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First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook to stream award-winning 'Cymbeline'

OAK BROOK – As a way to help address the absence of live theater performances, First Folio Theatre of Oak Brook will offer a streaming video recording of the award-winning "Cymbeline: A Folk Tale with Music" now through June 14.

It is directed by Michael Goldberg. Adapted from Shakespeare’s romance by David Rice with original music and lyrics by Michael Keefe and Rice, the production was recorded live during a 2013 performance on First Folio’s outdoor stage. The show will stream on the Vimeo video service.

"With an original bluegrass/gospel score played by the cast members themselves, 'Cymbeline' is just the tonic folks need in these difficult times," a news release stated.

Falsely accused of betraying her lover, Imogen must flee to the hills to escape her death. With the help of the shepherd, Morgan, and his two sons, Imogen must prove her honesty and chastity, restore her good name, and defeat her evil stepmother … all while disguised as a boy.

The Shakespearean folk tale has been moved to Civil War Appalachia and set to music in First Folio’s original production of the timeless romance.

The script and score for the show were a double winner at the Joseph Jefferson Awards in its 2013 premiere, winning awards for both Best Adaptation and Original Music for Rice and Keefe.

“We are so excited to be able to offer this video online,” playwright Rice stated in the release. “Cymbeline was one of the most popular summer shows we’ve ever done, and audiences have been asking for the last few years if we’d ever bring it back. Well, this isn’t quite the way we might have expected to do it, but in the current situation, this allows us to help people meet their needs for a bit of Shakespeare-under-the-Stars while staying home.

"We’re encouraging folks to have fun setting up their own picnics, maybe in their living rooms or maybe by taking their laptops out to the backyard, and mounting their own summer Shakespeare festival,” he said.

The cast for "Cymbeline: A Folk Tale with Music" is led by Kate McDermott as the innocent Imogen, Jeff Award-nominee James Earl Jones II in the dual roles of the cunning Iachimo and the Archangel Gabriel, Jeff Award-nominee Ron Keaton as Morgan, and Matthew Keffer as Posthumus.

The production also stars Andrew Behling as Cloten; Victoria Blade as Cornelia; Ryan Czerwonko as Cadmus; Kate LoConti as Valeria the Soothsayer; John Milewski as Cymbeline; Lia Mortensen as the evil Queen; Tyler Rich as Polydore; Skyler Schrempp as Pisania; Tyler Merle Thompson as Philario; and Robert Tobin as General Lucius. The ensemble features Kelly Baskin, Andrew Coil, Lauren Demerath, Michael Ferraro and Royen Kent.

Scenic designer Angela Weber Miller and lighting designer Michael McNamara (both Jeff Award winners) help transport audiences to the lush, hauntingly beautiful scenery of the Appalachian Mountains. Civil War-era clothing is reproduced by costume designer Rachel Lambert, with sound design by Jeff Award-winner Christopher Kriz, dialect coaching by Jason Martin and props design by Tracie Duncan. Kate Danziger is stage manager, with Katie Fecht and Jamie Fuller as assistant stage managers.

Tickets cost $20. Choose any performance and you’ll be able to view "Cymbeline: A Folk Tale with Music" anytime until June 14. Tickets can be purchased online at

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