Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue March 29 2016

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | March 29, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Shakespeare 400: Chicago Celebrates The Bard

    Shakespeare 400: Chicago Celebrates The Bard

    Illustration courtesy of Thinkstock

    Travelers might think a visit to William Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon is the ultimate homage to The Bard, but for a once-in-a-lifetime observance of the playwright’s 400 years of influence, head to Chicago.

    Throughout 2016, the Windy City is hosting artists from all over the globe who will pay tribute Shakespeare's works, with plays, concerts, exhibits, dance productions, poetry and because it’s Chi-town, food. Dubbed Shakespeare 400, the yearlong commemoration of his death 400 years ago will feature 850 events in total across the city. Here are some can’t miss highlights for spring and summer visitors:

    Puck: The Beer, Bars & Restaurants throughout the city, All Year

    Because nothing says Shakespeare like craft beer. The limited edition release is inspired by the playful spirit of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and is described as “a sharp and spritzy petite saison, with a delicious flowery, spicy dry hop aroma.” North Coast Brewing Co. will offer the beer at restaurants, shops, special Puck pop ups and Chicago Shakespeare Theater as well, so that you can enjoy your Bard with brew.

    READ MORE: See Where Shakespeare Lived With CIE Tours

    Improvised Shakespeare, The iO Theater, All Year

    Chicago might not have birthed iambic pentameter but we did put improv on the map so a pairing of the two is a no brainer. Head to The iO Theater for a night of Shakespeare unlike any other. The critically acclaimed troupe creates fully improvised Shakespearean classics based upon audience suggestions. Expect off the wall dialogue and lightning quick wit from one of the city’s best improv companies.

    Othello: The Remix, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, April 12-May 8

    An award-winning international production that debuted at the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad, Othello: The Remix supplies a hip-hop adaptation of Shakespeare’s tale of love, jealousy and racism, complete with re-written verses and original beats. The play is an innovative collaboration between Chicago hip-hop artists and Chicago Shakespeare Theater that has captured audiences around the world.

    A Distant Mirror; Yoyo Ma and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Center, June 12

    YoYo Ma takes to his cello to interpret 16th and 17th century music and literary figures of the time, including Shakespeare and Cervantes. One day only at Chicago Symphony Center.

    Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, June 12-17

    This offbeat performance features David Carl channeling Gary Busey in a hilarious one-man show that delights Busey and Hamlet fans alike. Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet tackles all parts of the play with crazy songs, homemade puppets an overall madcap appeal.

    READ MORE: Topping the Agenda for 2016

    Culinary Complete Works: 38 Plays, 38 Chefs, Restaurants Across Chicago, All Year

    You can’t do the “City of Big Shoulders” without a big appetite, so Chicago chefs have you covered with culinary interpretations of Shakespeare’s masterpieces. Culinary Complete Works serves up a myriad of creative dishes including red wine braised beef cheeks with Veronese Peara sauce for Romeo & Juliet at Cafe Spiaggia and spiced beef tartare from Henry VIII at Demera Ethiopian Restaurant. It’s a tasty canon indeed.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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