Cast Set for Sufjan Stevens, Justin Peck, and Jackie Sibblies Drury's New Musical Illinoise | Playbill

Regional News Cast Set for Sufjan Stevens, Justin Peck, and Jackie Sibblies Drury's New Musical Illinoise

Directed and choreographed by Peck, the production will play Chicago Shakespeare Theater before arriving at the Park Avenue Armory next year.

Sufjan Stevens, Justin Peck, and Jackie Sibblies Drury

Casting has been announced for Chicago Shakespeare Theater's upcoming production of the new musical Illinoise, based on Grammy nominee Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed concept album Illinois.

With a libretto by Tony winner Justin Peck (Carousel), who also directs and choreographs, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview), performances are scheduled for January 28–February 18, 2024, in The Yard at the Chicago venue. The production, set around a campfire as dancers, singers, and a live band lead audiences on an epic journey, will subsequently play New York's Park Avenue Armory in March.

The dance company will feature Kara Chan, BenCook, Jeanette Delgado, Gaby Diaz, Robbie Fairchild, Christine Flores, Jada German, Zachary Gonder, Rachel Lockhart, Dario Natarelli, Tyrone Reese, Craig Salstein, Ahmad Simmons, Byron Tittle, Ricky Ubeda, and Alejandro Vargas.

The band will include vocalists Shara Nova and Tasha Viets-VanLear and instrumentalists Christina Courtin, Sean Forte, Domenica Fossati, Daniel Freedman, Kathy Halvorson, Nathan Koci, Eleonore Oppenheim, Brett Parnell, Brandon Ridenour, Kyra Sims, and Jessica Tsang.

Stevens‘ acclaimed 2005 concept album is known for its lush orchestrations and inventive portrayal of the state’s people, landscapes, and history—complete with UFOs, zombies, and predatory wasps. This work weaves together delicate folk narratives about blossoming queerness, orchestral anthems destined for cinematic montages, and jazz tunes about the state’s ghost towns. This stage adaptation made its world premiere earlier this year at the Fisher Center at Bard.

The creative team also includes music director and supervisor Nathan Koci, music arranger and orchestrator Timo Andres (who penned new arrangements of the album), scenic designer Adam Rigg, lighting designer Brandon Stirling Baker, sound designer Garth MacAleavey, costume designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, props designer Andrew Diaz, mask designer Julian Crouch, associate director and choreographer Adriana Pierce, associate music director Sean Forte, production stage manager Rick Steiger, production manager Brian Freeland, executive producer Nate Koch, general managemers NVK/Jenna Ready and Joanna Pisano, and booking agent ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann.

Illinoise, originally commissioned, developed, and produced at the Fisher Center at Bard, is a co-commission of the Fisher Center at Bard, Park Avenue Armory, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Southbank Centre, TO Live, and the Perelman Performing Arts Center, and is produced in association with ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann.


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