Kate McGonigle as Viola de Lesseps and Nick Rehberger as William Shakespeare in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's production of Shakespeare in Love, a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning film, directed by Rachel Rockwell in CST's Courtyard Theater.
Kate McGonigle as Viola de Lesseps and Nick Rehberger as William Shakespeare in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's production of Shakespeare in Love, a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning film, directed by Rachel Rockwell in CST's Courtyard Theater.
(© Jeff Sciortino)

Shakespeare in Love begins performances tonight at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Rachel Rockwell directs.

Based on the Academy Award-winning film and adapted by Tony winner Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), Shakespeare in Love is described as follows: "Young playwright Will Shakespeare is stuck. He is overdue in finishing his latest play — a half-baked mess of a comedy called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. He finds a muse in Viola de Lesseps, a clever beauty who will do anything — even disguise herself as a man — to audition for the stage, where no women are permitted to perform. Backstage antics meet onstage dramas surrounded by familiar players, including Queen Elizabeth herself. Will and Viola's passionate, forbidden love affair goes on to inspire Shakespeare's masterpiece — the most romantic tragedy ever written."

Nick Rehberger stars as Will Shakespeare. He is joined by Nathaniel Braga (Sam), Scott Danielson (Lambert, Wabash), Jerre Dye (Sir Robert de Lesseps, Tilney), Fred Geyer (Adam, Boatman), Dennis Grimes (Wessex), Alana Grossman (Kate), Ron King (Ralph), Jeff Kurysz (Peter, Frees), Ryan McBride (Robin), Kate McGonigle (Viola de Lesseps), Andrew Mueller (Nol), Michael Perez (Kit Marlowe), Ron E. Rains (Fennyman), Linda Reiter (Queen Elizabeth, Molly), Catherine Smitko (Nurse), Luigi Sottile (Ned Alleyn), Timothy D. Stickney (Burbage), and Larry Yando (Henslowe). Matthew Uzarraga and Jake Helm will alternate in the role of John Webster.

Scott Davis (scenic design), Susan E. Mickey (costume design), Robert Wierzel (lighting design), Ray Nardelli (sound design), Richard Jarvie (wig and make-up design), Neil Bartram (composition and music direction), and Matt Hawkins (fight choreography). Eva Breneman is the dialect and verse coach.

Performances continue through June 11.

For tickets and more information, click here.