Epic Theatre's MACBETH Begins Performances Tonight

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Previews begin Friday, April 20th for Epic Theatre Ensemble's production of William Shakespeare's MACBETH, part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The production, directed by Ron Russell, opens Sunday, April 29 at 6PM, and continues through Saturday, May 26th, at the 47th Street Theatre (304 W. 47th Street).

OBIE winner Ty Jones and Melissa Friedman lead the cast of MACBETH, which also includes a special appearance by Richard Easton, one of the foremost interpreters of Shakespeare today. Also featured are: Devin E. Haqq, Rhett Henckel, Aimé Donna Kelly, Scott Kerns, Lori E. Parquet, Julian Rozzell, Jr., Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., and James Wallert.

A brutal and darkly funny exploration of the banality of evil, Epic Theatre Ensemble's production of Shakespeare's classic thriller MACBETH asks the question "How far would you go to get back what you thought fate had promised you?"

Every performance of MACBETH will be immediately followed by a post performance forum lead by scholars, authors, and thinkers connected to the content of the show, which will also include members of the cast. This series is sponsored by the New York City Council on the Humanities.

This year's forums will include, Susan Nakely (St. John's University professor) on Saturday, April 21st at 2pm, Anne Klaeysen (Leader of Society for Ethical Culture) on Tuesday, April 24th at 8pm, and Barbara Andolsen (Buckman Chair of Applied Christian Ethics, Fordham University) on Wednesday April 25th at 8pm, along with cast members. Additional guest speakers are soon-to-be announced. The discussions will be moderated by executive director Ron Russell, and associate artistic director James Wallert, and are included in the price of a ticket.

The design team for MACBETH is comprised of Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams (set), Alixandra Gage Englund (costumes), Cat Tate Starmer (lighting), and Ron Russell (sound).

Founded in 2001, Epic Theatre Ensemble is a company of artists and activists dedicated to creating socially minded Off-Broadway productions, and to connecting these theatrical events to NYC Public Schools through rigorous in school and after-school residencies. Epic aims to inspire vital dialogue about social, ethical, and political issues and to build thoughtful citizenship in local communities. Epic's past productions include: the critically acclaimed New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play; Nilaja Sun's No Child… (commissioned, developed and premiered by Epic prior to its commercial transfer and national tour); the premieres of Beauty on the Vine by Zak Berkman (featuring Epic associates David Strathairn and Olivia Wilde), Hannah and Martin by Kate Fodor (featuring David Strathairn), Einstein's Gift by Vern Thiessen (featuring Aasif Mandvi and Shawn Elliott), Habitat by Judith Thompson; and the revivals of George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses (with Peter Jay Fernandez), Henrik Ibsen's Little Eyolf, and J.B. Priestley's Time and the Conways. Epic Theatre Ensemble was founded by Zak Berkman, Melissa Friedman, Teri Lamm, Ron Russell and James Wallert, and the founding team has since been joined by additional Producing Artists Godfrey L. Simmons Jr. and Sarah Winkler. Epic is the proud recipient of OBIE, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics and OTTO Awards, the 2009 "Coming Up Taller" Award from the President's Council for the Arts and Humanities for their flagship educational program, Shakespeare Remix, as well as citations from Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.

The performance schedule for MACBETH is Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 2:00. There are additional performances on Tuesday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m., a matinee on Friday, April 27th at 2pm, Sunday, April 29th at 2PM and Thursday, May 24 at 8:00 p.m. The production runs through Saturday, May 26th at 2pm.

Tickets are $35 and are available through Ticket Central by calling (212) 279-4200 or visiting www.ticketcentral.com.

For more information, visit www.epictheatreensemble.org/Macbeth.

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