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UPDATE 3/31/2016: David Ives’s The School for Lies, directed by Michael Kahn, will play in the slot previously announced for Women Beware Women. Learn more here.
Washington, D.C.— Following the successes of the first half of this season—from the multiple Helen Hayes Award nominations for Salomé and Kiss Me, Kate, to the critical acclaim of The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound—Artistic Director Michael Kahn announced today the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s 2016–2017 season. Kahn has put together a season of new debuts of both artists and works, and one with innovative adaptations and classic tragedies that continue STC’s mission to re-think, re-work, and re-introduce classic texts and themes to its contemporary D.C. audiences.
“This season is one of welcome debuts that I am delighted to share with our patrons,” says Artistic Director Michael Kahn. The 2016–2017 season opens with STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul making his Shakespeare debut helming the Bard’s most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet. “Alan Paul gave us just a taste of his direction of Shakespearean verse this season with his extremely successful production of Kiss Me, Kate,” Kahn explains. “I’m certain his success directing musicals will yield a fresh take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved titles.”
Next, taking the stage is the Tony® and Drama Desk Award-winning musical The Secret Garden, written by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, directed by Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre’s Artistic Director David Armstrong. As Kahn points out, this project follows on the heels of last year’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival. “These past two years have been really illuminating with our participation in the Women’s Voices Theater Festival,” says Kahn. “We want to continue the awareness that this festival offered; The Secret Garden, written and composed by two talented female artists, in addition to being an extraordinarily touching musical, will be our way of moving forward with the ideas of this season’s festival.” The Secret Garden will be a co-production with Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.
Mid-season, following its sensational Broadway and West End runs, Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III makes its regional theatre debut at STC under the direction of David Muse, Studio Theatre’s Artistic Director, and former STC Associate Artistic Director. In a world where the Queen is dead, and Prince Charles must take the throne, King Charles III transplants the dramaturgy of the Shakespearean history play to modern times and modern royalty. “Mike Bartlett’s show, written completely in blank verse, is such a wonderful re-imagining of Shakespearean language and themes and aligns with our vision to connect classic texts to the modern world. It makes perfect sense that King Charles III would make its regional theatre debut with us, and I’m so glad to welcome back David Muse to helm this production.”
“Over the past couple of years we’ve had two international presentations as part of our mainstage seasons—Dunsinane and this season’s production of Headlong’s 1984,” says Kahn. “This coming season, instead of looking internationally, we are including a production from a New York City company into our mainstage season with Elevator Repair Service’s striking stage-adaptation of Hemingway’s novel, The Select (The Sun Also Rises). This show in particular brings Hemingway’s classic language to the stage. It will be a unique and beautiful experience for our patrons.” The acclaimed Elevator Repair Service, founded in 1991 by Artistic Director John Collins, has been creating collaborative masterpieces for years, many of which focus on literary classics. The Select (The Sun Also Rises) is a co-production of Elevator Repair Service and New York Theatre Workshop. It was commissioned by the Ringling International Arts Festival, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, NY; the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival with funding from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative; ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, Boston, MA; and Festival Theaterformen Hannover/Braunschweig.
For the second Shakespeare title of the season, South-African born director Liesl Tommy will take on “The Scottish Play,” Macbeth. Tommy joins STC following the Broadway debut of Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed, starring Lupita Nyong’o. “I’m interested in the coming generation of theatre directors and giving fresh voices the space to work with Shakespeare and with us as a company,” says Michael Kahn. “Liesl Tommy has done such powerful work with Eclipsed—a harrowing and relevant production—and Macbeth, with his and Lady Macbeth’s gruesome story, seemed like the perfect way for us to partner with her and bring her work to D.C. and to our stages.”
The season will close with STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn directing Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean thriller Women Beware Women. “I haven’t done a Jacobean play since 2002 when I directed The Duchess of Malfi, so I am eager to work on this dark classic and to dig into the language of that era,” Kahn says. “It’s also really fitting to close the season with this play when we open the season with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In many ways, Middleton’s work is an answer to the question, ‘What if those two young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, had lived?’”
Free For All will begin the 2016–2017 season with Ethan McSweeny’s spectacular production of The Tempest. “For our 25th Anniversary of Free For All, we remounted McSweeny’s Midsummer, and received such positive feedback, that I am anxious to share this gorgeous show as our gift to D.C. audiences.”
Free For All
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ethan McSweeny
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Alan Paul
The Secret Garden
By Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon
Based on the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Directed by David Armstrong
Produced in association with The 5th Avenue Theatre, in a future season, to be announced
King Charles III
By Mike Bartlett
Directed by David Muse
Produced in association with American Conservatory Theater and Seattle Repertory Theatre
The Select (The Sun Also Rises)
An adaptation created by Elevator Repair Service
Based on the novel “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway.
Directed by John Collins
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Liesl Tommy
Women Beware Women
By Thomas Middleton
Directed by Michael Kahn
*Plays, artists and dates are subject to change.
ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY
Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is the nation’s leading premier classical theatre company. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation’s capital.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative productions inspire dialogue that connects classic works to the modern human experience. The Company focuses on works with profound themes, complex characters, and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and the playwrights he influenced in order to preserve and promote classic theatre—ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes—for all audiences.
A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and adult acting classes to accessible community programming like play-relevant discussion series and the Free For All. For the past twenty-five years the Free For All program has offered an annual remount of a popular production completely free of charge to all audience members.
Located in downtown Washington, D.C., STC performs in two theatres, the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre and the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall. In addition to STC productions appearing year-round, these spaces also accommodate presentations from outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. The Company has been a fixture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood since 1992.