Spotlight: Elgin Shakespeare Project follows original practices with 'Romeo/Juliet' adaptation

  • Allison Sword and Jake Busse star in Janus Theatre's hybrid production of "Romeo/Juliet," which concludes its three-year Elgin Shakespeare Project incorporating historical theatrical practices.

    Allison Sword and Jake Busse star in Janus Theatre's hybrid production of "Romeo/Juliet," which concludes its three-year Elgin Shakespeare Project incorporating historical theatrical practices. Courtesy of Heidi Swarthout

 
 
Posted8/19/2022 6:00 AM

Old-school Shakespeare

Janus Theatre concludes its multiyear Elgin Shakespeare Project with "Romeo/Juliet," a hybrid production of William Shakespeare's tragedy incorporating original practices, which include scrolls in hand, original pronunciation and minimal rehearsal. Artistic director Sean Hargadon helms the 75-minute production.

 

7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Aug. 19-21, at Vero Voce, 3755 E. Main St., St. Charles, and 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, at Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago St., Elgin. Free, but donations are accepted. Masks optional. See janusplays.com.

Aszkara Gilchrist, center, rehearses Babes With Blades Theatre Company's production of "Richard III." The production is a collaboration with the University of Illinois Chicago's Disability Cultural Center.
Aszkara Gilchrist, center, rehearses Babes With Blades Theatre Company's production of "Richard III." The production is a collaboration with the University of Illinois Chicago's Disability Cultural Center. - Courtesy of Maureen Yasko
BWB stages 'Richard III'

Babes with Blades Theatre Company partners with the University of Illinois Chicago's Disability Cultural Center for the company's season-opening production of William Shakespeare's "Richard III," about Richard of Gloucester's bloody rise to power and his short reign as England's king. Directed by Richard Costes, a deaf theater artist, the production includes actors with and without disabilities. "Shakespeare wrote this play as propaganda, and the ableism inherent in the text doesn't disappear. In 2022, we are morally obligated to battle outdated stereotypes," said Costes in a prepared statement. "One tactic is to cast other disabled actors and to be dramaturgically specific about the roles they are cast in."

Previews at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 25-27; 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28; and 8 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2 at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago. The show opens Sept. 3. Select performances will be livestreamed. $20-$35. Masking required. See babeswithblades.org.

Tix for $20

The League of Chicago Theatres' Hot Tix service offers $20 tickets to Chicago-area theater productions through Sept. 4, while supplies last. The performance dates are for fall and the tickets are half price or a greater discount; however, a service charge will be added. Participating theaters include: Court Theatre, Cabaret ZaZou, Goodman Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, The Gift Theatre and Music Theater Works, among other ensembles. Hot Tix is located at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St., Chicago, and Block Thirty-Seven, 108 N. State St., Chicago. For a list of participating venues, see chicagoplays.com.

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In other news

Check with venues about their COVID-19 precautions.

• Performances continue through Sept. 3 for "Gigi's Party," The Yellow Rose Theatre Company's production of Joseph Zaki's play examining technology, health care and the meaning of life in 2058, when life expectancy has risen to 160 years. Performances run through Sept. 3 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. (773) 697-3830 or gigisparty.com.

• Newcomer Theatre Ellipsis stages Kevin Wiczer's play "Wreck," an adults-only two-hander about two men stranded on a deserted island following an airplane crash. Wiczer directs the production, which runs Friday, Aug. 19, through Sept. 3, at That's Entertainment Performing Arts Warehouse Theater, 342 W. Colfax St., Palatine. See thatsentertainmentperformingarts.com/wreck.

• Writer/actress Kayla Boye performs her solo show "Call Me Elizabeth," based on the early life and loves of rising star Elizabeth Taylor, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at Theo Ubique, 721 Howard St., Evanston. $25. (773) 939-4101 or theo-u.com/special-events.

• Black Ensemble Theater's "My Brother Langston," a play about Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes written and directed by Rueben D. Echoles, continues previews at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. The show opens Saturday, Aug. 20. (773) 769-4451 or blackensemble.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Former financial analyst turned comedian Matthew Broussard headlines The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The "Tonight Show," "Conan" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" veteran performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required; masking optional. (773) 697-3830 or thedentheatre.com.

• Previews begin Thursday, Aug. 25, for BoHo Theatre's premiere of the company's first commission, "National Merit," Valen-Marie Santos' examination of privilege, racial injustice and academic competition through the lens of private school students enrolled in a National Merit Scholars test preparation course. The show opens Aug. 27 at Theater Wit, 1227 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or bohotheatre.com.

• PrideArts presents the Chicago-area premiere of "Girlfriend," inspired by alt rock singer/songwriter Matthew Sweet's 1991 album of the same name. Previews begin Thursday, Aug. 25, at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. The show opens Aug. 29. The coming-of-age tuner is directed by artistic director Jay Espaco. (773) 857-0222 or pridearts.org.

• Haven Chicago hosts its first micro film festival, "Festival au Cinema," Aug. 26-28 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. In addition to 20 short films, the theater will host talkbacks with the filmmakers and a closing awards party. Films will be curated according to genre, theme and length. It concludes with Haven's Made in Chicago fundraiser from 6-10 p.m. Aug. 28. A variety of passes are available. See havenchi.org/festival-au-cinema.

• Child's Play Touring Theatre hosts its annual fundraising gala from 6-9:30 p.m. Sept. 2 at St. Ignatius College Prep, 1076 Roosevelt Road, Chicago. The event includes entertainment, beverages, appetizers and a silent auction. See cptt.org/specialeventsbenefit.

• Nothing Without a Company seeks playwrights and dramaturges from diverse and underrepresented communities to collaborate on a new theater piece tentatively titled The War on Drugs Project, a monologue play adapted from narratives from people who've been incarcerated for cannabis-related charges. Applications should include a resume and/or curriculum vitae and a proposal on how the writer will work with formerly incarcerated people to develop the piece. Email applications to submissions@nothingwithoutacompany.org.

• Director/dramaturge Gabrielle Randle-Bent joined Court Theatre as its new associate artistic director last month. Court's inaugural research fellow, Randle-Bent taught theater and performance studies at the University of Chicago and co-directed Court's "The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice" and "The Year of Magical Thinking" at Remy Bumppo. "It is a privilege to be able to invest in a place that has invested so much in me," said Randle-Bent in a prepared statement. "More than anything, my love affair with Court has led to a love affair with the South Side of Chicago, and I would love for this theater to truly and fully ... be a reflection of the communities that make this one of the most spectacularly alive places that I've ever been."

• Music Theatre Works announced its 2023 season will begin March 9, 2023, with "Avenue Q," a charming, R-rated, coming-of-age puppet musical about young adults living in New York City. That's followed by "Pippin" (June 1-25, 2023), Stephen Schwartz's tuner about a young prince seeking his purpose and place in the world. Next up is "The Producers" (Aug. 11-21, 2023), adapted from Mel Brooks' film comedy about a down-at-heel veteran producer and his young protégé who determine they could make more money producing a bad musical than a good one. That's followed by "Brigadoon" (Oct. 19-Nov. 12, 2023), Alan Lerner and Frederick Loewe's musical about an American tourist who stumbles upon a magical Scottish village that appears for one day every century. The season concludes with "Shrek: The Musical" (Dec. 21-31, 2023), adapted from the animated film about an ogre who agrees to rescue a princess in exchange for being left alone in his swamp. Performances take place at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Three- and four-play subscriptions available. (847) 673-6300 or musictheaterworks.com.

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