Chicago—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces today the cast and creative team for a vibrantly reimagined A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by internationally acclaimed director Joe Dowling. Shakespeare’s beloved comedy is infused with raucous humor, a striking visual landscape, and eclectic musical score blending rock, jazz, blues, rock, and ‘50s doo-wop. A multi-talented company of 21 notably features Grey’s Anatomy alum T.R. Knight as Bottom—as well as Alexandra Silber, Edward O’Blenis, Cristina Panfilio, Tyrone Phillips, Melisa Soledad Pereyra, Eric Schabla, and Sam Kebede. In celebration of twenty years of Shakespeare on Navy Pier, Dowling revisits his landmark 1999 production from the Theater’s inaugural season on the Pier, in an all-new production in the Courtyard Theater, December 6, 2018–January 27, 2019.
T.R. Knight, best known for his Emmy Award-nominated portrayal of Dr. George O’Malley as part of the original cast of the wildly popular ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy, performs the role of Bottom—the aspiring thespian who is hilariously transfigured into a donkey by a fairy spell. In addition to leading roles in films like Hello Again and A Year and Change, and television series including Genius, When We Rise, and The Good Wife, Knight has appeared on Broadway in It’s Only a Play, David Mamet’s A Life in the Theater opposite Sir Patrick Stewart, and in the 2001 revival of Noises Off with Patti LuPone. Knight reunites with Joe Dowling, who directed him in the Broadway revival of Tartuffe starring Brian Bedford and in a slew of productions at the acclaimed Guthrie Theater. Appearing as the fairy queen Titania as well as Hippolyta is Alexandra Silber. After a string of critically-acclaimed West End performances, Silber made her Broadway debut in Master Class opposite Tony Award-winner Tyne Daly and recently appeared as Tzeitel in the Tony-nominated revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Edward O’Blenis appears as Oberon and Theseus. O’Blenis has worked extensively in theater in New York and regionally with Yale Repertory Theater and Actors Theater of Louisville, as well as in television and film.
As the amorous young couples who slip into the enchanted woods in search of true love are Cristina Panfilio (Helena), Tyrone Phillips (Lysander), Melisa Soledad Pereyra (Hermia), and Eric Schabla (Demetrius). Panfilio has been a company member with American Players Theater for seven seasons and returns to Chicago Shakespeare after appearing in Pericles and Twelfth Night. Phillips has made his mark on Chicago theater as an actor, director, and founder of Definition Theatre Company, and was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s “Hot New Faces of 2015.” Also a longtime American Players Theater company member, Pereyra’s credits include Lookingglass Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Schabla comes to Chicago Shakespeare after performances with American Players Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Guthrie Theater.
Sam Kebede portrays the mischievous imp Puck, as well as Philostrate. Kebede has appeared off-Broadway in the title role of The Public Theater’s Mission Hamlet, and in performances with Ars Nova Theater, Harlem Repertory Theater, and The Metropolitan Room.
Portraying the bumbling amateur theatrical troupe known as “The Mechanicals” alongside T.R. Knight are Joe Dempsey (Peter Quince), William Dick (Egeus/Snug), Patrick DuLaney (Snout), Sara Sevigny (Starveling), and Alec Silver (Francis Flute).
Adrienne Storrs appears as the First Fairy. Also featured in the ensemble are Ethan Deppe, Michael Ferraro, Luke Halpern, Jarais Musgrove, Michael Rawls, KJ Sheldon, and Lauren Smith.
Former artistic director of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre and the Guthrie Theater, Joe Dowling’s work has been seen on major stages in London, Stratford, and on Broadway. Dowling is joined on the creative team by Composer and Music Director Keith Thomas, Choreographer Joe Chvala, Scenic Designer Todd Rosenthal, Costume Designer Fabio Toblini, Lighting Designers Jesse Klug and Greg Hofmann, Sound Designer Victoria (Toy) Deiorio, and Wig and Make-Up Designer Richard Jarvie. Completing the creative team are Verse Coach Kevin Gudahl and Assistant Director Erin Kraft.
For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/midsummer.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, December 6, 2018–January 27, 2019. Single tickets ($48–$88) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets for patrons under 35. 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 www.chicagoshakes.com.
CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for A Midsummer Night’s Dream include:
- Open-captioning – Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Audio-description – Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.
- ASL Duo-interpretation – Friday, January 18, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
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.