Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will do some time-traveling in its 2016-2017 season, with four plays from Shakespeare; another story taken from the Bard’s lifetime; an iconic Christmas story from Victorian times, and a musical — their first — from September, when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
The Baltimore company will start the season with Shakespeare’s Othello, the story of the great Moorish general who turns against his beloved wife upon the poisonous whisperings of his principal aide, Iago. This is the first time that Chesapeake Shakespeare has produced Othello, which will run from September 16 to October 9 of this year.
On October 21, Chesapeake Shakespeare will begin a run of Anne of a Thousand Days, Maxwell Anderson’s blank-verse play about King Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. The play was considered revolutionary when it was released in 1948 (Rex Harrison played the King) because Anne talked about having sex with the King before marriage; twenty-one years later it was a movie with Richard Burton and Genevi?ve Bujold. Anne will play through November 13, 2016.
Chesapeake Shakespeare will give the holiday season over to its own customized version of A Christmas Carol, in which Scrooge operates out of Victorian Baltimore. If you’re wondering, Scrooge will not be played by Peter Angelos. From December 2 to 23.
The company will start out the new year with a revival of Richard III, set in World War I. This story of the rise and fall of a scheming king will be rife with barbed wire and gas masks. “[T[his delightfully frightening production is one of the most popular from our first 14 seasons,” says Chesapeake Artistic Director Ian Gallanar, who will direct. From February 10 to March 5, 2017.
Chesapeake will take on the challenge that Taming of the Shrew represents next Spring. Shrew, which celebrates the Gitmo-like tactics of Petruchio in bringing his assertive, arranged-marriage wife Katerina to heel, seems outrageous to twenty-first century audiences, and contemporary artists must be nimble and clever in putting their production in a watchable context. Chesapeake Shakespeare has not revealed what strategy it will use. From March 17 to April 9 of next year.
The company will follow Shrew with their first musical: The Fantasticks, the Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt college show which ran off-Broadway for forty-two years. The story traces the attempts of two scheming fathers to match their children up by pretending to keep them apart, followed by the young lovers’ efforts to strike out on their own, separately. The Fantasticks will run at Chesapeake Shakespeare from April 21 to May 21, 2017– not quite forty-two years, but sufficient.
Chesapeake Shakespeare concludes its season, as Shakespeare concluded his solo writing career, with The Tempest, a tale of a wizard whose revenge on his tormentors is mercy, and whose gift to his daughter is love. “The Tempest is a play with a little bit of everything — drama, romance, wildly comic characters, spirits, creatures, magic,” Gallaner says. Lizzi Albert will direct the play, which will run from June 16 to July 23 of next year.”.
Season tickets to Chesapeake Shakespeare’s season are available now for current subscribers. New subscriptions will be available May 6.