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Photo: Timothy Edward Kane is King Charles II and Scarlett Strallen is Nell Gwynn in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of NELL GWYNN
Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced the cast for the U.S. premiere of Jessica Swale’s comedy NELL GWYNN, running September 20 – November 4 in the Courtyard Theater. The music- and dance-filled play debuted at Shakespeare’s Globe, followed by a run on the West End. Christopher Luscombe, director of the original London production, helms the new Chicago Shakespeare production.
Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, NELL GWYNN follows the true story of an unlikely heroine—the beloved mistress to a king. “Young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges in the burgeoning West End when she is discovered by a theater troupe, and becomes one of the first women to take center stage as the leading actress of Restoration England. With her quick wit and exceptional beauty, she wins over audiences—and the heart of King Charles II.”
Appearing as Nell Gwynn is Scarlett Strallen, a two-time Olivier Award nominee who starred on the West End in the title role of Mary Poppins—which she reprised on Broadway. Portraying King Charles II is multiple Jeff Award-winner Timothy Edward Kane in his seventeenth production at Chicago Shakespeare.
Two-time Olivier Award-winning actor David Bedella appears as Edward Kynaston, along with renowned Chicago actors Larry Yando as Lord Arlington and Hollis Resnik in the dual roles of Ma Gwynn and the Portuguese Queen. John Tufts is Charles Hart, and Emily Gardner Xu Hall portrays two of Charles’ mistresses: Lady Castlemaine and Louise de Keroualle. Multiple Jeff Award-winner Natalie West — best known for her recurring role as Crystal on the sitcom ROSEANNE — is Nell’s dresser, Nancy. The cast is rounded out by Emma Ladji, Christopher Sheard, William Dick, Jeff Diebold, Dylan Obrochta, and Carter Sherman. Additional company members are yet to be announced.
Director Luscombe is joined on the creative team with composer Nigel Hess, who has scored more than twenty productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway, and Music Director Jermaine Hill. The set and costumes are by Hugh Durrant, the lighting design is by Greg Hofmannn, Stephen Ptacek is the sound designer, and the wig and make-up designer is Richard Jarvie. Amber Mak will provide choreography, the dialect coach is Eva Breneman, and the assistant director is Lanise Antoine Shelley.
For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/nellgwynn.