William Shakespeare would love what the creative forces at Chicago Shakespeare Theater have dreamed up for a magical new telling of his stage tale "The Tempest."
For this project, they've teamed with award-winning directors Aaron Posner and Teller, the latter being half of the magic duo Penn & Teller,
Framed by the hauntingly beautiful music of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan and seamless choreography from dance troupe Pilobolus led by Associate Artistic Director Matt Kent, this fun and fantastical "Tempest," now playing until Nov. 8, is unlike anything ever dreamed up previously to enchant audiences.
Clocking in at two hours and 30 minutes with one intermission, the Bard's mysterious sorcerer in this tale, Prospero, as played with refined fury and resolve by venerable Larry Yando, really do have a magical touch to carry out his revenge upon his enemies.
Inventive and bewitching staging capture the tone of the story, which begins with Prospero's crafted storm to shipwreck an unsuspecting lot on his magical island. The island is also inhabited by daughter Miranda, an enchanting turn by actress Eva Louise Balistrieri and unfortunate slave, Caliban, as ingeniously played by entwined twosome Zach Eisenstat and Manelich Minniefee.
There is also one other important island occupant of this house of cards. It is the wistful spirit Ariel, not usually seen by others with the exception of his master, who is at Prospero's whim to do his will and bidding. For this new production of "The Tempest," audiences have the good fortune to witness real-life sleight-of-hand and master of magic artist Nate Dendy in the pale yet powerful role of Ariel.
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As for those marooned on the island, there's Prince Ferdinand, played by Luigi Sottile, his father King Alonso, played by John Lister, the monarch's brother Sebastian, played by Michael Aaron Lindner and the royal counselor as played by Barbara Robertson. This group is joined by two silly court musicians, played perfectly by Ron E. Rains and Adam Wesley Brown, who easily steal their every fun scene.
The real musical talents of the group are the assembled singers Bethany Thomas and Liz Filios joined by instrumentalists Ethan Deppe and Jake Saleh. The lyricism of Shakespeare’s poetry comes to life in this fantastical story of vengeance, love and forgiveness, where sorcery gives way to the inclinations of the heart.
Scenic Designer Daniel Conway and Lighting Designer Thom Weaver provide their own magic tone for this stage story, just as illusionist Johnny Thompson offers his own expertise along with Teller for the magical touches. Paloma Young has an array of mesmerizing costume designs with additional costumes by Rachel Laritz. Jeff Award-winner Ray Nardelli captures a very moving sound design.
This "Tempest" is a ticket with plenty of tricks and transformations to tempt one and all.
Tickets are $48-$88 at (312) 595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com. All patrons receive a 40 percent discount on parking in Navy Pier garages.