Shakespeare & Company Releases Main Stage Schedule
John Douglas Thompson Returns as Richard III
By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 20, 2009
During a recent phone conversation with John Douglas Thompson, he said that he had turned down other offers to perform in New York next summer, to keep a commitment to return to Lenox starring in Shakespeare & Company's "Richard III." It promises to be one of the riveting performances of the coming Berkshire season.
Two summers ago Thompson received rave reviews when he performed as the lead in "Othello." That production was revived last summer, directed by the current artistic director, Tony Simotes, with some cast changes. Last year Thompson won an Obie when the production of "Othello" ran in New York.
The truly gifted actor is a likely candidate for another Obie this season for his stunning performance as Rufus Jones in the Eugene O'Neill play "The Emperor Jones." After a rave review in the New York Times the run was extended at the Irish Repertory Theatre but closed in December because of other commitments.
Now "The Emperor Jones" has moved to the larger, 199 seat Soho Playhouse with a run through January 31.
With his second Off Broadway show in the past two years Thompson is receiving the recognition of the all important New York critics, producers and directors. We have gone on record stating that Thompson is one of the most gifted, under recognized actors of his generation. That assessment is coming to be more widely shared.
It is significant that Thompson, who is a board member of Shakespeare & Company, remains loyal to the Berkshire based company. In addition to his performances he is an important aspect of the theatrical brain trust of the company. Particularly, as it struggles to move out from under truly staggering debt.
Thompson's commitment to the company is a signifier of the intense respect and loyalty shared by the theatre community. Especially, in its educational aspects of bringing classical training to performers. Then sharing that, through touring and programming, to young audiences. Truly S&Co is about much more than what appears on stage.
The notion of a company is a community of artists. There is the formidable legacy of founder Tina Packer. Rather than stepping down she is really making a lateral move. Last summer she brought the house down during the Diva Series with her heart warming and hilarious "Shirley Valentine." She drew rave reviews in Boston this season as Martha in Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." She also performed in England for the first time in decades.
While the full schedule, including shows in the Bernstein Theatre, are yet to be announced it is expected that Packer will launch the season starring in her adaptation of "Shakespeare's Woman." It is much anticipated. She will also direct a new play by Joan Ackerman "The Taster" which is about food. Sounds tasty indeed.
One of the mantras of S&Co is that everyone multi tasks. We noted that recently when we found The Prince in "Cindy Bella" bar tending during intermission. In addition to dealing with the daunting task as artistic director, a thankless job, Simotes will take time this summer to direct "Richard III."
Another jewel in the crown of Shakespeare & Company is the actress Elizabeth Aspenlieder. Last year she had a hit in the winter run of "Bad Dates." When the show traveled to Lowell she won the Norton Award for the performance. But she sat out the summer season. She is about to star in a winter show "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" but will be on the main stage this summer in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale." Oh yes, she also doubles up as director of marketing and PR.
If Tina had her friends and colleagues the same is true for Tony. It is anticipated, but yet to be formally announced, that Olympia Dukakis will appear this summer with her version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." We will see what tricks and treats Tony has up his sleeve as the full season unfolds.
What follows is the release from Shakespeare & Company.
Three exciting productionsÂ—one of Shakespeare's most popular and riveting tragedies, his thoroughly enchanting tale of transformation and renewal, and a brand new play by a noted local playwrightÂ—will light up Founders' Theatre's tenth anniversary and another season of excellence at Shakespeare & Company. Artistic Director and Founder Tony Simotes today announces S&Co.'s Mainstage shows for the 2010-2011 season (S&Co.'s 33rd), plus the season's Lunchbox Shakespeare selection. Richard III, The Winter's Tale, and the world premiere of The Taster by popular and much-loved Berkshire playwright Joan Ackerman compose the Mainstage offerings; in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lunchbox Shakespeare returns to the boards with a lively production of The Comedy of Errors, presented by S&Co.'s lauded professional actor training program and its youthful and exuberant students.
SAVE BIG NOW and purchase our smoking hot "3 for 33" Package! In celebration of our 33rd season, get all three Founders' shows for just $99. The "3 for 33" Package makes a GREAT GIFT IDEA all year long. Purchase your "3 for 33" by February 19th and get a BONUS ticket to The Comedy of Errors in the Bernstein. Contact the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or firstname.lastname@example.org for details or to order your "3 for 33" Package today! Please note the "3 for 33" Package is available for a limited time only.
Tickets for the 2010-2011 season range from $12 to $60, with multiple discounts available for Groups, Students, Seniors, Teachers and Military as well as our very popular 40% Off Berkshire County Resident Discount. Both Founders' and Bernstein theatres are wheelchair accessible and hearing-aid assisted. To learn more about the season, discount availability, to order tickets or request a season brochure, visit www.shakespeare.org
For Group information and details contact David Joseph , Sales Director at (413) 637-1199 ext. 132 or GroupSales@shakespeare.org.
The Tragedy of King Richard III, one of Shakespeare's best-known studies of unbridled ambition and misused power, is directed by Simotes and kicks off the Founders' season July 2. It features OBIE Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson in the title role, with longtime S&Co. favorite Tod Randolph as Queen Elizabeth. This is Simotes' first Shakespeare production as Artistic Director, following his runaway hits Othello ('08, '09) and The Hound of the Baskervilles this fall. The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's story of enchantment, mystery, hilarity and heartbreak joins in repertory on July 15. The Winter's Tale has long beguiled audiences with its story of miraculous transformation and the enduring strength of family ties. It is directed by S&Co. Education Director and Founder Kevin G. Coleman (The Ladies Man, Rough Crossing) with Elizabeth Aspenlieder playing Hermione alongside an all-star cast to be announced.
The Taster, a poignant and darkly funny play by Ackerman, makes its world premiere in Founders' under the direction of Tina Packer , Founding Artistic Director, with performances beginning July 28th. Packer directed the successful world premiere of Ackerman's Ice Glen in 2005. OBIE Award-winning actor Rocco Sisto and S&Co. newcomer Maureen O'Flynn are featured in The Taster, a bittersweet and delectable play that follows the trials and tribulations of the King's master taster. Back by popular demand is the Bernstein Theatres Lunchbox Shakespeare which begins July 3 with The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare's mad cap'd adventure of mistaken identity, merriment and mayhem. This lively production is directed by S&Co. Director of Training and Founder Dennis Krausnick and features the participants in S&Co.'s prestigious Performance Internship Program.
Meanwhile, our 2009-2010 season is still in full swing at S&Co. with Cindy Bella (or the Glass Slipper) gearing up for another weekend of hilarity at Founders' while the cast of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) heats things up down in the Bernstein rehearsal rooms in preparation for its two-month run beginning January 29 and continuing through Marc h 21, 2010. STAY TUNED for Shakespeare & Company's complete line up of summer, fall and winter shows, which will be announced in the New Year along with the full schedule, special events, guest artists, parties and more!
AT A GLANCE
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Artistic Director Tony Simotes
Cast includes John Douglas Thompson (Richard) and Tod Randolph ( Elizabeth )
Founder's Theatre: July 2Â—September 5
"Since I cannot prove a loverÂ…I am determined to prove a villain."
At what price glory? One of Shakespeare's most popular plays ever since its debut, Richard III is the story of a man who will do anything to become kingÂ—and the ruthless ambition that inevitably undoes him. This production, sure to be one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year, reunites award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson (as Richard) with S&Co. Artistic Director Tony Simotes, who directed Thompson in the 2008/2009 production of Othello that proved one of S&Co.'s most critically acclaimed box office hits ever. Thompson is joined by longtime S&Co. favorite Tod Randolph (Queen Elizabeth), last seen onstage here in Enchanted April, the surprising smash of 2006.
THE WINTER'S TALE
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Director of Education Kevin G. Coleman
Cast: Elizabeth Aspenlieder (Hermione), other cast members TBA
Founder's Theatre: July 15Â—September 6
"If this be magic, let it be an art"
By turns enchanting and mysterious, hilarious and heartbreaking, Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale has long beguiled audiences with its story of miraculous transformation and the enduring strength of family ties. Not quite a comedy, not a tragedy, this startling and original play is one hundred percent Shakespeare. It portrays a jealous king who pushes away those he lovesÂ—sending them on odysseys of self-renewalÂ—only to finally reunite with his family through what may be the most startling coup de theatre in the canon. This production marks S&Co. Director of Education and Founder Kevin G. Coleman's debut directing Shakespeare on the main stage, following his outrageous hits The Ladies Man (2008) and Rough Crossing (2009). All-star cast to be announced.
By Joan Ackerman
Directed by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer
Cast: Rosso Sisto, Maureen Flynn
Founder's Theatre: July 28 Â– September 6
The Taster, a poignant and darkly funny play by Ackerman, makes its world premiere in Founders' under the direction of Tina Packer , Founding Artistic Director, with performances beginning July 28th. Packer directed the successful world premiere of Ackerman's Ice Glen in 2005. Obie Award-winning actor Rocco Sisto and S&Co. newcomer Maureen O'Flynn are featured in The Taster, a poignant, funny and bittersweet play that follows the trials and tribulations of the King's master taster.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Director of Training Dennis Krausnick
Cast: Performance Internship Program participants
Founder's Theatre: July 3 Â– September 4
The Comedy of Errors is one of one of Shakespeare's earliest and most outrageous comedies of mistaken identity and follows the story of two sets of identical twins from Syracuse . Mayhem ensues when we learn the father of twin sons (both conveniently named Antipholus), bought another pair of twin boys, both coincidently named Dromio, to be their servants. But a shipwreck separates one half of each set of twins and then 33yrs later in Ephesus, a bustling shipping port in Greece, an extraordinary turn of events unfolds and the true 'comedy of errors' ensues. Shakespeare takes the tradition of Greek and Roman comedies, spices it with a handful of Commedia dell ' Arte antics, and mixes this hilarious brew.