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  Shakespeare In Love at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Shakespeare In Love

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

The Oscar-winning romantic comedy about Shakespeare and his Chamberlain's Men returns to its rightful home-the stage. Imagine a young playwright on the make struggling to write his new tragic love story, "Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter." The title just doesn't have the right ring-and young Will Shakespeare knows it. He's got writer's block and must do something quickly. Will needs a muse, and he finds one in Viola, a vivacious beauty who will do anything-even disguise herself as a man-to audition for the stage where no women are permitted to perform. Once revealed, the torrid affair begins inspiring the completion of the most romantic tragedy ever penned. Backstage maneuverings jostle hilariously with onstage dramas in this love letter to Theater itself, directed by multiple Jeff Award winner and Chicago Shakespeare favorite Rachel Rockwell.

Thru - Jun 18, 2017

Price: $58-$88

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Seating Chart

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  Shakespeare In Love Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Rockwell's production is uniformly well-acted (with a few overly broad exceptions). Nick Rehberger is unpretentious and likable as the man himself, and Kate McGonigle is pleasing as Viola, a woman who dares to violate the prohibition against females appearing on stage. There are several splendid cameos, including Linda Reiter as Queen Elizabeth (she was especially funny when her trapdoor got stuck at Sunday's opening), the dog Dash as Spot, and, most interesting of all, Michael Perez as a Marlowe, mercifully far from the Rupert Everett archetype."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Scott Davis’ handsome set is a neat complement to Chicago Shakespeare’s own Courtyard beauty, with handsome costumes by Susan E. Mickey. Matt Hawkins’ sword fight choreography is terrifyingly dangerous and expertly rendered by the actors. Composer Neil Bartram’s original score is a beauty, with the voice of Alana Grossman absolutely breathtaking (wish there were more of it)."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The big question is whether Lee Hall's 2014 stage adaptation makes you long for the movie, and the answer is no: I never felt I was watching a pale rehash, especially given the talent assembled for Rachel Rockwell's staging. (Supporting performances are particularly strong, including Linda Reiter's Queen Elizabeth, Luigi Sottile's Ned Alleyn, and Nathaniel Braga's Sam.) Known for musicals, Rockwell brings musicality to the play."
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Tony Adle

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...The cast is top-notch across the board and ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek which absolutely is the correct tone for this show, with Rehberger and McGonigle being a handsome and passionate pair as the star-crossed lovers. The supporting players are colorful masters of ( mostly ) comedy, among them Larry Yando ( a study in droll scene-stealing ) as theater impresario Henslowe."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Rachel Rockwell's production is handsome and enjoyable, to be sure, dotted with pleasing turns by Chicago stalwarts like Larry Yando and Ron Rains. Of the two leads, both New York-based young actors making their Chicago debuts, Kate McGonigle fares slightly better, crafting a more robust and playful Viola than Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar-winning performance; Nick Rehberger, as Will, has the same problem Joseph Fiennes did in the film: His character's name is in the title, but everything seems to happen to him rather than because of him."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Using retro-contrivances and mistaken identities of Olympic proportions, Shakespeare in Love represents a flagrant case of life imitating art (and vice versa). In what could pass for artistic vandalism, Stoppard and Norman imagine that Romeo and Juliet is nothing more than an almost piratical plagiarism: A certain William Shakespeare stole wholesale from everything he heard, said or that happened around him. Genius? Originality? Unstoppable dedication? Nope, just good ears and a rapid pen. (If you want a flawlessly credible recreation of a drama's debut, you're safer with Mike Leigh's 1999 depiction of the origins of The Mikado in his marvelous Topsy-Turvy.)"
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Shakespeare In Love is one of the finest plays seen on a Chicago stage this year! It demonstrates why I believe the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is Chicago’s finest theater troupe. See Shakespeare In Love and you’ll understand why."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...I think my favorite character in the production is Henslowe ( played with just the right comical touch by Larry Yando) who has many references to how no matter the negative, the play always works out and gets done on time and right. “It is a mystery!” If you have ever done theater-work, you know just how true this line is!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Queen Elizabeth (Linda Reiter), here more a Red Queen than a Gloriana, is as bored of theater as Hall apparently desires us to be, preferring an antic dog to a bad actor-really, who can disagree? Enter Viola de Lesseps (Kate McGonigle), who can penetrate the inexplicable dumbshows and noise to the essential poetry of the plays, mouthing the words along with the players, inspired by their content to experience "unbiddable, ungovernable, like a riot in the heart" love, "love as there has never been in a play.""
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Irene Hsiao

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This romantic comedy is a welcome addition to Chicago Shakespeare's season. It's directed with sensitivity, yet an eye and ear for subtle comedy and Elizabethan accuracy, by the wonderful Rachel Rockwell. Her cast is immaculate and she tells this fictional story as if it actually happened. The hilarity arises from the situations, provided primarily by the supporting cast and ensemble, and the whole production is bathed in a beautiful, romantic score that makes this play with music the perfect choice for heralding Springtime in Chicago."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...“Shakespeare in Love” is a more commercial production that we usually see at the CST. The original London production was co-produced by Disney Theatrical Productions. But any show involving Tom Stoppard is likely to be stimulating and articulate and adult in the best sense of the word (the current Court Theatre presentation of Stoppard’s “The Hard Problem” is dense to the point of impenetrability). The Shakespeare play is basically a fun romance, highly theatrical, especially well cast in the smaller roles. The physical production is impressive, and that final act will knock the audience for a joyous loop."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...Wow! I am in love with SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. The smart script has plenty of personality and jokes. Rockwell brings to life all these characters in a swirling madcap romance. And it even has a dog (played by Dash). So much to love! This is your spring fling! Get a ticket!"
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Somewhat Recommended

"...Shakespeare In Love, however, lacks something. It isn't the love; everyone's striving for love and craft is palpable. And it isn't the Shakespeare, necessarily; his words are amply represented. Perhaps it's a genuine love of Shakespeare that's missing."
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Patrick O'Brien

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...The Oscar-winning film, Shakespeare in Love, has been adapted for the stage, and what better company to present its Chicago premiere than Chicago Shakespeare Theater, whose lush costumes and dynamic scenery frequently rival the production values of major motion pictures. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall from Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman's Academy Award-winning screenplay, the play cleverly breathes new life into arguably the most famous love story of all time."
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Brent Eickhoff

Let's Play - Highly Recommended

"...Nick and Kate’s portrayal of two lost souls hopelessly seeking to love for a lifetime was very convincing and with the overall stage scenery within the beautiful Shakespeare Theater, it brought you back in time as if you were truly in the year 1590. All of the cast were equally as charming and “It’s a mystery,” why anyone would walk away not enjoying this play. We give Shakespeare in Love 2 Thumbs Up! If you enjoy having fun and seeing a love worth dying for, then this play is for you."
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Rick & Brenda McCain

  Shakespeare In Love Photo Gallery

   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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