THE LAST WILL Completes Casting Off-Broadway
Abingdon Theatre Company continues its 20th Anniversary Season with the Off-Broadway premiere of Robert Brustein's THE LAST WILL, the final installment of his trilogy examining the life of William Shakespeare, with previews set to begin April 5, prior to its official opening on April 17 in the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street). OBIE Award-winning director Austin Pendleton, who helmed WAR IN PARAMUS at Abingdon, directs.
In THE LAST WILL, William Shakespeare-retired after years of struggle and success in London-suffers from a fatal illness which causes his mind to deteriorate and obscures his ability to distinguish between fact and fiction. As Will wrestles with suspicions, delusions, and family resentments, he longs for forgiveness. As Shakespeare composes his final testament, Richard Burbage tries to persuade him to return to London and to unite again.
The Off-Broadway cast of THE LAST WILL includes Peter Cameron as William Shakespeare; Stephanie Haberle-Roth as Anne Hathaway; Merritt Janson as Susanna Shakespeare; Jeremiah Kissel as Richard Burbage; ChristiAnna Nelson as Judith Shakespeare; and David Wohl as Francis Collins.
As previously announced, THE LAST WILL is set to be presented by Abingdon Theatre Company in the first-ever Wuzhen Theatre Festival, with performances May 15-18, in Wuzhen, China. The play had its world premiere in February 2013, presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company of Boston at Suffolk University. In his review for The Boston Globe, Joel Brown called the play "a brisk and compelling 80 minutes."
Robert Brustein's THE LAST WILL is being produced on an Off-Broadway contact, and marks Abingdon Theatre Company's return to the June Havoc Theatre, where it last presented Robert Cary and Benjamin Feldman's INVENTING AVI in 2009.
The two earlier plays in Robert Brustein's Shakespeare trilogy are MORTAL TERROR and THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. A noted New Republic theatre critic and educator, Mr. Brustein returns to Abingdon Theatre Company where THE ENGLISH CHANNEL was presented Off-Broadway in 2008.
In his New York Times review of THE ENGLISH CHANNEL, Jason Zinoman called Brustein "one of the true Renaissance men of the Modern Stage" and described the play as a "playful, witty comedy." Brustein's other plays include NOBODY DIES ON FRIDAY; THREE FARCES AND A FUNERAL; SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK; and DEMONS. He founded both Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut and The American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Brustein was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2002 and received a 2010 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. He was recently named honorary chairman of the inaugural Wuzhen Theatre Festival.
For Abingdon Theatre Company, acclaimed actor, director and playwright Austin Pendleton directed Barbara Dana's WAR IN PARAMUS. He recently directed IVANOV for Classic Stage Company. In 2011, he earned an OBIE Award for his direction of THREE SISTERS for Classic Stage Company. On Broadway, he has directed SPOILS OF WAR, THE LITTLE FOXES starring Elizabeth Taylor, John Gabriel BORKMAN, THE RUNNER STUMBLES, and SHELTER. Other directing credits include LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL, VIEUX CARRE, UNCLE VANYA, FIFTY WORDS, and TOYS IN THE ATTIC. He is the author of ORSON'S SHADOW, UNCLE BOB, and BOOTH.