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Chicago Shakespeare Theater launches 2014 schedule

Lovers Tristan (Andrew Durand) and Yseult (Patrycja Kujawska) in "Tristan and Yseult," presented in CST’s Courtyard Theater March 30 through April 13.
Lovers Tristan (Andrew Durand) and Yseult (Patrycja Kujawska) in "Tristan and Yseult," presented in CST’s Courtyard Theater March 30 through April 13.
Steve Tanner

The first half of 2014 is fully stocked with comedy, music and drama at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.

The season begins with William Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

Chicago Shakespeare Artistic Director Barbara Gaines provides a jolly night out as audiences are transported to a small English town in the late 1940s, complete with the swinging music and dance of the era.

Embraced by audiences as one of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies, this high-spirited romp centers on the lovable rogue Sir John Falstaff. Hard up for money and seeking to restore his riches, Falstaff attempts to seduce the wives of Windsor’s two most prominent men. But the wooed Windsor women see through his schemes, and his plans go awry with disastrous and hilarious consequences.

Hurry to this one, which has won critical acclaim and closes on Jan. 19.

Next up is a classic Stephen Sondheim show. Chicago Shakespeare Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin directs the musical fable "Gypsy," from Feb. 6 through March 23.

Boasting one show-stopping song after another, like “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Let Me Entertain You,” this musical is inspired by memoirs of the burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee. This marks Griffin’s continued exploration of the Sondheim canon. Tony Award nominee Louise Pitre makes her CST debut as Rose, the most infamous of all stage mothers.

Pitre’s career highlights include many critically acclaimed performances in the theater, on television and concert stages across North America and Europe.

Families with children age 10 and up can enter the magical forest filled with some of Shakespeare's most comedic characters with "A Midsummer Night's Dream," one of CST's most popular Short Shakespeare! productions.

Directed and adapted by David H. Bell, the show runs from Feb. 22 to March 22.

When lovers cross with mischievous sprites in an enchanted forest, a series of mishaps occur and nothing is what it seems. Add to the mix a bevy of fumbling actors and chaos breaks loose until dawn breaks and all is once again right with the world. After the performance, the actors remain on stage for a brief question-and-answer session. Then join the cast in the Lobby for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities.

This 75-minute abridged Short Shakespeare! production serves as an ideal introduction to the Bard for audiences of all ages.

Garry Griffin takes on a second Stephen Sondheim musical of the season as director of "Road Show," running March 13 through May 4.

Both "Gypsy" and "Road Show" are inspired by real stories of ambitious Americans in pursuit of their dreams. Based on the lives of the boldly enterprising brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner, the musical journey of "Road Show" spans 40 years, starting with the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom in the 1930s.

Traversing the continent in a variety of get-rich-quick schemes, the brothers stick together through experiences that change their lives in unexpected ways.

Kneehigh's "Tristan & Yseult," directed and adapted by Emma Rice, makes its long-awaited Chicago debut from March 30 through April 13.

Lauded around the world for its trademark vitality, the artistic collective from Cornwall, England, Kneehigh fills the CST stage with its iconic work that has catapulted the company to international fame.

Marrying gorgeous music and ingenious staging with cheeky humor and Wagnerian intensity, Kneehigh now reimagines one of the world’s oldest love stories.

Cornish King Mark is at war; he rules with his head, not his heart. But he hasn’t counted on falling head over heels for his enemy’s sister. Nor has he expected the arrival of the enigmatic Tristan.

Shakespeare's "Henry V" closes the first half of the year at CST with performances from April 29 through June 15.

Christopher Luscombe directs this rousing finale to the 2014 season with a powerful history play staged at CST for the first time. Luscombe, a British director whose work has been featured at the Royal Shakespeare Company, sheds new light on the Bard's legendary coming-of-age story.

Against all odds, a charismatic young monarch confronted by the ferocity of war proves his worth as a man, and a king. Henry V is Shakespeare’s rallying cry, celebrating the power of language to summon battlefields from thin air and ignite our souls to action.

For more information or tickets contact the Chicago Shakespeare Theater website or call 312-595-5600. For group sales of 10 or more call 312-595-5678.

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