago.edu.

+ From the UNITED KINGDOM: Filter Theatre in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company in “Twelfth Night,” presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater Upstairs,

March 1–13, 2016. Tickets: $48–$78, Call (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.com.

+ Chicago Shakespeare Theater in “Short Shakespeare! Twelfth Night!,” adapted and directed by Kirsten Kelly in CST’s Courtyard Theater, March 5–April 9, 2016. This 75-minute abridged production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is designed to immerse students, young audiences and families alike in the playwright’s timeless work. Tickets: $22–34. Call (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.com.

+ llinois Humanities & Chicago Shakespeare Theater present “What Are We Worth?,” featuring Professor Michael Sandel in CST’s Courtyard Theater, March 21, 2016. Are there some things money can’t buy? Do we have obligations to each other as citizens? The public is invited to participate in an evening of dramatic interpretations and public debate. This one-night-only event will include Shakespeare readings by Chicago Shakespeare actors as well as a lively town-hall conversation with the audience conducted by Sandel, a Harvard professor and best-selling author whose recent book, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” looks at the way the language of money has been taking over our lives. Tickets: $10. A limited number of seats are available free of charge through Illinois Humanities. Call (312) 595-5600; http://www.chicagoshakes.com.