Midsommer Flight’s popular perennial intimate production of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, performed alley style amid the flowers of the Lincoln Park Conservatory’s beautiful Show House Room, will return with a new cast for its fifth year. Performances will be December 5 – 22, 2019. Midsommer Flight company member Dylan S. Roberts, who earned raves for his staging of the company’s 2017 production, will return to helm the 2019 edition. Roberts’ production will depart from the company’s previous stagings in its modern dress costumes evocative of wealthy elites of the early 20th Century, designed by Meagan Beattie. Roberts says Shakespeare’s characters will look “ wonderful and wealthy, colorful and different but they are masking an inner pain.” The production will again include the original musical score by Elizabeth Rentfro and Alex Mauney from previous productions. The press opening will be Friday, December 6 at 7:30 pm. Roberts announced his cast and production team today.
Roberts’ 2019 new cast – none of whom appeared in either his 2017 staging or the 2018 production – will include Jackie Seijo (Viola), Shaina Toledo (Olivia), Michael Morrow (Orsino), Bailey Savage (Feste), Erika B. Caldwell (Malvolio), Chad Bay* (Sebastian), Zach Tabor (Sir Toby Belch), Stephanie Mattos* (Maria), Jason Goff (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Alexis Ward (Antonio & Viola U/S), Laura Brennan (Fabian/Musician, Malvolio U/S), Olivia Lindsay (Officer/Musician), Brandon Nelson (Priest/Musician, Antonio U/S), JJ Smith (Sea Captain/Musician & Sebastian/Feste U/S), Wanda Jin (Olivia/Maria U/S), and Scott Myers (Sir Andrew/Sir Toby/Orsino U/S).
The production staff includes Jen Sloan (Assistant Director), Meagan Beattie (Costume Designer), Jordan Golding (Music Director), Amy Malcom* (Text Coach), Haley Schmidt (Stage Manager), Chris Smith* (Fight Director & Assistant Intimacy Director), Maureen Yasko* (Intimacy Director & Assistant Fight Director), Beth Wolf* (Producing Artistic Director & Script Adaptor) and Kanomé Jones* (Associate Producer). *denotes Midsommer Flight Ensemble Member.
Shakespeare’s delightful comedy of mistaken identity and gender switching has a strictly limited seating among the lush flowers of the Show House Room. Reservations – which are now being taken at https://midsommerflight.ticketspice.com/twelfth-night-2019 – are typically quick to fill up for its three-weekend run, and standby lists are kept to ensure all seats are utilized. The production is part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “Night Out in the Parks” initiative that provides world-class performances in Chicago’s neighborhood parks throughout the year.
More information on the production can be found at https://midsommerflight.com/twelfth-night-winter-2019/
The comedy is believed to have been written by Shakespeare as an entertainment for the close of the Christmas season on the “twelfth night” after Christmas. One of the English traditions of that holiday is that roles can be reversed – such as commoners becoming royalty. Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT plays upon those traditions. In his comedy, a woman, Viola, poses as a man – causing much romantic confusion; and a servant, Malvolio, imagines he can become a nobleman.
CHICAGOLAND MUSICAL THEATRE said of Midsommer Flight’s 2018 production, “The excellent performances, clever staging, and beautiful environment makes this a TWELFTH NIGHT worth seeing.” The company’s Midsommer Flight’s 2017 production of TWELFTH NIGHT, which Roberts directed, was also warmly received by critics. The CHICAGO READER praised it for its “clever and well-blocked use of the twinkly light and garden bloom-filled Lincoln Park Conservatory show-room setting” and “the frequent flute, violin, guitar, and vocal interludes, directed by Elizabeth Rentfro, that help fill the magnificent backdrop.” STAGE AND CINEMA’s Lawrence Bommer said “Putting a ready cast of 14 through paces as fresh as youth can make them, Dylan S. Roberts keeps fluid and supple Shakespeare’s self-consciously silly heartbreak. So much midwinter madness, these follies feel even more fanciful surrounded by the palms, ferns and holiday lighting of the Conservatory’s refreshingly humid flora.”
Midsommer Flight’s TWELFTH NIGHT will play Thursdays through Sundays at 7:30 pm from December 5 – 22, 2019. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is located at 2391 Stockton Drive, Chicago. Due the heavy traffic and difficulty in finding parking near Lincoln Park during the holiday season, patrons are strongly advised to use public transportation. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is served by CTA buses #151 (to Stockton and Fullerton), and #22 and #36 (to Clark and Belden).
Dylan S. Roberts (Director) is an actor and director in Chicago. A company member with Midsommer Flight since 2013, he most recently appeared as Antonio in THE TEMPEST. Additionally, Dylan directed TWELFTH NIGHT with Midsommer Flight in 2017. Other recent directing credits include LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST with Invictus Theatre Co. and PRIVATE LIVES, by Noel Coward, with MPAC. He is also is the Co-Founder of the Framework Theatre Collective. Framework credits include, KING LEAR: RADIO PLAY, THE MARRIAGE PROPOSAL: A ONE ACT IN THREE ACTS by Anton Chekhov and ANTIGONE.
TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Dylan S. Roberts
Original Music by Elizabeth Rentfro and Alex Mauney
December 5 – 22, 2019
Thursdays – Sundays @ 7:30 PM
PRESS OPENING Friday, December 6 at 7:30 PM
Show House room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 Stockton Dr., Chicago
CTA buses #151 (to Stockton and Fullerton), and #22 and #36 (to Clark and Belden).
Tickets are pay-what-you-can and reservations are recommended due to limited seating – reservations now available through the Midsommer Flight website (www.midsommerflight.com).
ABOUT MIDSOMMER FLIGHT. Midsommer Flight is a theatre company dedicated to presenting high quality, accessible productions of Shakespeare’s plays in Chicago communities. After the company’s well-received inaugural production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in 2012, the Chicago City Council honored Midsommer Flight with a resolution praising “the Midsommer Flight theater troupe on their dedication to bringing the arts to underserved communities.” The company incorporated as a not-for-profit in the state of Illinois in early 2013 and has since produced ROMEO AND JULIET (2013), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (2014), MACBETH (2015), TWELFTH NIGHT (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), AS YOU LIKE IT (2016), HAMLET (2017), RICHARD III (2018), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (2018), CORIOLANUS (2019) and THE TEMPEST (2019). Summer productions, performed in Chicago parks, are presented free of charge (donations gratefully accepted) and the annual TWELFTH NIGHT productions are pay-what-you-can. For more information visit www.midsommerflight.com.