Shakespeare & Contemporary Plays at Shakespeare & Company in Summer 2015

John Douglas Thompson will appear in 'Red Velvet' by Lolita Chakrabarti

John Douglas Thompson will appear in ‘Red Velvet’ by Lolita Chakrabarti

(LENOX, Mass.) – “Henry V,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “Hamlet” will fill the Shakespeare slot at Shakespeare & Company for the 2015 summer season, which will also feature the regional premiere of “Red Velvet” by Lolita Chakrabarti and the world premiere of “Mother of the Maid” by Emmy Award-winning writer Jane Anderson (HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge”) starring company founder Tina Packer. In addition, the summer season includes “The Unexpected Man” by Yasmina Reza, and opens with “The How and the Why,” the provocative new play by Sarah Treem, the writer/producer of acclaimed TV series “House of Cards” and “In Treatment.”

Shakespeare & Company’s summer season runs Memorial Day weekend through mid-September. In addition to the six mainstage productions this summer, the festival will present a run of “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World,” written and directed by Kevin G. Coleman, under the tent at the Rose Footprint Theatre, and a production of “Hamlet” in the Dell at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, directed by Jonathan Croy. The free and popular Fourth of July community event featuring the reading of the Declaration of Independence will also return to the schedule.

The summer’s special events include:

  • A book-signing event celebrating the publication of Tina Packer’s book, “Women of Will” (April 7).
  • “Broadway in the Berkshires,” featuring Broadway’s brightest stars in a special, one-night-only performance to benefit Shakespeare and Company’s Education and Training programs, at the Mahaiwe (August 3).
  • Special limited engagement of “Cry Havoc,” written and performed by Stephan Wolfert, with two performances only on August 28 and 29.


Tina Packer in 'Women of Will' (photo Kevin Sprague)

Tina Packer in ‘Women of Will’ (photo Kevin Sprague)


May 22 through July 26, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

The How and the Why, by Sarah Treem

From the writer/producer of House of Cards and In Treatment comes this smart-witted, sharp new play about men and women, love and conflict, genes and destiny. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi.


June 18 through August 23, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

Henry V, by William Shakespeare

Starring Ryan Winkles

This epic tale chronicles the infamous journey of a disaffected prince to legendary king. Ryan Winkles stars in the title role, as a man who sets out to repair his broken nation, prove his worth and win the affections of the French princess. Directed by Jenna Ware.


July 2 through August 23, Tina Packer Playhouse

The Comedy of Errors, by William Shakespeare

Two sets of twins. One tiny island. Unlimited chaos. Shakespeare’s classic farce delivers a theatrical whirlwind of magic, music and mayhem involving mistaken identities, accidental seductions and daring heists. Directed by Taibi Magar.


July 18 through September 6, Tina Packer Playhouse

The Unexpected Man, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton

A middle-aged man and woman sit opposite each other in a train compartment on a journey from Paris to Frankfurt. He is a world famous author; she, one of his biggest fans, carries his latest novel in her handbag and ponders the dilemma of reading it in front of him. From the creator of Art and God of Carnage, this illuminating drama explores themes of intimacy, celebrity and second chances. Directed by Seth Gordon.



July 30 through September 6, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

Mother of the Maid, by Jane Anderson (rights pending)

Starring Tina Packer

Penned by Emmy Award-winning writer Jane Anderson (HBO’s Olive Kitteridge), this powerful and wry drama follows the tale of Joan of Arc, as seen through the eyes of her mum who is doing her very best to accept the fact that her daughter is different. Parenthood, religion, sexuality and politics all play a role; Tina Packer stars as the Mother of the Maid. Directed by Matthew Penn.

(Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid was originally presented as a staged reading at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab during their 2014 summer season.)



August 6 through September 13, Tina Packer Playhouse

Red Velvet, by Lolita Chakrabarti

An imagined version of true events, Red Velvet is the story of Ira Aldridge, the first African-American actor to play Othello on the English stage in 1833. Fresh from his critically acclaimed performances in Tamburlaine (TFANA) and The Iceman Cometh (BAM), OBIE Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson stars as Ira Aldridge. Directed by Daniela Varon.



August 28 & 29

Cry Havoc, by Stephen Wolfert (rights pending)

Using Shakespeare’s timeless words, and a few of his own, Shakespeare & Company Training alumni and US military veteran Stephan Wolfert performs an interactive play that weaves his own experience with some of Shakespeare’s most iconic military figures. A testament to the healing power of art and human resilience, this piece reveals how Shakespeare’s audiences wrestled with the same hopes and fears that occupy our modern lives.


Other Stages and Special Events:


July 10 through August 15, Rose Footprint Theatre

Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World (SLaW), by Kevin G. Coleman

This fast-paced mashup of scenes, facts, sword-play and quotes from many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays is an accessible introduction to Bard and fun for the entire family. Each performance is followed by a short, interactive workshop with the audience. Directed by Kevin G. Coleman.


July 16 through August 22, in the Dell at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

Performed by the cast of this spring’s Northeast Tour of Shakespeare

Directed by Jonathan Croy.


August 3, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Broadway in the Berkshires, Special Benefit Performance

Produced by Deborah Grausman, Directed by Sam Scalamoni


Subscription packages for the 2015 performance season are on sale now; single tickets go on sale March 2. Shakespeare & Company will once again offer a 40% discount to Berkshire County residents. Both the Tina Packer Playhouse and the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre are wheelchair accessible and hearing-aid assisted. For more information, call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 during regular hours or visit Shakespeare & Company.



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