An Evening of Shakespeare | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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An Evening of Shakespeare

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Like any playwright, Will Shakespeare appreciated the vital importance of two elements in helping him get his words across to the public: fine actors and generous patrons. This informal performance showcases several of the former and celebrates one of the latter, Hope Abelson. Tony-winning British actor Brian Bedford--a stalwart of the Stratford Festival in Ontario as well as a Broadway and TV star--will share the Goodman Theatre stage with such local luminaries as Harry J. Lennix, David Darlow, Kristine Thatcher, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Ora Jones, and Steve Pickering in an hour or so of monologues and scenes from the Bard's plays. Their artistry will honor the mighty role Abelson's largesse has played in the off-Loop scene over the last three decades. Her showbiz credits include early work as a Chicago radio actress, a stint as assistant to legendary New York producer Cheryl Crawford (Abelson transcribed Tennessee Williams's scrawled rewrites for Camino Real off scraps of paper from the playwright's pockets), and coproducing two Broadway hits, The Rainmaker and The Royal Hunt of the Sun. But her most significant contribution has been her support of theater in her hometown since the late 1960s: she and her late husband, Lester, advised and helped fund many local troupes, from mainstream to fringe. One of her pet projects is the Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival's fellows program, which sponsors local actors' engagements by Canada's prestigious classical theater. This performance is the first portion of a benefit for the Stratford endeavor called "Much Ado About Something," and though the deadline has passed to book seats for the gala dinner that follows, there are still low-cost tickets available for the show itself (admission includes a reception in the Goodman lobby). Goodman Theatre, 200 S. Columbus, Chicago, 312-443-3800. Monday, October 25, 6:30 PM performance (preceded by cocktails at 5:30). $15.

--Albert Williams

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lisa Ebright.

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