Illinois Shakespeare Festival Turns Magical For Anniversary Season | WGLT

Illinois Shakespeare Festival Turns Magical For Anniversary Season

Dec 9, 2016

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival promises a magical 2017 season.
Credit Pete Guither / Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The 2017 season for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival marks the 40th anniversary for the summer theater event, and in order to celebrate the ISF is filling the season with magic.

The three plays that will run in rotation for the 40th anniversary season that begins in June include A Midsummer's Night Dream, Cymbeline, and a hip hop version of Romeo and Juliet called I Heart Juliet.

Kevin Rich, Artistic Director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, credited the community with the success of The Illinois Shakespeare Festival over forty years. "One of my favorite things about this festival is how unbelievably supportive our audience has been over the years.  I can't tell you how many times people come up to me and say that they've seen almost every show at the festival.  It's a community effort and it's clear to me that the community loves this festival."

To celebrate the 40th anniversary season, Rich and Company plan on emphasizing the magical elements of the plays they've selected. "We're working on some very exciting things that I'm not quite ready to reveal quite yet, " said Rich. "But I can say that we will be adding to our programming."

"We'll be doing a really imaginative and fun Midsummer," revealed Rich. "Midsummer and Cymbeline are two of Shakespeare's most magical plays. A lot of the late plays in his career, he's really experimenting with form and there's a fairytale quality to these plays."

Cymbeline will have just six actors, with the performers doubling roles.  The season also features the return of the work of the Q Brothers, who staged their hip hop version of Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2015.  The brothers have adapted Romeo and Juliet into a hip hop work called I Heart Juliet that will be staged with just ten actors.