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Groff, De Shields, Kandel Set For Public's THE BACCHAE, Runs at Delacorte 8/11-8/30

Groff, De Shields, Kandel Set For Public's THE BACCHAE, Runs at Delacorte 8/11-8/30The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson) announced casting for the Shakespeare in the Park production of Euripides' THE BACCHAE, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis with original music by Philip Glass and translated by Nicholas Rudall. THE BACCHAE will run August 11-August 30 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park with an official press opening on Monday, August 24 at 8 p.m. Bank of America returns as lead sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park 2009.

Akalaitis' visionary interpretation of THE BACCHAE, with a lush score by Glass, re-imagines the classic story about what happens when a government attempts to outlaw desire. The Cast features George Bartenieff as Cadmus; André De Shields as Teiresias; Jonathan Groff as Dionysus; Karen Kandel as Chorus Leader; Joan MacIntosh as Agave; Steven Rishard as Cowherd; and Rocco Sisto as Messenger.

The Greek chorus will include Marisa Echeverria, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Ikeda, Jennifer Nikki Kidwell, Alexa Kryzaniwsky, Vella Lovell, Nana Mensah, Ereni Sevasti, Elena Shaddow, Han Tang, and IDara Victor.

"The Greeks are, along with Shakespeare, the other great pillar of democratic theater history. This is a chance for us to experience one of the greatest Greek tragedies as it was meant to be seen; outdoors, in the middle of the city, surrounded by our fellow citizens," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "It is a special privilege for me to welcome one of our great American theater artists, JoAnne Akalaitis, back to The Public Theater. Philip Glass has composed one of his most beautiful and thrilling scores for The Bacchae; I think this will be an extraordinary evening in the theater."

THE BACCHAE will feature scenic design by John Conklin; costume design by Kaye Voyce; and lighting design by Jennifer Tipton.

George Bartenieff (Cadmus) is a three-time OBIE winner who has appeared at The Public in The Memorandum, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, Trelawney of the "Wells," Dead End Kids, American Notes, Cymbeline, Stuff Happens, and Romeo and Juliet. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 14 opposite Uta Hagen in The Whole World Over and most recently starred in Edward Albee's The American Dream and The Sandbox at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS (Teiresias) is a two-time Tony nominee and the recipient of an OBIE for Sustained Excellence. He appeared at The Public in Dancing on Moonlight (1995) and on Broadway in Impressionism, The Full Monty, Prymate, Play On!, Ain't Misbehavin', and The Wiz. His recent off-Broadway credits include the Classical Theatre of Harlem's acclaimed revival of Langston Hughes's Black Nativity (The Duke on 42nd Street) and the title role in their 2006 production of King Lear.

Jonathan Groff (Dionysus) returns to The Public after recently playing Gray in Craig Lucas's The Singing Forest (OBIE Award) and the role of Claude in the Shakespeare in the Park revival of Hair. He received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his performance in Spring Awakening on Broadway and is featured in Ang Lee's new film Taking Woodstock.

Karen Kandel (Chorus Leader) appeared at The Public in Carl Hancock Rux's play Talk, for which she shared a special OBIE Award with the rest of The Ensemble. She also won an OBIE Award for her performance as The Narrator in Liza Lorwin's Peter and Wendy at the New Victory Theater and recently played The Woman in JoAnne Akalaitis's production of Beckett Shorts at New York Theatre Workshop.

Joan MacIntosh (Agave) is currently in The Public's production of Suzan-Lori Parks's Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 8 & 9). The recipient of five OBIEs, including one for Sustained Excellence, Macintosh's many credits include The Public Theater Productions of 365 Days / 365 Plays, Macbeth, All's Well That Ends Well, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, A Bright Room Called Day, Dispatches, and Alice In Concert.

STEVEN RISHARD (Cowherd) is an Artistic Associate with Division 13 Theater Company, where he has performed in The Genet Project and Cascando. His other New York credits include Big Love at the Wilma Theater and In the Penal Colony at Classic Stage Company. At Chicago's Court Theater, Rishard performed in Learned Ladies, The Real Thing, Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards, Life's a Dream, La Bete, Gross Indecency, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Rocco Sisto (Messenger) has a long history with The Public Theater including the 1982 production of Hamlet, Len Jenkin's My Uncle Sam, Richard Foreman's What Did He See?, The Winter's Tale (1989, OBIE Award), Michael Greif's 1990 revival of Machinal, JoAnne Akalaitis's production of ‘Tis Pity She's a Whore, All's Well That Ends Well (1993), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1994), Stuart Greenman's Silence, Cunning, Exile, and George C. Wolfe's 1998 production of Macbeth.

JoAnne Akalaitis (Director) is the winner of five OBIE Awards for direction (and sustained achievement) and founder of the critically acclaimed Mabou Mines in New York. In addition to the A.R.T. - where she directed Endgame and The Balcony - she has staged works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Schiller, Beckett, Genet, Williams, Philip Glass, Janacek, and her own work at Lincoln Center Theatre, New York City Opera, Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Court Theatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and The Guthrie Theater. She is the former artistic director of The Public and was artist in residence at the Court Theatre. Akalaitis was the Andrew Mellon Co-chair of the Directing Program at Juilliard School, and is currently the Wallace Benjamin Flint and L. May Hawver Flint Professor of Theater at Bard College. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, Edwin Booth Award, Rosamund Gilder Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, and Pew Charitable Trusts National Theatre Artist Residency Program grant.

Philip Glass (Composer). Distinguished as one of the greatest composers of our time, Glass' repertoire includes opera, dance, theatre, orchestra and film. Lauded for Einstein on the Beach and Music in Twelve Parts, Glass is renowned for the score of Koyaanisqatsi and the Academy Award-nominatEd Kundun, directed by Martin Scorsese. Premieres in 2002 include Symphony No. 6 (Plutonian Ode) with text by Allen Ginsberg and the opera Galileo, Galilei directed by Zimmerman; his other works for opera include The Voyage, featuring a libretto by David Henry Hwang, and Satyagraha (revived at the Metropolitan Opera in 2008).

NICHOLAS RUDALL (Translation) is Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures, Committees on General Studies in the Humanities and Ancient Mediterranean World, and the College at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1966. He specializes in Greek drama, and has translated numerous works by Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. His translations and adaptations are published by Ivan R. Dee of Chicago, for whom he is co-editor of the Plays for Performance Series with longtime friend and colleague Bernard Sahlins. Rudall is known particularly for his work with prominent Shakespearean David Bevington, with whom he created and co-taught a two-quarter sequence entitled "History and Theory of Drama".

This summer, The Public will again offer a limited number of free tickets through a Virtual Line, available at www.publictheater.org. The process will be the same as last year; the day of a show, users can log on to the virtual line anytime between midnight and 1 p.m. the day of the show. After 3 p.m. that day, users can log on to see if they have been awarded tickets through the Virtual Line, which they can then claim at the Delacorte Theater Box Office between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. that evening.

Summer Supporter tickets for THE BACCHAE will be available for a tax-deductible contribution of $170. These reserved seats are only available for a limited time to ensure that the highest number of free seats will be available to distribute to the general public on the day of the show. Summer Supporter tickets help to underwrite production expenses. Supporter tickets area available now at The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street; online at publictheater.org; or by calling (212) 967-7555.

For additional information about Shakespeare in the Park, visit The Public Theater website at www.publictheater.org

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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