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  Play Details

Measure For Measure

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

When the Duke of Vienna sets off on a diplomatic mission abroad he hands over power to the austere Lord Angelo, who enforces the city’s long-dormant moral code with draconian zeal. But when a pious young nun comes to Angelo to plead for the life of her doomed brother, she sets in motion a series of events that test the limits of human will, and reveal a tangled web of desire and deception.

Thru - Apr 14, 2013



Price: $25-$86

Stage: Albert Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins

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  Measure For Measure Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Falls' great strength in Shakespeare is in the conceptual encapsulation of individual moments. Many directors are uncomfortable with how Shakespearean characters can turn on a dime, based on the expedient needs of a scene. Such directors try desperately to construct tenuous through-lines for them. Falls just embraces this absurdity, episodically. As was the case with his much-darker "King Lear," this production is bursting with a plethora of interlocking but distinct ideas, all bumping up against the next notion coming down the subway line. The impact of this on the theatergoer, especially one who knows this play, is one of tremendous excitement. Highly conceptual and weirdly self-contained, potent scenes tend to trundle out from the wings to join Walt Spangler's sea of soaring, graffiti-soaked neon. Vistas emerge of sleazy cop shops, full of petitioners, exotically clothed by Ana Kuzmanic; city halls where only the walls have dignity; jails filled with casual degenerates where the guards are no different from the inmates, really.'
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...It is not at all hard to see why director Robert Falls chose to stage Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" now. The play could be a riff on current headlines. But of course it's always more palatable to hold the mirror up to nature at a slight remove, so he has taken us back to New York in the 1970s, a period (and I lived through it) when the city was at its nadir - plagued with drugs, smut and vast encampments of the homeless living in cardboard boxes that stretched onto Fifth Avenue. Of course there also was disco, and Donna Summer singing her 1978 hit, "Last Dance.""
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Hedy Weiss


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...There are delights both large and small crammed into this production, from the visceral intensity of Walt Spangler's set, to Jeffrey Carlson's scene-stealing clownishness as Lucio, to crazy little background distractions like the topless beauty dancing in act one to the fellow urinating in the second act, but those are discoveries best left to the pleasant surprises that this production delivers over and over."
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Brian Hieggelke


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Measure for Measure ranks just behind The Merchant of Venice as the Shakespeare play most likely to make people nervous. The prospect of a romantic comedy revolving around crooked politicians, sexual harassment, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, imminent executions and resolutions relying on bedroom and jail-cell switcheroos is enough to reduce most productions to safe priggish-Angelo-vs.-spunky-Isabella scene-study exercises. For Robert Falls, however, the view is always the big picture and the spotlight always focused on the leaders responsible for societies in turmoil."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...Mr. Falls has updated the text, substituting the word “pimp” for “bawd,” and, after a particularly obscure reference early in the play, an actor turns to the audience, and, as if making an apology, says “it’s an Elizabethan joke.” All of this, while off-putting, was made better by the stellar work of several of the leading actors. Alejandra Escalante, as Isabella, gives a ferociously righteous performance as the novice forced to choose between her brother’s life and her own chastity."
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Bill Gorman


Chicago Stage Review - Highly Recommended

"...Director Robert Falls has shockingly thrown convention by the wayside and in doing so, uncovered a more emotionally rich and theatrically enchanting Measure For Measure than one might believe to be possible. If you are a purist that pains at the thought of tampering with the Bard, then this Measure For Measure will be a nightmare of scandalous excess. If your mind is open to the magic of mixing stagecraft with depravity, then this Measure For Measure will be a dark deviation into delightfully resplendent debauchery. Do not miss this rare and wonderful theatrical triumph. This is Goodman Theatre at its bravest and best."
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Venus Zarris


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The success of any Measure for Measure—one of the scripts branded, or excused, with the label “problem play”—depends on our having some sympathy for both Angelo’s abuse of power and Isabella’s intractability. Whittaker shows us Angelo’s earnestness in the face of flouted law as well as his struggle with finding shades of gray within himself, while Escalante is compelling in her depiction of Isabella’s steadfast devotion to her calling and her awakening to the world’s disappointments."
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Kris Vire


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...The short of "Measure for Measure" is that a young chap called Claudio, who has impregnated his fiancee Juliet, faces a death sentence for the unconscionable act of fornication. In the Duke's absence, it falls to Angelo to see the execution through. When Claudio's friends fail in their appeals to Angelo for compassion and mercy, they turn to his beautiful young sister Isabella, a novice nun, to take up her brother's cause."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...At the core of this dark and fascinating tragicomedy is a situation seething with modern irony: Can you be both above the law and beneath contempt? Angelo, a sex-hating Viennese puritan, has been rashly entrusted with enforcing repressive vice laws by the supposedly absent Duke. But in Isabella, a chaste convent novice, Angelo beholds the very image of virtue in defense of which he sentenced Isabella's brother Claudio to death for impregnating his fiancee Juliet."
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Lawrence Bommer


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Thus with a remarkable eye for Shakespeare’s darker tonalities, Falls’ Measure for Measure is wickedly smart even as it seemingly pulls our inner moral compasses all which ways. As beautifully constructed as it is intellectually evocative, it comes highly recommended."
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Anthony J. Mangini


Chicago Now - Highly Recommended

"...Everything about this show is extreme and sensational, which would follow The Bard's original intention of exploiting political corruption and morality fraud. MEASURE FOR MEASURE captivates minute by minute for its bawdy originality."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The story has twists and turns and The Duke, at the end fixes all the wrongs that have been brought to the population. This is a strong cast of actors, not just in the leading roles, but an ensemble of players that make each character have meaning to the telling of the story:John Judd,A.C. Smith,Joe Foust, Celeste M. Cooper,Jeffrey Carlson( who is a hoot as Lucio, a man about town- great comic timing), Cindy Gold, Aaron Todd Douglas,Billy Fenderson, Sean Fortunato, Kate LoConti and Daniel Smith. Each cast member, no matter the size of the role is proficient which is very important to make a production like this work. Yes, there is tragedy, but there is comedy as well and for 2 1/2 hours, you will be mesmerized by the production that Falls has created."
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Goodman's "Measure for Measure" is grimy, gritty, uncomfortable, and downright sinful; not to mention the most intriguing Shakespeare you have seen in a while. With the opening strains of Donna Summer's sexy "Love to Love You Baby", the audience immediately knows this is not going to be your grandma's bard."
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Lazlo Collins


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Somewhat Recommended

"...First time spectators aren't seeing this play in all its complexity. Some of the directorial ideas work and some are distracting or misleading. More important, questionable interpretations of the Angelo and Duke characters undercut the depth of the narrative. Still, as an idiosyncratic take on "Measure for Measure," the staging should engage the viewer's attention. Even those who have seen the play numerous times will be startled by this version. The performers deliver their lines cleanly and the show comes in at a tight 2 1/2 hours, including an intermission. Whether it all works ultimately resides in the eye and mind of the beholder."
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Dan Zeff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
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