Spies deception and murder: ‘The Shakespeare Conspiracy’ opens March 14 at Artists’ Ensemble

Staff Report

Spies, deception, and murder are on the menu in March at Artists’ Ensemble Theater (AE) with the regional premiere of a new history mystery, The Shakespeare Conspiracy, running March 14-30.

This literary whodunit is by two playwrights with local ties: Ted Bacino and Rufus Cadigan.

A friend of mine lent me Ted’s novel,” said Cadigan. “I couldn’t put it down, with its fun twists of murder, mystery and romance. On a whim, I decided to find the author and gave him a call.”

Although Cadigan and Bacino had never met, they agreed to collaborate on adapting Bacino’s novel for the stage. Cadigan is a founding member of AET and a retired theater professor from Rockford University. Bacino headed Starlight Theatre for many years before leaving Rockford.

Their play centers on Christopher Marlowe, the most celebrated playwright in London. He is about to stand trial for treason, when he meets with a violent, and convenient, death.

Constable Henry Maunder is charged with investigating Marlowe’s murder, but the deeper he digs, the deeper the mystery he uncovers.

Actors Carl Herzog and Stanton Davis, both making their AE debuts, play Marlowe and Maunder. Chicago actor Christian Gray plays Marlowe’s patron, Sir Thomas Wolsingham.

Ensemble member John Chase portrays William Shakespeare. And David Jacobs, seen in last season’s Brooklyn Boy, completes the cast.

Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday tickets are $19. All other performances are $30, $28 for seniors and $10 for students.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.artistsensemble.org or by calling (815) 394-5004.

AE is an Equity professional theater performing at Rockford University.

From the March 12-18, 2014 print edition

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