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Illinois Shakespeare Festival 2020 season announced, tickets on sale

People enjoying picnics on the grounds of Ewing Manor.

Ewing Manor and grounds

Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) Artistic Director John C. Stark shared plans for the 2020 season at the annual ISF season announcement event on October 28 at the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts Theatre. The Festival will run June 26–August 8, 2019, with a special “opening act” production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) that will run June 4–12 as a lead up to the mainstage season.

The 43rd season will feature Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Measure for Measure, as well as One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean.

An irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s plays, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was London’s longest-running comedy having clocked a very palpable nine years in London’s West End at the Criterion Theatre. Join these tumultuous thespians as they weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies in one wild ride that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter. Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) will be directed by William Jenkins.

Would you commit a crime if you are sure that fortune is on your side? The ambitious Macbeths decide to take their chances by murdering the previous king in cold blood—only to realize that they have given up their souls and peace of mind in exchange for the throne. Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy unfurls the tortured minds of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as they succumb to guilt and terror. Macbeth will be directed by Geoffrey Kent.

Francis Henshall thinks he has it all figured out: work two jobs and get double the pay. But as he becomes entangled in a bewildering web of intrigue, crime, and romance, Henshall discovers that being in two places at the same time is not as easy as he thought. Performed on the West End and Broadway, this hilarious, award-winning comedy updates Carlo Goldoni’s Italian classic The Servant of Two Masters into the groovy landscape of 1960s England. One Man, Two Guvnors will be directed by Doug Finlayson.

Vienna is in an uproar as Angelo, the Duke’s surrogate, enforces a strict moral code on sex. But Angelo is unable to abide by his own standards and uses his power to compel Isabella to exchange her chastity for her brother Claudio’s life. Set in a disjointed urban world where convents and brothels stand side by side, Shakespeare speaks to our current climate though this story about justice, morality, and mercy. Measure for Measure will be directed by Jenny McKnight.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged); One Man, Two Guvnors; and Measure for Measure will be performed at the Ewing Theatre, on the grounds of the most beautiful venue for Shakespeare, the Ewing Cultural Center. Macbeth will be performed on the Illinois State University campus, in the air-conditioned comfort of the Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) Theatre.

Season tickets for the three mainstage shows are now on sale for 33 percent off the regular ticket price. This early-bird discount is available now through March 15, 2020, with season ticket packages ranging from $40–$110. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) tickets are $35 general admission or $30 with season ticket purchase. Gift certificates are available in any denomination. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit IllinoisShakes.com or call the CPA Box Office at (309) 438-2535, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Founded in 1978, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival is the professional theatre at Illinois State University’s Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts.

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