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  Mary Stuart at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Mary Stuart

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

One will rule. One will fall. Two extraordinary women clash in a power play over the right to rule in Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart. Elizabeth I, Queen of England, must decide the fate of her jailed cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, who is accused of treason. After a single clandestine meeting where both women's ambitions are unmasked, the fate of two countries is decided. Jenn Thompson, former artistic director of The Actors Company Theater, stages Peter Oswald's electrifying take on this fascinating drama at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Thru - Apr 15, 2018

Price: $48-$88

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 2hrs, 35mins; one intermission

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Seating Chart

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  Mary Stuart Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Thompson uses Peter Oswald's very interesting new adaptation - it's hardly racial revisionism, but it does float the word "refugee" to describe Mary Stuart, who did indeed escape from bad situations at Loch Leven Castle and then flung her fortunes onto the decks of QE1, who, history suggests, was less than hospitable. "To be the darling of the world is easy," she says to Mary in Oswald's version, "if you're in the arms of everybody.""
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...For the German Schiller, who wrote this lasting work in 1800, the play represented a sympathetic take on Mary as noble sufferer. Perhaps it is English playwright Peter Oswald's version of the work, or director Jenn Thompson's take on it, or simply Overbey's oh-so-biting glances and strong, sometimes even comic, desire to avoid any resolution at all, but this production expresses its most compelling compassion for Elizabeth."
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Steven Oxman

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Everything about Friedrich Schiller's battle-of-the-queens historical drama "Mary Stuart," in its current staging at Chicago Shakespeare, proclaims compleat theater."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Mary Stuart is as convulsive a roller-coaster rouser as plays get, galvanizing immovable adversaries propelled by irresistible forces. Schiller shrewdly manages to raise the stakes in every scene to the highest risk."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...There are other versions of this story, but Shiller’s is the one that Chicagoans are very familiar with and Oswald’s adaptation doesn’t stray from the point of the story and the historical facts. If you are a true history buff, you will want to dig deeper into the history of the women involved as well as take a look at the Protestant versus Catholic underlying story."
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Alan Bresloff

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Schiller’s 1800 play is now receiving a vivid production by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater – one that uses a 2005 English translation by Peter Oswald that is fresh and modern, but never artificially tricked up. The play puts the battle of wills, egos, nerves and power politics between the women in sharp relief, while simultaneously suggesting the pressure from male influence that was an ever-present force in the lives of both."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Friedrich Schiller's historical drama is brought to life with exuberance by director Jenn Thompson. This political potboiler is a spellbinding thriller that's laced with romance and sexual intrigue. It's a production layered with depth and complexity. Schiller's play brilliantly portrays two women who, even in the 1500's, were both feminine and yet still wielded all the power of the Elizabethan world. In Chicago Shakespeare's wondrous production we behold two strong, multilayered characters, each a bit flawed, yet both equally complex and filled with ambition and passion. This is likely to be one of the finest, most memorable evenings of theatre that Chicago audiences will enjoy this Spring."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...“Schiller’s Mary Stuart” is a long sit and the subject may not have the fascination for CST patrons it would hold for British audiences. The Mary-Elizabeth conflict is one of the most romantic as well as historically significant relationships in British history but will mean less to American viewers unfamiliar with the plot’s backstory. Still, there is much to be said for a stage full of fine actors delivering so much rich dialogue with such conviction and intelligence."
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Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...Still, the men are mere supporting players in this tale of two queens. Moggie and Overbey command the stage in SCHILLER’S MARY STUART. Even in their tense pontifications, the play is riddled with unexpected amusement. Moggie rejoicing in water splashing. Overbey ending a conversation with biting satire. The queens tethered me to their vulnerabilities bubbling beneath their royal obligations. I very much enjoyed this show!"
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...In this iteration, history is made lively and women take the stage with their own agency, a rarity in Early Modern narratives as well as in current theater. The result is intense and engaging, although the production underscores that, in order to succeed, there can be only one head of Team Estrogen. Women can be leaders, but only one at a time."
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Karin McKie

Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “Mary Stuart” stands regally tall. It has superb casting, direction, costumes and a simple but clever set design by Andromache Chalfant that complements the action."
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Jodie Jacobs

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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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