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  Macbeth at Chicago Shakespeare Theater


Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

Unrelenting—from its dark beginning to its tragic conclusion—Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most enduring and haunting plays. In this story infused with superstition, ghosts and madness, Macbeth murders his king and all who might make claim to the throne. Canadian classical actor Ben Carlson returns to CST in the title role, following his Jeff Award-winning performance here as Hamlet in 2006.

Thru - Mar 8, 2009

Price: $54-$70

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 2hrs 30mins; one intermission

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  Macbeth Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Aside from intellectual rigor, this is an exceptionally stimulating and sexy production that throws all manner of things up into the frigid air of this most nervous of winters. And it manages some things that most productions of “Macbeth” don’t. Most notably, it reminds us that what’s usually staged as a clash of ambitious adults is actually a family tragedy. I don’t mean a family-friendly tragedy; I mean a lot of murdered children."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...This is, in fact, a production so chock full of images and contemporary references, so packed with ideas and equivalencies (any hint of Patti Blagojevich as a latter-day Lady Macbeth comes with the audience) that you might find yourself reeling at certain points. But you will never be bored."
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Hedy Weiss

Examiner - Not Recommended

"...It took more than 20 years forChicago Shakespeare Theater to give audiences a full-fledged production of the Scottish Play. And it’s to our immense frustration that despite the wealth of artistic and financial resources CST has accrued over the decades, "Macbeth" fails to bewitch. Double, double, toil and tarnation: A misguided concept sinks Shakespeare’s tragedy of savagery faster than a newt’s eye tossed into a witches’ burbling cauldron."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Barbara Gaines's version of the Scottish play works wonderfully at the linguistic level. You're unlikely to hear Shakespeare's lines spoken with more ease--or greater sensitivity to both their plain and implicit meanings--than they are here, by a cast of accomplished pros. But the rest of the production is loaded down with more useless junk than a G.I. Joe deluxe set."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Surrounded by technology that George Lucas might envy, the principal actors are to be commended for refusing to acknowledge their excesses and delivering their speeches as if anybody really cared what they were saying. With the exception of the witches, whose speech is artificially scrambled to the point of unintelligibility, the surprisingly articulate company assembled for this Chicago Shakespeare production acquit themselves with admirable dignity."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Chicago Free Press - Recommended

"...Visceral and universal as these emotions feel, the production itself is sleekly, sometimes superficially, up to date. Armed with closed-circuit cameras, press jackals cover every Caledonian power play. Kevlar coats replace armor. Thunder and gunfire vie for decibel supremacy. Disco decadence suggests courtly corruption. The royal banquet is a swank cocktail party with a view of midtown Manhattan. A row of riot shields suggest the “Birnam woods” that have come to Dunsinane."
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Lawrence Bommer

EpochTimes - Highly Recommended

"...The cast assembled is filled with talented actors who we see grace this stage on a regular basis, Phillip James Brannon, Rengin Altay, Patrick Clear,, William Dick, David Lively and of course ,veteran Mike Nussbaum ( always a pleasure to watch- his porter scene is a highlight of this production and offers a little comic relief to an otherwise tragic story). The newcomers , I am sure will grace this stage again based on the excellent performances in this production. Jeff Cummings, Evan Buliung, Danforth Comins, and James Newcomb. If you love "Macbeth", you will be in heaven with this production."

Al Bresloff

Chicago Stage Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...Chicago Shakespeare Theater opens an exciting bag of visual tricks for Macbeth, but the lackluster emotional connection disappoints. ‘Fun to look at’ is about all of the enthusiasm that can be mustered for this lavish exercise in contrived theatricality."
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Venus Zarris

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...It’s hard to tell quite where the edge is in Chicago Shakespeare’s latest Macbeth. Barbara Gaines’s modern-dress staging of the enduring power-lust tragedy feels at all times to be within spitting distance of some boundary it might cross, but at nearly every turn it seems to back away from it at the last possible moment. Though thoroughly watchable—Gaines and company put the Scottish play across as a black-lacquered, lurid political thriller—it tends to tease. The story gets an admirably straight reading but also a straitlaced one."
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Christopher Piatt

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...What makes this production so special and enduring—besides the wonderful staging—is the amazingly complete and truthful work by Karen Aldridge and Ben Carlson. Rarely will you witness such depth of emotion and torment as these two exude. This pair is at their best when they sink into the abyss of insanity. They give insights into the nature of guilt, lust and obsession for power."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Gaines' depiction of the three witches (Kate Buddeke, Angela Ingersoll and, yes, Mike Nussbaum) is clever and original. Cameras, video projections and an arresting sound score designed and composed by Lindsay Jones completed a vivid multi-media 21st Century vision. Mark Bailey's stark scenic design is a bit barren for much of the play, his modern militia uniforms don't differentiate the characters as they should, and Philip S. Rosenberg's lighting only occasionally taps into the play's full dramatic opportunities."

Joe Stead

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   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 Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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