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Jesse J. Perez and Nikkole Salter to Lead MACBETH, Helmed by Liesl Tommy, at STC

Jesse J. Perez and Nikkole Salter to Lead MACBETH, Helmed by Liesl Tommy, at STC

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) presents Macbeth, directed by Tony Award-nominee Liesl Tommy and featuring Jesse J. Perez as Macbeth and Nikkole Salter as Lady Macbeth. The show will run April 25-May 28 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW).

At a time when equivocation and the perils of power dominate the news and divide the nation, Liesl Tommy's up-to-the-minute production will explore political themes that reverberate here in America and around the world. Though not always thought of as a political play, Shakespeare's study of power and its abuses and insecurities is as relevant today as when it was written in response to the Gunpowder Plot in 1606.

Set in the modern day in a developing third-world country, Tommy will explore how external forces with ulterior motives can destabilize a region and undermine its political system through the essential story of Macbeth's rise and fall. In this production, wealthy interests, as embodied by the witches, interfere to erode trust in leadership and throw a country into chaos.

Tommy said: "I am very excited about doing this production in D.C. right now. I want this Macbeth to have a sense of what's happening in the real world when the show runs. It's hard to know exactly what that means, since it's hard to know what's going to happen in D.C. next week, let alone in a month. But I'm interested in this show being as immediate as possible."

STC welcomes Tommy as part of the Clarice Smith Series: New Directors for the Classics. "Since I invited Liesl to join us, she has earned a Tony nomination and many other accolades-and we are very happy to host her first large-scale production of a Shakespeare play," said Michael Kahn. "Macbeth is a wonderful choice for Liesl. She has a remarkable ability to inject a fresh look at classic stories and contemporize the setting to reflect a modern revolution. I'm excited to see what she does with 'The Scottish Play.'"

A masterpiece of suspense, Macbeth quickly spirals from order to disorder with a tale of murderous ambition and a love of terrifying intimacy. In a world beset by civil war and invasion, Macbeth and his artful lady begin a series of murders, designed to further their own ambitions, only to plunge their lives into madness. Storms rage, fires burn and night blankets the earth in this tale of sound and fury, accompanied by Shakespeare's richest poetry.Director Liesl Tommy and Macbeth are underwritten by the Clarice Smith Series: New Directors for the Classics. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Restaurant Sponsor: Zatinya.

Liesl Tommy made history as the first woman of color to receive a Tony nomination for Best Director of a Play for Eclipsed by Danai Gurira. Starring Lupita Nyong'o, the story of a group of women during the Liberian Civil War was nominated for six Tony Awards and earned Tommy a Lucille Lortel award. Liesl Tommy's other projects include Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Signature Theatre New York, Obie Award for Best New Play), Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse) and the world premiere of Party People by Universes at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In 2014, her highly lauded re-interpretation of LES MISERABLES debuted at the Dallas Theatre Center. Most recently, she helmed a $28 million stage adaptation of Disney's Frozen, seen by up to 10,000 people every day at Disneyland.

The cast of Macbeth will feature a majority of actors of color. Following roles at STC in Pericles, Argonautika, Candide and Servant of Two Masters, Jesse J. Perez will return to the Company to play Macbeth. His off-Broadway credits include Party People, The Father, A Doll's House, Informed Consent, Barrio Grrrl, Recent Tragic Events, In the Penal Colony and Lucia di Lammermoor. Jesse has also worked internationally and regionally and has numerous television and film credits.

Writer and performer Nikkole Salter makes her STC debut as Lady Macbeth. Salter's Pulitzer Prize-nominated play In the Continuum, co-written and co-performed with Danai Gurira, made its regional debut at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and earned numerous awards and nominations including an Obie Award. Other Off-Broadway roles include Inked Baby, Tough Titty and The Royale. Her regional credits include roles at Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Yale Repertory Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre and The Goodman Theatre. She also has a number of impressive international and film credits.

STC Affiliated Artist Naomi Jacobson (Witch) returns to STC after many roles including The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound, Henry IV and Henry V, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Pericles, The Silent Woman and Camino Real. She has been a company member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre for 20 years and has appeared at Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Ford's Theatre, Folger Theatre, Round House Theatre and Olney Theatre Center.

Tim Getman (Witch) is currently appearing in STC's production of King Charles III. At STC he also appeared in The Merchant of Venice and Camino Real. His regional credits include Arena Stage: Death of a Salesman, A View From the Bridge, The Misanthrope, A Streetcar Named Desire; Folger Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Elizabeth the Queen; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Company Member,Kiss, Zombie, The Nether, Detroit, Appropriate; Rep Stage: A Lie of the Mind, In the Heart of America (Helen Hayes Award nomination).

David Bishins (Witch) will return to STC after appearing in the Company's productions of The Tempest and The Winter's Tale. Off-Broadway credits include: The Clurman Theatre: The Glass House; SPF at The Public: We Declare You a Terrorist; TACT: Incident at Vichy; Lortel: Catch-22; Second Stage: Sympathetic Magic; Tectonic Theater Project: The Nest; WPA & Lortel: Boys in the Band; CSC: Tower of Evil.

Myra Lucretia Taylor (Porter/Doctor) is a veteran Broadway actor with credits including Nine, Macbeth,Electra, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Mule Bone, and A Streetcar Named Desire. She also has numerous Off-Broadway credits including Primary Stages, Westside Theatre, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and Duke on 42nd Street, as well as the national tour of Love, Loss, and What I Wore.

Petronia Paley (Duncan) starred in STC productions of The Oedipus Plays (2001) and Trojan Women(1999). Her Broadway credits include: Gin Game, On Golden Pond. Off-Broadway: New Federal Theatre: Most Dangerous Man in America; TWAS Productions: Coriolanus, Hamlet; Classical Theatre of Harlem: Electra, The Cherry Orchard; Ensemble Studio Theatre: On The Way To Timbuktu; Red Bull Theatre: The Revenger's Tragedy. She has a number of international, film and television credits.

Marcus Naylor (Macduff) makes his STC debut following a number of Off-Broadway and regional credits including La Mama, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, New Federal Theatre, Cool Blues and Primary Stages: No Dogs. Regional credits include,The Penumbra Theatre: Jitney; Four City Regional Tour, Fences; Shakespeare on the Sound, Julius Caesar; North East Shakespeare Company: Othello and Arena Stage, Trinidad Sisters. International work includes, The State Theatre's of Germany: Long Days Journey into Night.

Horace V. Rogers (Lennox) appeared on Broadway in Brooklyn and Tarzan. Off-Broadway: City Center Encores: Big River; Public Theatre: Party People. Toronto: The Lion King (Mufasa). National Tours: Rent (Tom Collins), The Color Purple (Grady), Memphis (Delray), and Kinky Boots (Simon Sr.).

Corey Allen (Malcolm) will make his STC debut. His regional credits include roles at Pioneer Theater Company, Two Dollar Bill; Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Best of Enemies; Huntington Theater, A Raisin in the Sun; Repertory Theater of St. Louis, The Fall of Heaven and Great River Shakespeare in Othello, AMidsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night.

McKinley Belcher III (Banquo) has appeared Off-Broadway in roles at Lincoln Center, Classic Stage Company and The Public Theater. Regional credits include Invisible Man at Studio Theatre. He has also appeared frequently in television roles, including Chicago PD, Madam Secretary, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Elementary, and Louie.

Nilanjana Bose makes her STC debut as Lady Macduff. Her Off-Broadway credits include roles at Theatre For A New Audience, The Actor's Company Theater and Samuel Beckett Theatre.

Nine-year-old Trinity Sky Deabreu (Girl) of Maryland will make her stage debut in Macbeth.

JaBen Early (Angus) has appeared regionally at the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, House Theatre, Mosaic Theater Company, Marin Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Woolly Mammoth, Studio Theatre, Molotov Theatre Group, Warner Theatre, and Downstage Theatre.

Sophia Ramos (Ross) appeared in Berkley Rep and The Public Theater production of Party People and Robert Schenkkans's musical The Twelve at Signature Theatre and Arizona Theater Company's production of Love, Janis.

Rounding out the cast are: Brett Johnson (Fleance) regional work includes Caroline or Change at Center Stage. Christopher Michael Richardson (Ensemble); Brayden Simpson (Ensemble), returning to STC after appearing in Romeo & Juliet this fall. His regional credits include Everyman Theatre and Mosaic Theater Company of D.C. In 2015 he was nominated by D.C.Metro Theater Arts for 'Best Featured Actor in a Play' for Cory in Fences. and Anu Yadav (Ensemble) returns to STC after playing Nassrin in On the Eve of Friday Morning. Regional credits include Helen Hayes nominated In Love and Warcraft at Forum Theatre and international credits include National Acadeny of Chinese Theatre Arts (Beijing) and Studio Safdar (Delhi). Stephen Elrod. Nicole M. King makes her STC debut following roles at The Children's Theatre Company productions of Buccaneers!, Much Ado About Nothing and Bert and Ernie, Goodnight.Scotland Newton, and Kelsey Rainwater join the company as Shakespeare Theatre Company Acting Fellows.

Macbeth will feature work from designers with an exciting portfolio of national, regional and international work: John Coyne (Scenic Designer), Kathleen Geldard (Costume Designer), Colin K. Bills (Lighting Designer) and Broken Chord (Original Music & Sound Design). The artistic team also includes: Rick Sordelet (Fight Director), ChristIan Kelly-Sordelet (Fight Director), Laura Stanczyk, CSA (Casting Director), Carter C. Wooddell (Resident Casting Director), Drew Lichtenberg (Literary Manager/Dramaturg), Lisa Beley (Vocal Coach), Alec Wild (Text Coach), Charlie Marie McGrath(Assistant Director), Anna Alison Brenner (Dramaturgical Assistant), Brandon Prendergast (Production Stage Manager) and Maria Tejada (Assistant Stage Manager).

To meet the needs of the growing numbers of D.C. student who speak English as a second language, STC will include Spanish open captions at two student performances of Macbeth. STC recently piloted the initiative at three student matinees of its current production of King Charles III. The Spanish subtitles have allowEd English Language learners to understand and engage more deeply with the production. This initiative is part of the Company's mission to ensure theatre accessible to all.

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is the nation's leading premier classical theatre company. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation's capital.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC's innovative productions inspire dialogue that connects classic works to the modern human experience. The Company focuses on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced in order to preserve and promote classic theatre-ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes-for all audiences.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and adult acting classes to accessible community programming like play-relevant discussion series and the Free for All. For the past 25 years the Free For All program has offered an annual remount of a popular production completely free of charge to all audience members.

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., STC performs in two theatres, the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre and the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall. In addition to STC productions appearing year-round, these spaces also accommodate presentations from outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. The Company has been a fixture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood since 1992.

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