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Yando, Chioran, Cross Conjure the World of Cymbeline
for Chicago Shakespeare

Publication: Playbill
Published: September 1, 2007
Client: Chicago Shakespeare Theater

By Kenneth Jones

Cymbeline, Shakespeare's late-career romance that is often billed as a kind of fairy tale, begins the 21st season of Chicago Shakespeare Theater Sept. 1.

CST artistic director Barbara Gaines directs the circa 1609 play about "love, fidelity and deception." Performed in Chicago Shakespeare's Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier, Cymbeline opens Sept. 9 after previews, and will continue to Nov. 11.

In the adventure, according to CST, "Imogen, who in defiance of her father, King Cymbeline, secretly marries the poor, but worthy, Posthumus. When Cymbeline discovers her marriage and banishes her husband, Imogen — disguised as a boy — sets off into the Welsh countryside in search of him. The adventuresome journey to the couple's reunion is populated with colorful characters, a wicked stepmother, sword fights and sleeping potions — all the elements of a wondrous tale of love lost and found."

The play — at turns bloody and comic — has popped up on the slates of theatres around the U.S. recently. Lincoln Center Theater is staging it this fall with Mark Lamos at the helm; Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey recently produced it; Declan Donnellan's production for Cheek By Jowl has been seen internationally, including in May at Brooklyn Academy of Music; and Alabama Shakespeare Theater will stage it in 2008.

King Cymbeline will be played by Chicago actor Larry Yando, who spent three years performing the role of Scar in the national touring production of Broadway's The Lion King.

The villainous Iachimo is played by Juan Chioran, who appeared in the national tour of Broadway's Kiss of the Spider Woman and CST's The Three Musketeers and Hecuba.

Chaon Cross also returns to the CST stage — where she was last seen as Cressida in Barbara Gaines' production of Troilus and Cressida — to play Imogen (a role considered by some scholars to be the greatest female character Shakespeare wrote, according to CST).

The cast of Cymbeline also includes Brad Armacost as Caius Lucius; Shanesia Davis as the Queen; William Dick as Cloten's First Lord and Philario; Lisa Dodson as Soothsayer; Stephen Louis Grush as Guiderius; Joel Hatch as Pisanio; Dennis Kelly as Belarius; John McFarland as Storyteller and Jupiter; Jeff Parker as Cloten's Second Lord and Frenchman; Ernest Perry, Jr. as Cornelius and Jailer; John Sanders as Sicillius; Joe Sikora as Posthumus; Brian Sills as Cloten; and Derrick Trumbly as Arviragus. Scott Butler, Katy Carolina Collins, Rian Jairell, Abigail Misko, Nick Pilarski, Sarah Taylor, Jeff Trainor, and Douglas S. Tyler complete the ensemble.

Original music is composed by Rokko Jans and Lindsay Jones, who also provides the sound design. The creative team also includes scenic designer Michael Philippi, costume designer Susan E. Mickey, lighting designer Philip S. Rosenberg, fight choreographer Robin McFarquhar and wig and make-up designer Melissa Veal.

Criss Henderson is executive director of CST.


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