[Updated 2.10.2022]

The nationally-renowned Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) announced its 45th-anniversary season with a trifecta of artistic offerings–including one Shakespearean comedy, one Shakespearean tragedy, and one modern favorite.

The season will launch in early June 2022 with the long-awaited return of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield at the beautiful outdoor Ewing Theatre. Patrons will recall the 2008 and 2011 performances, which featured long-time Illinois Shakespeare Festival actors Thom Quinn and David Kortemeier. The production was slated for a return in ISF’s 2020 season but was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Broadway Play Publishing describes the piece as “one of the world’s most frequently produced plays and has been translated into several dozen languages. Featured are all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays, meant to be performed in 97 minutes, by three actors. Fast-paced, witty, and physical, it’s full of laughter for Shakespeare lovers and haters alike.” Audiences will have the chance to attend in-person performances during the two-week run on June 4, 5, and 7-12, with a preview performance on June 3.

ISF will follow the launch of the season with two Shakespearean productions in repertory. First in the series is Much Ado About Nothing, running July 2 through August 5, 2022, with a preview performance on July 1.

They bicker and they banter, they mock and charm, they are Beatrice and Benedick, Shakespeare’s beguiling comedic characters of Much Ado About Nothing. Considered Shakespeare’s best romantic-comedy, Much Ado provides us with witty timeless language, a set of young mistake-prone lovers, bumbling sidekicks, and a perfectly matched couple who are yet to discover it.

Next in repertory is King Lear, which will run July 9 through August 4, 2022, with a preview performance on July 8.

Strained relations between a father and his daughters are at the core of Shakespeare’s explosive tragedy, King Lear. In this tale of intimate family drama and political manipulation, an aged leader at the height of his power and influence loses his grip on position, power, family, and sanity when hubris and ego trump love and loyalty. Lear examines the most basic questions of human existence and is considered one the most powerful dramas in Western literature.

ISF last produced Much Ado About Nothing in 2014 and King Lear in 2003, so patrons will be pleased to see these two favorites return to the Ewing stage. Out-of-town patrons looking for a weekend getaway will have the option of several weekends where they can attend both shows.

Patrons can also anticipate other beloved staples of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival experience, including a yet-to-be-titled Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) production. Audiences of all ages are invited to the yearly TYA play, a free family-friendly production staged on Thursday and Saturday mornings. The 2022 production is scheduled Thursday, June 30 through Saturday, August 6 on the lawn of Ewing Cultural Center. The popular Summer Camps for Youth program will also return with summer offerings for students interested in the theatre arts.

Patrons should mark their calendars for two essential events in the ISF season. Individuals and teams can take part in the annual John Stevens Memorial Golf Outing on Monday, June 13, 2022, at Ironwood Golf Course in Normal. This fun event includes a plethora of prizes and raises funds to support the hiring of one professional Actors’ Equity Association actor each summer. The season will go out with a bang with the unforgettable Bard Bash on Saturday, August 6, 2022. This special evening includes a one-of-a-kind cabaret performance featuring the actors from the 2022 company.

Season tickets for the 2022 Season will go on sale Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Individual tickets will go on sale Tuesday, March 15, 2022. For more information, visit www.IllinoisShakes.com or call the ISF Box Office at (309)438-2535.