Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Park District and The Boeing Company present CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKS
Chicago Shakespeare Theater(CST), Chicago Park District and The Boeing Company announced today plans to bring Shakespeare, FREE FOR ALL, to community parks across the City of Chicago this summer. From Portage Park to Humboldt Park and Austin to South Shore, this summer from July 29 to August 19, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will break down barriers to arts participation and give Chicagoans direct access to their City’s cultural resources by bringing free Shakespeare performances into their neighborhoods.
“Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is a wonderful example of how arts initiatives can succeed in bringing communities together, enhancing the quality of life through public and private partnership throughout the city and into our neighborhoods,” said Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner, Michelle T. Boone. "Accessibility to the arts is something we heard from residents throughout the city at our many public meetings for the new 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan. This new program is an important step in strengthening Chicago’s future as a leader in the world for arts and culture.”
The new citywide arts initiative, the largest of its kind in the history of the Chicago Park District, is made possible by a grant from The Boeing Company, with additional support from BMO Harris Bank, Sara Lee Foundation, and the Chicago Shakespeare Trust.
Lianne Stein, Vice President of Global Corporate Citizenship for The Boeing Company, says, “As a company dedicated to innovation and new ideas, Boeing is pleased to partner in presenting Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. We applaud the program’s aim to activate and engage communities through quality artistic programming, free of charge, which will inspire residents with the works of the world’s leading playwright.”
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks is inspired by the open air setting in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed more than 400 years ago, and Joseph Papp’s twentieth century American initiative that brought free Shakespeare to urban communities. Beginning its summer tour on July 29 through each of the Park District regions, a traveling production of The Taming of the Shrewwill be presented. A specially equipped truck will roll into each park, a stage will unfold, and a company of professional actors will perform. Parks scheduled to be visited, rain or shine, include: South Shore Cultural Center, Tuley Park, Dvorak Park, Austin Town Hall Park, Humboldt Park, Douglas Park, Welles Park, Garfield Park Conservatory, Ridge Park and Frank J. Wilson Park.
“We are so pleased to welcome Chicago Shakespeare Theater to our parks,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent & CEO Michael Kelly. “This partnership creates a unique opportunity to enhance cultural offerings at parks across the city and hopefully begin a tradition of bringing free theatrical performances to families citywide.”
Visitors to the parks will enjoy a 75-minute, daylight production of Shakespeare’s enduring comedy about the battle between the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew. The wildly spirited Kate and the machismo-driven Petruchio will scream, fight and woo their way into one another’s heart in Shakespeare’s verse and Elizabethan dress, underscored with original rock-inspired music to connect contemporary audiences with the characters’ journeys.
“As Chicago’s ‘home for Shakespeare’ for the past quarter century, CST has delighted in introducing millions of audience members to his timeless plays,” said Barbara Gaines, Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater. “We are honored by this opportunity to make Shakespeare FREE FOR ALL Chicagoans and to share his insight and humor in a high-energy professional production, under the summer skies. Prepare to fall in love with Shakespeare – for the first time, or all over again!”
Adapted and staged by Jeff Award-winning director Rachel Rockwell,Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks production of The Taming of the Shrew features Ericka Ratcliff, performing the role of strong-willed Katharina and Matt Mueller performing the role of Katharina’s sparring partner, Petruchio. The acting company also includes: Jeffrey Baumgartner, Tiffany Yvonne Cox, Max Ganet,José Antonio Garcia, Eric Leonard, Robert Joseph Miller,Matthew Sherbach and Mick Weber.
For more information on Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/parks.