RICHARD III Opens Tonight at the Folger Theatre

The quintessential portrait of maniacal ambition and lust for power is on stage in William Shakespeare's epic history play Richard III at Folger Theatre. Robert Richmond

(Henry V and Henry VIII) returns to direct another of Shakespeare's celebrated stories of the English throne in an innovative staging that will transform the Folger into an arena styled stage for the first time in its history. The Machiavellian king, one of Shakespeare's most diabolical villains, is played by Drew Cortese (The Merchant of Venice at STC and The Motherf***er With The Hat at Studio Theatre) making his Folger Theatre debut. Richard III begins performances at the Folger on January 28 and has its initial run through March 9, 2014.

Folger Theatre's Richard III features an extraordinary cast that includes Howard W. Overshown as Buckingham, Richard's right-hand man and cohort, Naomi Jacobson as Queen Margaret, widow of King Henry VI, Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan as Lady Anne, the widow of Edward, Prince of Wales, Richard SheriDan Willis as Lord Stanley, Paul Morella as King Edward, Julia Motyka as Queen Elizabeth, wife of King Edward IV, and Nanna Ingvarsson as the Duchess of York, mother of Richard. The production also features Michael Sharon (Clarence), Michael Gabriel Goodfriend (Rivers), Sean Fri (Hastings), Jenna Berk (Princess Elizabeth), Daniel Flint (Lovell), Andrew Criss (Ratcliffe), Holden Brettell (Prince Edward), and Remy Brettell (Duke of York) round out the cast.

The award-winning creative team includes four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Tony Cisek (set design), Mariah Hale (costume design), Jim Hunter (lighting design), Eric Shimelonis (composer and sound design), and Casey Kaleba (fight director).

"The recent discovery of Richard's bones makes it time to truly explore the complex psyche of one of England's most controversial kings whose legacy is written as much in blood as it is in ink," says Richmond. Regarding the in-the-round staging for this production, Richmond states, "It will surely prove to be an immersive experience which will surround the audience with the chaos of a struggle for a kingdom, and give a private look into the corrupt mind that Richard hides beneath his deformed body. It focuses on Richard's obsession, helps to learn his motivations, and, through the lens of the newly designed setting, finally shows the man who has been buried beneath the surface for so long."

"Now is the winter of our discontent..." With these words, Richard, Shakespeare's twisted tyrant, the "poisonous hunchback'd toad" sets his murderous plans in motion. His goal: to reign as undisputed king. Standing between him and the throne are his brothers Clarence and Edward, the king, his nephews the Princes, his bitter adversary Queen Elizabeth, and a host of enemies, rivals, and dubious allies. Richard will stop at nothing - seduction, bribery, conspiracy, and mass slaughter - in his bloodthirsty quest. To steal power though, is one thing - to retain it, is another.

Richard III plays at Folger Theatre from tonight, January 28 - March 9, 2014. Tickets are $40 - $72. Lower-priced previews and discounts for students, seniors, military, educators, and groups of ten or more are available - and may be purchased at the Folger Theatre Box Office at 202.544.7077 or online at www.folger.edu/theatre.




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