The Illinois Shakespeare Festival sent out its season brochure this week, and there are some very new choices on the schedule under new artistic director Kevin Rich.
In addition to the usual Shakespeare mainstage shows performed during the summer at Ewing Manor -- Comedy of Errors runs from a special preview on July 5 to August 8 and Macbeth opens with its own preview on July 6, finishing up August 9 -- Illinois Shakes has added a brand-new option, Philip Dawkins' Failure: A Love Story, a "beautiful, whimsical, extraordinary" play about three sisters, the man who loves them each in turn, and an eccentric musical chorus, set in Chicago in 1928. Failure previews on July 11, followed by performances through August 10.
I feel like an informercial, but seriously, there's more! First, more improv with ISU's Improv Mafia and the Shakespeare Globetrotters Time to Make the Shakespeare, performed on the patio at Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works in Bloomington on Thursday nights in May and at Ewing Manor on Sunday evenings beginning July 14. Plus two new greenshows written especially for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival by local author Nancy Steele Brokaw. And a children's show called The Magical Mind of Billy Shakespeare, written by Kevin Rich, performed at 10 am on Wednesdays on the grounds at Ewing Manor starting May 29, with Saturday performances beginning June 1 split between Ewing, Lincoln Park at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts and the Bloomington Farmers Market.
Too many choices? Your mind spinning? Look out for the first event with Edward III on April 22, and then take it one step at a time through that last performance of Failure: A Love Story on August 10. And right now... Tickets are on sale. Call 866-IL-Shake or check out all the details at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival website.