Tuesday, July 26, 2016

STC Free For All Presents The Tempest

From our friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company...

Broadway Veteran Patrick Page to Star in the 26th Annual Free For All at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Kicking off its 30th Anniversary Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) production will present William Shakespeare’s The Tempest as the 2016 Free For All event. Directed by STC favorite and internationally-acclaimed director, Ethan McSweeny, The Tempest will feature STC Affiliated Artist and Broadway veteran Patrick Page as Prospero. STC will also welcome back Sara Topham as Ariel, last seen as Hippolyta/Titania in McSweeny’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Affiliated Artist Edward Gero as Alonso, King Of Naples.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All is a much-loved Washington tradition, offering free performances of a Shakespearean classic to the general public each summer.  Since its inception in 1991, STC has brought free productions of Shakespeare to more than 662,000 people with the generous support of our sponsors, donors and friends. This year’s Free For All production of The Tempest will run August 16-28 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street, NW), offering more than 12,000 people the chance to see Shakespeare free of charge.

Ethan McSweeny returns to direct a revival of his stunning 2014 production of Shakespeare’s crowning masterpiece. A glittering tale of trickery, power, revenge and forgiveness will delight patrons of all ages as they watch Prospero’s magical island explode into life with sprites, goddesses and fools.

“Ethan has a gift for creating richly imaginative worlds on stage and lifting Shakespeare’s words off the page,” says STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. “I’m thrilled to welcome his acclaimed production of The Tempest back for Free For All as our annual gift to the DC community.”

Information about how to receive free tickets is available at: www.shakespearetheatre.org/events/the-tempest-16-17-ffa/.

Affiliated Artist Ethan McSweeny has directed STC productions of The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant Of Venice, Ion, Major Barbara and The Persians, as well as the Harman Center Opening Gala, and served as Associate Director from 1993 to 1997. In April, he brought his celebrated STC production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the Macao Arts Festival in China. His Broadway credits include John Grisham's A Time To Kill and Gore Vidal's The Best Man (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, Tony Award nomination), and his Off-Broadway credits include John Logan's Never The Sinner (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards), 100 Saints You Should Know (Top Ten: Entertainment Weekly and Time Out magazines), 1001 (Top Ten: Time Out), Rx (world premiere), Sabina, and The Persians for the National Actors Theatre. McSweeny has worked abroad at Dublin's Gate Theatre and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and at regional theatres throughout the United States including Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Center Stage, the Guthrie Theater, the Goodman, the Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre Company and South Coast Repertory, among others. He has served as Co-Artistic Director of Chautauqua Theater Company, Associate Director of the National Actors Theatre, Resident Director at New Dramatists and Associate Artistic Director of the George Street Playhouse. McSweeny is a member of the Executive Board of SDC, the national labor union for directors and choreographers.

Patrick Page is a veteran Broadway actor, widely recognized as one of America’s leading classical actors. Page’s most recent role was in Deaf West Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening. Other Broadway credits include originating the role of The Grinch in Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, Scar in The Lion King, Lumière in Disney's Beauty And The Beast, Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden, Decius Brutus in Julius Caesar (opposite Denzel Washington), and multiple roles in The Kentucky Cycle. His performance as King Henry VIII (opposite Frank Langella) in the Broadway revival of A Man For All Seasons in 2008 was nominated for the Outer Critics Award and chosen by The Wall Street Journal as one of the outstanding theatre performances of that year. He is an STC Affiliated Artist and an Artist in Residence at The Old Globe in San Diego. In 2006, Page was awarded the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Leading Performance by an Actor for his portrayal of Iago in Michael Kahn’s production of Othello at STC.

Sara Topham  returns to STC after her celebrated performance as Hippolyta/Titania in McSweeny’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has appeared in many seasons at The Stratford Festival in Canada and performed on Broadway as Gwendolen in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Importance Of Being Earnest, and has been seen onstage at the Old Globe (Twelfth Night), McCarter Theatre (Travesties) and Hartford Stage (The Tempest, Hedda Gabler). Her extensive international credits include Mrs. Van Buren in the U.K. premiere of Intimate Apparel in London.

Beloved D.C. actor and STC Affiliated Artist, Edward Gero was last seen at STC as King Henry IV in Michael Kahn’s repertory productions of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. A winner of four Helen Hayes Awards, some of Gero’s notable recent roles include Mark Rothko in John Logan's Red at the Goodman Theatre and Arena Stage, as well as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist, also at Arena Stage.

Rounding out the company are returning cast members Nancy Anderson (Voice), David Bishins (Sebastian), Avery Clark (Adrian), Liam Craig (Trinculo), Clifton Duncan (Caliban), Sean Fri (Boatswain), Avery Glymph (Ferdinand), Gregory Linington (Antonio), Rachel Mewbron (Miranda), Dave Quay (Stephano) and Ted van Griethuysen (Gonzalo). New cast members Audrey Bertaux, Renea Brown, Gabriel Hornig, Suzanne Lane, Randy Snight, Cassia Thompson and Hermon Whaley join returning cast members Benjamin J. Henderson, Dan Jones, and Kedren Spencer in the Ensemble.

The Tempest’s dreamlike desert island setting features the work of the designers from the 2014 production: Scenic Designer Lee Savage, Costume Designer Jennifer Moeller, Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind (with lighting adapted by Jennifer Reiser), Sound Designer Nevin Steinberg (sound adapted by Mackenzie Ellis) and Composer Jenny Giering. The company is also joined by Puppet Designer James Ortiz and Flying Director Sean Roschman, with flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc. The production Choreographer is Matthew Gardiner. The artistic team also includes Assistant Director Craig Baldwin, Casting Director Carter Wooddell and Dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg.

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 25 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, DC, 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.