Six Sizzles at Shakespeare Gala

Judy Bross Photo







Mike Nussbaum may be the oldest living working actor in theater, but the co-star of the recent Hamlet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater vigorously shared the stage with the cast of the hit North American premiere musical SIX, while performing a one-night-only concert for attendees at the recent Shakespeare Gala. The beloved actor—one of several accepting the award that night—held his own with its hip hop stars, all sensational as the six wives of Henry VIII. The play, described as “wild and wonderful” and as one of this year’s must-see shows, has been extended by popular demand at CST until August 4.


Chicago theater legend Mike Nussbaum (right) with CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton. Photo by Johnny Knight.


Event decor inspired by Hollywood glam. Photo by Michael Litchfield.


Lavishly costumed actors adorned the event spaces as living art installations. Photo by Johnny Knight.

Held at the Navy Pier theater complex, the Gala raised $1.2 million for Chicago Shakespeare in Classrooms and Communities, encompassing the company’s education and community outreach initiatives. The education programs serve 40,000 students annually and include the free citywide Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour. Barbara Gaines is the Theater’s artistic director and Criss Henderson serves as its executive director.


Criss Henderson, Carl Thoma, and CST board member John Rau. Photo by Johnny Knight.


Adrianna Hicks (Catherine of Aragon), Abby Mueller (Jane Seymour), Samantha Pauly (Katherine Howard), Anna Uzele (Catherine Parr), Brittney Mack (Anna of Cleves), and Andrea Macasaet (Anne Boleyn). Photo by Michael Litchfield.

Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Bittney Mack, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele—whose characters were known mostly as divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived—brought the wives into their pop concert glory for the audience.

U.S. CEO David Casper accepted the Spirit of Shakespeare Award on behalf of civic honoree BMO Harris Bank. The Spirit of Shakespeare artistic award, given in honor of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre celebration, collectively went to “The Chicago Actor”: Kevin Gudahl, Heidi Kettenring, Emma Ladji, Ross Lehman, and Mike Nussbaum, who shared their experiences on behalf of the Chicago Acting Community.


BMO Harris Managing Director and CST board member Ray Whitacre, Head of Community Giving for BMO Harris Diane Whatton, CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, and BMO Harris U.S. CEO David Casper. Photo by Michael Litchfield.

Once again, the Shakespeare stage proved the most vibrant benefit destination. The Bard would have loved it!


Donna LaPietra, Bill Kurtis, and Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. Photo by Johnny Knight.


Wayne White, CST board member Nazneen Razi, Dana Holmes, and Maurice Smith. Photo by Johnny Knight.


Judy and John Keller. Photo by Michael Litchfield.


CST board member Ray McCaskey, Michael Foster, Judy McCaskey, and Joe Gromacki. Photo by Johnny Knight.



For more information, visit