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Programming set for 2018 Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Players from the Improvised Shakespeare Company.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company returns to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival as part of the 2018 programming.

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF), under new artistic director John C. Stark, announces a full slate of programming for the 2018 summer season. The Festival begins June 30 and continues through August 11. Tickets are available online at IllinoisShakes.com.

The mainstage productions are The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V by William Shakespeare, and Shakespeare In Love by Tom Stoppard & Marc Norman; adapted by Lee Hal. These productions will open over the first three weeks of the Festival starting with Merry Wives July 5–7 and Henry V July 12-14, both at the Ewing Theatre. Shakespeare in Love will begin July 19–22 at the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) Theatre. A rotating repertory schedule will commence July 24–August 10.

A special event will launch the 2018 Festival on Saturday, June 30 when MooNie the Magnif’Cent will perform two shows. Born at the Festival in 1992, Philip Earl Johnson’s one-man circus of juggling, rope walking, and audience participation has delighted audiences across the country for the last 25 years. MooNie will perform a family matinee at 2 p.m. and a new show for older audiences, To Flop or Not to Flop at 8 p.m. In this second show, MooNiE speaks for the first time, telling true clown stories alongside Shakespeare’s legendary fools.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company returns once again to perform three comedic “made-up plays” based on audience suggestions. The performances will take place July 8, July 25, and August 8 at the CPA Theatre.

ISF’s Theatre for Young Audiences will present Double, Double by Nancy Steele Brokaw, which draws upon the connections between local figure Abraham Lincoln and Shakespeare. The performances will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays, July 7–August 9 at the Ewing Cultural Center. The July 21 performance will be held at Bloomington’s Franklin Park. All performances are free and for all ages.

Reserved-seating tickets for the mainstage shows are available as season passes for as little as $40-$109 for all three plays. Single play prices are $20-$54. Tickets to MooNiE run $15–$18; and Improvised Shakespeare tickets are $18, all general seating. Purchase tickets online at IllinoisShakes.com or by calling (309) 438-2535.

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