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Washington, D.C. February 5, 2019—Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Artistic Director SIMON GODWIN announced the Company’s 2020/21 Season to a gathering of dedicated theatergoers at the Michael R. Klein Theatre at the Lansburgh on February 4. The upcoming season is one of “epic spectacles, classical masterpieces, and mighty collaborations,” explains Godwin.
“Our motto for this season is, ‘All the world on stage,’ to paraphrase Shakespeare’s line. We will explore dynamic works set in Latin America, Africa and amongst refugees in Calais,” continues Godwin. “This selection of plays reflects our global consciousness.”
The season opens with a thrilling collaboration with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in the first-ever partnership between the two D.C. stalwarts: The Jungle. Developed from interviews and stories of refugees by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson of Good Chance Theatre, and directed by Stephen Daldry (An Inspector Calls, The Crown) and Justin Martin, this spectacular production will transform Sidney Harman Hall into a detailed recreation of the now-bulldozed refugee camp that sprang up in Calais in 2015. In the Afghan Flag Café, which sat at the center of the camp’s complex, makeshift society, patrons will break bread and sip tea together while experiencing powerful accounts of conflict, community, and empathy.
Earning 5-star reviews from Time Out London, The Sunday Times, and The Observer, the St. Ann’s Warehouse and Good Chance touring production of the Good Chance/Young Vic/National Theatre co-production The Jungle is not only D.C.’s most significant theatrical event of next year, but is also a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with stories at the center of a global crisis—a vital experience for D.C. audiences. Due to limited capacity, priority will be given to 2020/21 Season subscribers of STC or Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
For the holidays, Sidney Harman Hall will feature an exhilarating reimagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Evita. “This may be a surprising choice, at first, for a classical theatre company,” concedes Godwin. “But Evita has all the trappings of a modern history play: an ambitious upstart, a couple determined to grab the seat of power, a Chorus figure commenting on the action, crises of faith and purpose, and a revolution. It also features some of Webber and Rice’s most unforgettable songs.”
“We were so excited to bring James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner to Washington audiences this year, and next season, we welcome another great writer of the American canon to our stage: Lorraine Hansberry,” Godwin states. “In the tradition of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s dedication to rediscovering the hidden gems of theatre history, we are not staging A Raisin in the Sun, but reviving Les Blancs, a work left unfinished at Hansberry’s premature death, but lovingly completed by her husband. We are ecstatic to welcome back Yaël Farber (Salomé) for a reimagining of her epic production at the National Theatre that wowed audiences and critics alike.”
“We are bringing the best of the U.K. theatre to D.C. next year, but we are also committed to producing our own world-class productions,” states Godwin. “This includes three exhilarating new productions for the upcoming season of The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, and She Stoops to Conquer.”
“The Merchant of Venice remains one of Shakespeare’s most problematic plays, depicting anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia,” states Godwin. “But it’s also a parable about justice and mercy, and thanks to Shakespeare’s unanswered, probing questions about humanity, community, belonging, and loss, every new production allows us to consider these themes in new and profound ways.”
Artistic Director Simon Godwin (Timon of Athens) will direct Shakespeare’s beloved and playful comedy As You Like It.
Oliver Goldsmith’s charming She Stoops to Conquer, an 18th-century comedy of misplaced marriage plans, controlling parents, and nighttime hijinks, will be directed by STC’s Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul (Camelot, Peter Pan and Wendy).
Finally, after the success of last year’s world premiere of Peter Pan and Wendy, Shakespeare Theatre Company continues its commitment to programming that will delight theatregoers of all ages with a family-oriented play to be announced at a later date.
Subscriptions are on sale now. Packages and single tickets will be available for purchase this summer.
Performance dates for the season will be released in the coming weeks. All artists and titles are subject to change.
Shakespeare Theatre Company and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company present
A St. Ann’s Warehouse & Good Chance production of
Joe Murphy & Joe Robertson | directed by Stephen Daldry & Justin Martin
Original production by Good Chance / National Theatre / Young Vic
Welcome to the Jungle: a camp of stateless citizens outside Calais, a temporary home for thousands built from nothing at the crossroads of cultures and countries. Over a cup of chai, Safi, Salar, Okot, and a host of other residents share their stories. Laughing, weeping, fighting, and praying alongside each other, they dream of crossing the English Channel to begin a new life. Framed with “poignancy and power” (The New York Times), The Jungle is an extraordinary panorama of people caught up in a global crisis beyond their control, originally drawn from and performed by actual citizens of the camp.
Two of D.C.’s greatest theatres team up to bring this singular, exclusive theatrical experience to Washington audiences, after sold-out runs in the West End and New York. Co-directed by Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry (An Inspector Calls, The Crown) and Justin Martin, this “thrilling…ravishing…devastating” play (The New York Times) immerses the audience in the camp’s sights, sounds, and smells, “to astonishing emotional effect” (The New Yorker).
Note: Due to limited capacity, priority will be given to subscribers of STC or Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
lyrics by Tim Rice
music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Equal parts passionate rock opera and modern history play, the musical Evita is a cultural icon and a cutting look at celebrity and populism. In 1940s Argentina, a country besieged by devastating earthquakes and ground-shaking political coups, the peerless Eva Perón mashes up politics and entertainment in a way that feels alarmingly familiar. As she rises from poverty to power, using her stardom to win a crucial election and mask her husband’s despotic crimes, Evita wins the hearts of her nation at the cost of her own soul. Eva’s tale is an evergreen warning about the lies our leaders tell us and why we choose to believe them. Featuring Andrew Lloyd Webber’s unforgettable melodies and Tim Rice’s razor-sharp lyrics, Evita is packed with electric anthems from “You Must Love Me” to the unforgettable “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s remarkable exploration of love and justice returns to the nation’s capital, stoking the debate on what is right, what is fair, and what is lawful—and who gets to decide. Bassanio needs funds to woo Portia, a quick-witted heiress bound by her father’s will. His friend Antonio secures a loan from Shylock, who stipulates a pound of flesh as collateral. When Antonio cannot pay, Shylock demands his price. As our country struggles with bigotry and hate, Shakespeare’s irresistible heroine and his most enigmatic antihero compel us examine our own prejudices and the true nature of mercy.
by Lorraine Hansberry
directed by Yaël Farber
Rediscover Lorraine Hansberry’s political masterpiece, exquisitely staged by South African director Yaël Farber (Salomé, Mies Julie). After the death of his father, Tshembe Matoseh returns home to find his country, an unnamed African colony, splintered by the forces of white colonialism and black nationalism—and his family along with it. Torn between allegiances to his homeland and his new life abroad in the West, Tshembe struggles to chart his path amid a quagmire of chaos, division, and brutality. A stunning examination of colonial rule, Hansberry’s final drama confronts the moment when violence seems the only answer.
In a new production mounted in D.C. after a critically acclaimed run at London’s National Theatre, witness a “near-perfect” (The Guardian) theatrical event fusing Hansberry’s eloquent and emotional storytelling (A Raisin in the Sun) with Farber’s epic, operatic style.
AS YOU LIKE IT
by William Shakespeare
directed by Simon Godwin
Escape into the green world of Arden where love blossoms, friendships flourish, and poems grow on trees. Fleeing the perils of court, the brilliant Rosalind and her friends find safety in the forest. Rosalind, disguised as a boy, seizes the chance to stretch her legs, rebuffing lovesick shepherds and bewitching Orlando and the audience alike. With errant love notes, misguided passion, and gorgeous poetry, Shakespeare’s playful romantic comedy earnestly examines the mad nature of love and concludes it can transform reality.
STC Artistic Director Simon Godwin directs this celebration of devotion and renewal, by turns lovely and lunatic, pensive and passionate, and featuring some of Shakespeare’s most beloved speeches (“All the world’s a stage…”).
SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
by Oliver Goldsmithdirected by Alan Paul
Set over the course of one raucous night, two young couples defy their parents’ outmoded ideas of marriage with uproarious results. Although Constance Neville is engaged to the playboy Tony Lumpkin, she plans to elope with her beloved Hastings instead. Bumbling scholar Marlow cannot speak in front of aristocratic women, so the well-bred Kate must pretend to be a barmaid to woo him. Will love conquer all before the light of dawn?
Opening to acclaim in 1773, She Stoops to Conquer remains a keystone of English comedy. Humorous and humane, with a knowing eye for human foible, Goldsmith’s quintessential comedy is big-hearted fun and a rare, rollicking achievement. Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul (Camelot, Peter Pan and Wendy) directs this farcical gem with his distinctive gift for hilarity and style.