(LENOX, Mass.) – William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Richard II; Terrence McNally’s portrait of Maria Callas, Master Class; Tom Stoppard’s translation of Gérald Sibleyras’ poignant comedy, Heroes; Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy, The Beauty Queen of Leenane – directed by Matthew Penn and starring founding artistic director Tina Packer and beloved and critically acclaimed company actor Elizabeth Aspenlieder; and Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, featuring Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, Apollo Dukakis, and OBIE Award winner John Douglas Thompson, are on tap for Shakespeare & Company’s summer 2013 season.
Tickets will go on sale on February 14, 2013, and can be purchased online at Shakespeare & Company or by calling 413.637.3353.
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare’s hilarious romp of wit, will open the summer season in the Tina Packer Playhouse, receiving its first main stage production at 70 Kemble Street. Under the direction of Lisa Wolpe, Love’s Labour’s Lost will feature Mark Bedard, who is making his Shakespeare & Company debut, and company favorite Jonathan Croy (King Lear). Wolpe is the producing artistic director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, an all-female Shakespeare company that recently won the “Sustained Excellence” award from the Los Angeles Critics Circle. She returns to Shakespeare & Company, where she last played Sicinius, Brutus, and Valeria in Coriolanus (2001).
The Tina Packer Playhouse will also feature a special limited run of Shakespeare’s rarely produced history play, Richard II, directed by longtime Shakespeare & Company member Timothy Douglas, featuring three-time OBIE Award winner Rocco Sisto in the title role and Tom O’Keefe as his nemesis, Henry Bolingbroke. This ambitious undertaking will mark the first time Shakespeare & Company has staged a full production of Richard II in its history, and the first in a series of history plays that Shakespeare & Company will produce leading up to its 40th Anniversary Season. Designed to present a cohesive look at Shakespeare’s history plays, audiences will receive a rare chance to enjoy these stunning plays and take a unique, episodic journey that will span five seasons.
Bertolt Brecht’s timeless and profound statement on war, Mother Courage and Her Children, will continue the strong lineup in the Playhouse. The trio of Artistic Director Tony Simotes, Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis and her brother, Apollo Dukakis, will reteam after their successful collaboration on The Tempest, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the Playhouse this past summer. Joining the cast will be OBIE Award winner John Douglas Thompson, the star of last summer’s Satchmo at the Waldorf. Thompson’s classical work, which includes performances as the titles roles in both Othello and Richard III at Shakespeare & Company, has prompted the New York Times to describe him as “one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation.” Olympia Dukakis has previously performed the role of Mother Courage to great critical acclaim. She recently completed a run in the title role of Elektra at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
ELAYNE P. BERNSTEIN THEATRE
The 197-seat theatre, and part of the Bernstein Center for the Performing Arts, will offer a unique blend of provocative new works and modern classics. Shakespeare & Company will kick off the Bernstein Theatre season with Terrence McNally’s riveting portrait of famed opera singer Maria Callas, Master Class. The role of Callas will be portrayed by Elliot Norton and IRNE Award-winner Annette Miller (Golda’s Balcony), star of last summer’s hit comedy, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Daniel Gidron returns to Shakespeare & Company to direct the production. Gidron previously directed Miller in Golda’s Balcony (2002 and 2009), a performance that garnered Miller an Elliot Norton Award for Best Solo Performance. In addition to his work with Shakespeare & Company, Gidron’s directing credits include productions with the Lyric Stage Company, Gloucester State Company, and Merrimack Repertory, among many others. He is the Associate Director of the Nora Theatre Company in Cambridge, Mass.
Shakespeare & Company will once again revisit the work of Tom Stoppard, whose plays, Rough Crossing and The Real Inspector Hound, the Company has performed in recent years to critical and audience acclaim. This summer, Stoppard’s translation of Gérald Sibleyras’ play Heroes will be performed in the Bernstein Theatre, featuring longtime Company members Jonathan Epstein (The Tempest, King Lear), Malcolm Ingram (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife), and Robert Lohbauer (Mengelberg and Mahler). The production will be directed by Kevin G. Coleman, who is currently directing Shakespeare & Company’s winter production of The Liar. Heroes is a bawdy and poignant piece about three World War I veterans in a retirement home, recounting their storied (and often hilarious) lives.
Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer will return to the Shakespeare & Company stage shortly after closing her Off-Broadway run of Women of Will in New York, performing in Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s harrowing play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Packer will portray Mag, the manipulative mother of spinster Maureen (Elizabeth Aspenlieder). The play explores the nuances of their relationship, the layers of dysfunction, and a fleeting glimpse of hope for a better future. McDonagh is widely known as one of the most powerful voices in theatre and film, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane embodies all that is astute, provocative, and darkly comic about his work. Film, television, and theatre director Matthew Penn will helm the production. Penn’s television directing credits include Damages with Glenn Close and Law and Order, for which he directed the Emmy-nominated 200th episode featuring Julia Roberts. He is the co-artistic director of the Berkshire Playwright’s Lab and has directed numerous theatrical productions for the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York City. This will be his Shakespeare & Company debut.
“As we turn the page on our record-breaking 35th Season, I couldn’t be more energized about the future of Shakespeare & Company, and the potential of this great season,” says Artistic Director Tony Simotes. “I’m so proud of what we achieved last year, and confident that our 36th Season will only continue our positive momentum. I’m delighted to welcome back a number of artists who made our 35th Season such an incredible success, including Olympia Dukakis, Rocco Sisto, and John Douglas Thompson, three dear friends of mine, who will be playing very different roles from the ones they portrayed last summer. I’m also pleased to welcome a few new artists, like Mark Bedard, who is amongst the finest Shakespearean actors in the country.
TICKETS AND DISCOUNTS
Tickets for the 2013 summer performance season may be purchased on or after February 14, 2013, online at Shakespeare & Company, or by calling 413-637-3353. Ticket prices range from $10 – $95, with discounts from 10% – 50% available for groups, students, seniors, teachers, and the military. Once again, Shakespeare & Company will offer the very popular 40% Off Berkshire County Residents Discount.The Company’s family-friendly Bankside show, which will be announced in the coming weeks, is free for kids and students.
Both the Tina Packer Playhouse and Elayne P. Bernstein Theatres are wheelchair accessible, air conditioned, and hearing-aid assisted. To learn more about discount availability, to order tickets or request a season brochure, visit Shakespeare & Company.