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Articles tagged with: Barbara Gaines

‘Taming of the Shrew’ at Chicago Shakespeare translates romp of an era into modern comedy

Oct 8, 2017 – 6:33 pm
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Review: On the surface, the idea of an all-female cast for Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” smacks of gimmickry. Framing the story within a contrivance about the women’s campaign in 1919 for the right to vote sounds downright tormented. But “The Taming of the Shrew,” for modern audiences the most problematic entry in the Shakespeare canon, surely has not been brought to the stage with greater wit, brilliance or plausibility since – oh, since women got the right to vote. ★★★★★

Shakespeare 400 Chicago: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ brings remembrance of Bard near final curtain

Dec 20, 2016 – 2:22 pm
A WINTER’S TALE by Shakespeare,          , Writer - William Shakespeare, Director - 
Declan Donnellan, Designer - 
Nick Ormerod
, Cheeck by Jowl, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/

Review: Chicagoland theater buffs have spent a goodly part of the last year reveling in the many and wondrously diverse events of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. This circle of opportunity, revelation and indeed riotous and profound fun – engineered mainly by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and its artistic director, Barbara Gaines — comes to a close Dec. 21 with the final performances of “The Winter’s Tale.” It’s a crackling production by the British company Cheek by Jowl, and one that brings the yearlong observance back to its auspicious starting place. ★★★★

English kings in bloody struggles for power: Part 2 of Chicago Shakespeare’s history saga

Sep 27, 2016 – 3:50 pm
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Review: Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s outsized and smartly honed two-part miniseries “Tug of War,” focusing on the endless cycle of royal usurpation and bloodshed in the Bard’s history plays, comes to its conclusion with a sequence that illuminates the brief reign and unsurprising death of horseless Richard III at Bosworth Field. For my part, I shall not ask with the great songstress Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?” My question is: When will we be able see it again? ★★★★

Shakespeare director Barbara Gaines modulates to Mozart at Lyric Opera, and sees second Bard

Sep 23, 2015 – 12:10 pm
Barbaraa Gaines directs Figaro

Interview: The first venture for the Lyric Opera of Chicago this season is also the first Mozart ever taken on by Barbara Gaines, artistic director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. And in the poignancy – and the comedy – of “The Marriage of Figaro,” Gaines finds the Bard’s own sensibility, his empathy and his compassion.

Theater 2015-16: Presto! Chicago Shakespeare season blows in with super-magical ‘Tempest’

Sep 2, 2015 – 11:40 pm
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8th in a series of season previews

‘Sense & Sensibility’ at Chicago Shakespeare: Austen’s beloved sisters glow in new musical

May 14, 2015 – 8:05 am
'Sense and Sensibility' at Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2015 (Liz Lauren)

Review: You can just as easily chart a path from Jane Austen to Stephen Sondheim as you can from Austen to Disney, and thus it is not surprising that Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s artistic director Barbara Gaines should create the world premiere production of Paul Gordon’s diverting new musical based on Austen’s first published novel. “Sense and Sensibility” tells the astonishingly vital story of two sisters of marriageable age – one a yin to the other’s yang – in the 1790s. ★★★★

From ‘Romeo’ to ‘Figaro,’ love rules as Lyric plans eight operas, ‘King and I’ for 2015-16

Feb 11, 2015 – 10:34 am
Thomas Hampson and Renee Fleming to star at Chicago Lyric Opera in Nov. -Dec. 2015.

Report: You know that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner when the romantic couplings planned for the Lyric Opera’s 2015-16 season are the stuff of headlines. The game of love becomes a delicious frenzy when lots of money and a very attractive widow are at stake: Soprano Renée Fleming will be playing her “Merry Widow” title role to the hilt with baritone Thomas Hampson beginning Nov. 14 and into the holiday season. We provide details.

‘Lear’ at Chicago Shakespeare: A worthy king rules over concept that Frankly doesn’t sing

Oct 4, 2014 – 9:33 am
Crazed, rejected Lear (Larry Yando, right) confronts wild nature with his devoted Fool (Ross Lehman). (Liz Lauren)

Review: Were it not for Larry Yando’s crushing turn in the title role, Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “King Lear” would amount to little more than an ill-advised concept played out by a cast that largely misses both the pulse and the pressure of Shakespeare’s language. Setting aside for the moment this production’s manifold curiosities, at its core reigns the regal figure of Yando, whose portrait of Lear – as imperious fool stripped to his humiliated soul – is an experience not to be missed. ★★★

Theater 2014-15: Chicago Shakespeare bounty runs gamut from ‘Lear’ to Jane Austen musical

Aug 17, 2014 – 1:18 pm
Larry Yando in the title role of 'King Lear' at Chicago Shakespeare autumn 2014. (JeffSciortino)

Fifth in a series of season previews: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre honors its namesake this season with an autumn production of “King Lear,” the fantastic adventures of “Pericles” and a contemporary sequel to “Macbeth” that wryly ponders the chaos that befalls Scotland upon that usurper’s demise. Capping the season will be the world premiere of the musical “Sense and Sensibility,” composer-lyricist Paul Gordon’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel.

With Sir John Falstaff as an overstuffed delight, CST romps in ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’

Jan 4, 2014 – 4:36 pm
Mistresses Ford (Heidi Kettenring, left) and Page (Kelli Fox) with the antlered Falstaff (Scott Jaeck) at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (Liz Lauren)

Review: You never know what pared-down, free-wheeling adaptation of Shakespeare you’re going to get at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. But even for CST, its 1940s setting of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” complete with a musical track of period pop tunes, takes fast-and-loose into a new dimension. It’s also a complete delight. ★★★★

‘Henry VIII’ at Chicago Shakespeare: Depicting the king in kindly tint, as Elizabeth’s forebear

May 22, 2013 – 3:08 pm
As Cardinal Wolsey (Scott Jaeck) and Cardinal Campeius (David Darlow) look on, Queen Katherine (Ora Jones) pleads her case to King Henry VIII (Gregory Wooddell) in "Henry VIII" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2013 credit Liz Lauren

Review: ★★★★

The New Season: Chicago Shakespeare offers a walk ‘In the Park with George’ and a premiere

Oct 2, 2012 – 12:32 am
Stephen Sondheim Sunday in the Park with George promotional montage Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2012

15th in a series of season previews: Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2012-13 season will extend artistic director Barbara Gaines’ deep exploration of the Bard with “Henry VIII” as associate artistic director Gary Griffin adds a Sondheim encore to last year’s hit production of “Follies.” And Gaines will direct what she calls “the funniest play I ever read” in the Chicago premiere of David Ives’ comedy “The School for Lies,” a romping modern spin on Molière’s “The Misanthrope.”

Chicago Shakespeare’s lean and brisk ‘Timon’ zooms in on crash-and-burn of a needy Midas

May 3, 2012 – 5:51 pm
Timon of Athens starring Ian McDiarmid Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Mega-rich tycoon falls low. 4 stars!

Ian McDiarmid, revving the engines of anger, ready to take on Shakespeare’s raging Timon

Apr 28, 2012 – 12:21 pm
Timon of Athens feature sub 250 Ian McDiarmid Chicago Shakespeare Theater credit Liz Lauren

Preview: The Scottish actor, a Shakespeare veteran, talks with Chicago On the Aisle about the dark and turbulent mindscape of “Timon of Athens.” The play opens May 2 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Role Playing: Diane D’Aquila’s twice regal portrait as lover-monarch in ‘Elizabeth Rex’

Jan 9, 2012 – 3:36 am
Diane D'Aquila featured image

Interview: Diane D’Aquila, who brings Queen Elizabeth I to regal and vulnerable life in Timothy Findley’s “Elizabeth Rex” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, says acting in this gripping, keenly honed production “is a like a dance out there, and it’s scary as hell.”