RSC's Chuk Iwuji Joins Cast of Paul Sorvino's KING LEAR at Shrunken Shakespeare Gala, 4/21
Shrunken Shakespeare Company (SSC), in association with Joe Paradise, announced today that Nigerian-born Royal Shakespeare Company associate artist Chukwudi Iwuji (The Public/RSC: Anthony and Cleopatra; London Old Vic/BAM: Richard III with Kevin Spacey) has joined the cast of Paul Sorvino's world premiere adaption of Lear as part of their 2014 Fundraiser Gala, including Broadway, Off-Broadway and TV veterans. The Gala will be held on Monday, April 21st at 7:30pm, at TBG Theatre located at 312 W 36th Street, 3rd Floor in NYC.
Paul Sorvino will star as Lear, and he will direct a cast of 19, including his own son, actor, director, producer Michael Sorvino (Stuck, Center Stages; Merry Wives of Windsor, Princeton Rep.). Other cast members include Anne Bates (The Culture Project; 30 Rock), Clodagh Bowyer (Irish Rep, EST, The Sopranos), Robert Bryson (Film: "Desolation Angels," "West New York"), Yvonne Cone (Shakespeare & Co, SSC, TBG), Dominic Cuskern (Bway: Inherit the Wind; The Pearl Theatre Company), Ryan Duncan (Bway: Shrek; Off-Bway: Altar Boyz), Tyler Hollinger (The Public Theatre, The Mint), Chukwudi Iwuji (The Public/RSC: Anthony and Cleopatra; London Old Vic/BAM: Richard III with Kevin Spacey), Kurt Kingsley (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Jennifer Martina (SSC), Wally Marzano-Lesnevich (Nylon Fusion Theatre Co: The Big Funk), Robert McKeon (Re:Group Theatre, Success Story), Sam Parrott (Shakespeare & Co), Wayne Powers (13 East, Laverne and Shirley, One Day at a Time), Brendan Sokler (Shakespeare & Co), Eric Tucker (Bedlam, Shakespeare & Co, Trinity Rep.), and Stephan Wolfert (Bedlam).
This contemporary staging of Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, set in 1905 with Lear as the CEO of a major corporation, revamps a tale of a king who decides to divide his kingdom between three daughters. He seeks to give the greatest share to the daughter that loves him the most. Lear, however, is blinded by pride and to the true intentions of those around him. His kingdom begins to drown in a sea of deceit and trepidation. The consequences of his kingdom's downward spiral reveal the worst and best parts of human nature itself. Sorvino's adaptation, in which he plays the title role, begins filming on a full-length feature this year. The reading will highlight Sorvino's technique in interpreting classical text.
Ticket holders will be welcomed by a step-and-repeat beginning at 7pm before enjoying the exclusive staged reading presentation followed by a talkback with the cast and members of SSC. A catered cocktail party will cap the evening with cuisine from The Hourglass Tavern, pastries by pastry chefs Sam Householder as well as Lauren Finley of Finley Confections, Coffee Roaster from Parkside Café owner Tim Tate, and beer selections provided by Brooklyn Brewery.
Tickets for SSC's 2014 Fundraiser Gala are $100 each and can be purchased through SSC's website at www.shrunkenshakespeare.com. All proceeds will go toward SSC's 2014-2015 season, which will include productions of Chekhov's 3 Sisters, Kill Shakespeare, and a Shakespeare play to be announced.
In addition to a film version of "Lear" scheduled to begin production later this year, Paul Sorvino can be seen in an upcoming episode of the CBS series "Elementary," starring Lucy Liu. Sorvino has appeared in 110 films, and a variety of TV and theatrical productions over the last four decades. In 1974, he played Gloucester in a notable production of "King Lear" alongside James Earl Jones and Raul Julia for The New York Shakespeare Festival. Other notable performances include Paul Cicero in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas" (1990) alongside Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco and Ray Liotta, Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995), and Fulgencio Capulet in Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet " (1996), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
Joe Paradise (producer/creative consultant) has directed, taught and coached nine Academy Award, Tony and Emmy winning or nominated actors. He has directed four plays for The Actors Studio, including "One Day Wonder" with James Gandolfini and "Death of a Salesman" starring Rudy Bond. Paradise also has been awarded the "Distinguished Achievement in Directing" and an LA Drama Critic Award nomination for Best Director for his direction of "Trilogy Blue".
The production team includes co-producing artistic directors Yvonne Cone and Jennifer Martina, production manager Christian LeMay, stage manager Jenna Bauman, lighting designer Kayla Gebhardt, and company manager Amanda Baumler.