Stephen Spinella Stars in McCarter's One-man AN ILIAD, Runs 10/19-11/7
McCarter Theatre is pleased to announce that two-time Tony Award-winner Stephen Spinella will star in An Iliad, one of history's most famous and exciting tales of love, battle and honor. Directed by Obie Award-winner Lisa Peterson, this tour-de-force solo performance of An Iliad will run October 19 through November 7 on McCarter Theatre Center's Matthews Stage. (The press opening is Friday, October 22.)
"Stephen Spinella is one of the most extraordinary actors working today," said McCarter Theatre Producing Director Mara Isaacs. "He possesses that rare gift of storytelling that makes an audience hang on his every word and feel his every emotion as if it were their own. I can't imagine An Iliad in better hands."
Homer's work celebrates heroism and honor, but it also exposes the brutality and folly of war. In An Iliad, writers Peterson and O'Hare connect the ancient past to the immediate present, drawing a direct line from Achilles and his men to the soldiers fighting in conflict zones around the world today. While The Iliad is most commonly known as a work of classic literature, Homer's epic tale was conceived and created as a work to be performed by a story teller to a listening audience, not a work to be read. Decades before The Iliad was written down, Homer performed it for his audiences captivating them for days as he recounted the tale of the Trojan War.
"When I first heard that Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare were writing a stage version of The Iliad meant to be performed by one storyteller, I was immediately intrigued," said McCarter Theatre Artistic Director Emily Mann. "What better way to experience this thrilling tale than in its original form? And when I discovered that the stage adaptation was based on the world-renowned translation by Robert Fagles, I knew we had to produce it here at McCarter. In addition to being a noted Princeton professor and celebrated, award-winning translator, Bob Fagles was a very dear friend and it is a great pleasure to honor his remarkable translation through this production."
Stephen Spinella was honored with two Tony Awards as well as two Drama Desk Awards for his performances as Prior Walter in the original production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Parts 1 & 11. His other Broadway credits include Spring Awakening, Our Town, James Joyce's The Dead (Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award, Tony Nomination), A View from the Bridge. Off-Broadway credits include The Seagull with Meryl Streep for New York Shakespeare Festival, A Question of Mercy at New York Theatre Workshop, Love! Valour! Compassion! at Manhattan Theatre Club, for which he received an Obie Award. He has appeared in productions across the country at such leading theaters as The Guthrie Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Williamstown Theatre Festival and in the McCarter production of Electra, which transferred to Broadway. His numerous films credits include And the Band Played On, Faithful, Virtuosity, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Great Expectations, The Jackal, Connie and Carla, House of D, And Then Came Love, and Milk. Television viewers will know him from The Education of Max Bickford, 24, Desperate Housewives, Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Will and Grace, Alias, Ed, Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Frasier, Nip/Tuck, Everwood, Huff, Without A Trace, ER, Big Love, Numb3rs, The Mentalist.
Creating the world of An Iliad at McCarter will be set designer Rachel Hauck, with costume design by Marina Draghici, lighting design by Scott Zielinski and original music by Mark Bennett. The production will feature live music performed by Brian Ellingsen on double bass.
An Iliad was originally devised by Tony Award-winning actor Denis O'Hare (now a featured performer in the HBO hit series Tru Blood) in collaboration with director Lisa Peterson at the Sundance Theatre Institute.
Tickets start at $20; with student tickets priced at $15. Show times are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 3pm and 8pm; and Sunday at 2pm. There will be an additional performance on Sunday, October 31 at 7:30pm.
Enriching the experience of the performance for audiences will be a special post-show event:
Making Sense of War Through Storytelling on Sunday, October 24 at 3:30 pm (immediately following the 2pm performance of An Iliad.) This panel discussion will examine both ancient and contemporary war from a humanities perspective in order to better understand the ways in which humans make sense of war through stories. The panel guests for this discussion will include Constanze Güthenke, Associate Professor of Classics at Princeton University, and James Tatum, Professor of Classics Emeritus at Dartmouth College. Making Sense of War Through Storytelling is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
McCarter is committed to making live theater available and affordable to all members of our community. To further this goal McCarter offers Public Rush and Pay-What-You Can tickets. Public Rush makes unsold tickets available for half-price on the day of selected performances, and is not available in all seating locations. Two Pay-What-You-Can performances will be offered for An Iliad on Wednesday, October 20 at 7:30pm and Sunday, October 31 at 7:30pm. Tickets are subject to availability and must be purchased at the McCarter Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place, Princeton.