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William Shakespeare's 450th Birthday Celebrations – Chicago Says “Happy Birthday”

By Chicago Splash Magazine Staff Writer

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Chicago is offering activities of may kinds in celebration of William Shakespeare's 450th Birthday.  All of the events promise to be worthy of a celebration of this magnitude and many of the events are free.  Chicagoans can definitely enjoy this celebration over several weeks.


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) along with Chicago's civic and cultural leaders celebrate William Shakespeare's 450th Birthday with the premiere of "Our City, Our Shakespeare," a documentary exploring Shakespeare’s enduring presence in Chicago, featuring Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Institute of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, among others. Produced by Emmy award-winning HMS Media, the program premieres May 1 at 8:00 p.m. on WTTW Channel 11. Shakespeare's 450th birthday on April 23 begins the internationally recognized Shakespeare Quadricentennial Celebration through 2016, marking 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy since his death in 1616. On this occasion, Chicago’s cultural community heralds the prolific poet and playwright’s lasting impact on our lives—through our everyday speech and in cultural institutions and neighborhoods across the city.


"Our City, Our Shakespeare" examines Chicago's special relationship with the world's most translated and performed playwright. By weaving together footage from theater, opera, dance and improv performances on Chicago's stages and interviews with civic and cultural leaders, theater critics and artists alike, it is clear that Shakespeare lives on in Chicago. The 30-minute program features interviews with notable Chicagoans, including: Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent/CEO; William J. Brodsky, Navy Pier, Inc. Chairman; Barbara Gaines, CST Artistic Director; Criss Henderson, CST Executive Director; Renée Fleming, Lyric Opera of Chicago Creative Consultant; Anthony Freud, Lyric Opera of Chicago General Director; Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director; Douglas Druick, Art Institute of Chicago President; Martha Gilmer, Chicago Symphony Orchestra VP for Artistic Planning and Audience Development; Amina Dickerson, Arts Advisor/Non-Profit and Philanthropic Consultant; Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune Chief Theater Critic; Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times Theater and Dance Critic; Mike Nussbaum, Ora Jones and Kevin Gudahl, actors; Kirsten Kelly, CPS Shakespeare! director; the Q Brothers, GQ and JQ, actors/writers/musicians; Dr. Karen Boran, John Hancock High School Principal; Vincent Pinelli, Benito Juarez Community Academy Drama Department Chair; Blaine Swen, The Improvised Shakespeare Company Creator and Director; and Robert Kameczura and Maureen Warren, visual artists.



"Our City, Our Shakespeare" producer HMS Media has received 17 Emmy Awards, 23 Emmy nominations, four Ruth Page Awards, the Arts & Business Council's ABBY Award and Gold and Silver Plaques from the Chicago International Film Festival for its broadcast specials about theater, dance, music and social issues, which have aired locally on WTTW and nationally on PBS. "Our City, Our Shakespeare" airs on WTTW Channel 11 on May 1 at 8:00 p.m., May 2 at 2 p.m. (WTTW Prime) and 7:30 p.m., and May 4 at 5:30 p.m.



All Chicagoans can join in on the birthday celebration in the coming weeks—whether at the bus stop, around the water cooler, inside the classroom, at home or out and about in the city. The following activities, events and performances offer a way for everyone, everywhere to bring Shakespeare into their lives:


For a full line-up of activities and events surrounding Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, see www.chicagoshakes.com/450.

For more information on Chicago Shakespeare Theater, see www.chicagoshakes.com.

-        See more at: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Website


Published on Apr 18, 2014

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