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Regina Buccola

English professor publishes first book on Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Posted: 10/21/2013

Regina Buccola, associate professor of English at Roosevelt, an expert on Shakespeare and the scholar-in-residence at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), has co-written and co-edited a new groundbreaking book of essays on the theater’s history, significance to Chicago culture and growing reputation as a world-class performance company.

ChicagoShakesMarking the 25th anniversary of the theater and released as the theater  begins its 26th fall performance season, Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Suiting the Action to the Word is the first book to look at the making and maturing of CST.


Featuring essays by theatre scholars, directors, actors and critics, the book traces the history of CST from its humble beginning in 1986 with the staging of a production of Henry V on the rooftop of the Red Lion Pub on Chicago’s north side to its reputation today as a world-class institution known for provocative, award-winning productions and significant educational opportunities at its permanent home on Chicago’s Navy Pier.

“Performances and performance studies in Shakespeare definitely have come of age and into their own during the last 25 years,” said Buccola, who has written one of the book’s essays on the unique vision of CST’s founding artistic director Barbara Gaines. Buccola also co-wrote the book’s introduction and co-edited its 17 essays on a variety of aspects of CST with Peter Kanelos, dean of the honors college and associate professor of literature and humanities at Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.

“I wanted to tell a story about the growing importance and popularity of Shakespeare performance and interpretation in Chicago and I thought ‘What better time than now?’ as CST has just celebrated its silver anniversary,” said Buccola.
 
The book features historical photos from CST’s archives and it brings together works by such heralded figures as Terry Teachout, drama critic for the Wall Street Journal; Jonathan Abarbanel, theatre critic for Chicago Public Radio and Windy City Times; Michael Billington, the longest serving critic at The Guardian in the United Kingdom; Simon Callow, a British actor and director who appeared in Shakespeare in Love; and Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s "Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me."

Published by Northern Illinois University Press, the book unveils the artistic visions and decisions that helped shape an institution that is known for vibrant productions reflecting the Bard’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Suiting the Action to the Word will be discussed by Buccola at a research forum being held at 4:45 p.m. Nov. 7 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

For more information about the book project or Chicago Shakespeare Theater, contact Buccola at rbuccola@roosevelt.edu.