Shakespeare in Love | Chicago Shakespeare Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Nick Rehberger and Kate McGonigle in Shakespeare in Love

Nick Rehberger and Kate McGonigle in Shakespeare in Love

Liz Lauren

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 18 2017
Price: $58-$88
Hard to believe there was ever a time before Romeo and Juliet. But there was, and the 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love posited a delightful, painful set of circumstances leading to its creation. Will Shakespeare is a budding London playwright, failing to get anywhere with his new comedy (working title Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter) until he meets Viola de Lesseps, who not only admires his work but dreams of performing it on the boys-only English stage. Ethel's nonsense deepens into Juliet's dark romance as Will tumbles into his own tragic love. The big question is whether Lee Hall's 2014 stage adaptation makes you long for the movie, and the answer is no: I never felt I was watching a pale rehash, especially given the talent assembled for Rachel Rockwell's staging. (Supporting performances are particularly strong, including Linda Reiter's Queen Elizabeth, Luigi Sottile's Ned Alleyn, and Nathaniel Braga's Sam.) Known for musicals, Rockwell brings musicality to the play. —Tony Adler

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