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Chicago Shakespeare Theater set for Henry VIII
Apr 1, 2013

Henry VIIIChicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces William Shakespeare's Henry VIII, the first professional Chicago production in 400 years since its debut at Shakespeare's Globe in London. Staged by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines in CST's Courtyard Theater April 30-June 16, 2013, Henry VIII features a celebrated company of artists that includes Gregory Wooddell in the title role and Christina Pumariega as Anne Boleyn. The acting company features an ensemble of veteran CST actors which includes Kate Buddeke, David Darlow, Kevin Gudahl, Scott Jaeck, Ora Jones, David Lively and Mike Nussbaum.

Written in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII dramatizes the king's historic divorce from Katherine of Aragon and his tumultuous marriage to Anne Boleyn. As the sordid tale of England's most opulent king unfolds, the political machinations and exploits of a monarch-notorious for his habit of wedding and beheading-are laid bare, and the future of England is forever altered with the birth of Queen Elizabeth.

"This year Henry VIII celebrates 400 years since its first production, making it a perfect time for its Chicago premiere at CST," said Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. "With the success of Showtime's The Tudors and Hilary Mantel's newest Booker Prize-winning book Bring Up the Bodies, it seems that people can't get enough of this scandalous tale of King Henry VIII and the captivating Anne Boleyn-and Shakespeare was no exception."

Leading the cast of Henry VIII in the title role is Gregory Wooddell, making his CST debut. Wooddell has been seen on Broadway as Brian in The Lyons and Arviragus in Cymbeline at Lincoln Center Theater. Regional credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally's Some Men (Philadelphia Theatre Company), the American Premiere of School of Night (Mark Taper Forum), Gross Indecency (Alley Theatre), and multiple productions at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, including The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello and The Comedy of Errors. Christina Pumariega makes her CST debut in the role of Anne Boleyn. Pumariega and Wooddell reunite as lovers in Henry VIII, having previously worked together at Shakespeare Theatre Company in the 2010 production of Twelfth Night as Viola and Orsino. This past fall, Pumariega performed in Kara Lee Corthron's AliceGraceAnon at New Georges, and she recently made her Broadway debut opposite Jeff Goldblum in Theresa Rebeck's Seminar, directed by Sam Gold.

Henry VIII features an ensemble of veteran Chicago actors who have earned numerous accolades, working together at Chicago Shakespeare and theaters across the city. Jeff Award-winner Kate Buddeke will perform the role of Old Lady, with previous CST credits including Macbeth (Witch) and As You Like It (Audrey). Jeff Award-winning actor David Darlow stays on with the Theater to play Campeius in Henry VIII, after portraying the title role in British director Jonathan Munby's production of Julius Caesar. Additional CST credits include: Othello (Brabantio), Timon of Athens (Apemantus) and As You Like It (Jaques). Jeff Award-winning actor Kevin Gudahl returns to CST to portray Surveyor/Griffith, after his recent performance as Acaste in the Midwest premiere of the David Ives' play The School for Lies, directed by Barbara Gaines. Celebrated for his role as William Shakespeare in CST's production of Elizabeth Rex, Gudahl has performed in more than 30 CST productions, including Timon of Athens (Writer/Judge), The Madness of George III (Captain Fitzroy) and As You Like It (Duke Senior). Scott Jaeck will perform the role of Cardinal Wolsey. Jaeck has acted in more than 10 productions at CST, including Twelfth Night (Sir Toby Belch), The Merchant of Venice (Antonio/Prince of Arragon) and Richard II (Henry Bolingbroke). Ora Jones, who was last seen at CST as Nurse/Harriet Pauling in the critically acclaimed production of Sunday in the Park with George, directed by Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, will perform the role of Katherine of Aragon. Additional credits at CST include: The Madness of George III (Queen Charlotte), Twelfth Night (Maria) and A Flea in Her Ear (Lucienne Homenides de Histangua). David Lively will perform the role of Norfolk. Lively has acted in more than 15 CST productions, including the recent productions of Julius Caesar (Ligarius/Lepidus), The Madness of George III (Thurlow) and Romeo and Juliet (Friar Laurence). Jeff Award-winner Mike Nussbaum returns to CST in the role of Suffolk, after portraying Dimitri Weismann in the 2011 Jeff Award-winning production of Follies, helmed by Gary Griffin. Additional CST roles include: The Taming of the Shrew (Gremio), Hamlet (Polonius) and The Merchant of Venice (Shylock).

Additional actors returning to CST for Gaines' production of Henry VIII include: Lance Baker as Gardiner, Adam Brown as Lord Sandys, William Dick as Lovell, Nathan Hosner as Lord Chamberlain and Samuel Taylor as Cromwell. Making his CST debut is Andrew Long as Buckingham/Cranmer. Rounding out the cast for Henry VIII are ensemble members Anu Bhatt, John Byrnes, Nick Druzbanski, Hillary Horvath, Alexa Ray Meyers and Cassandra Nelson.

Artistic Director Barbara Gaines is the founder of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she has directed more than 30 of Shakespeare's plays. Honors include: the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre; the prestigious Honorary OBE (Office of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her contributions to strengthening British-American cultural relations; and Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production (Hamlet, Cymbeline, King Lear and The Comedy of Errors), and for Best Director (Cymbeline, King Lear and The Comedy of Errors). She received the Public Humanities Award from the Illinois Humanities Council, and is the recipient of the Spirit of Loyola Award. Ms. Gaines received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dominican University and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Lake Forest College. She serves on the Shakespearean Council of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London and is a Life Trustee of Northwestern University. She made her Lyric Opera Debut directing Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth.

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