STC's Michael Kahn to Direct Strange Interlude by Eugene O'Neill 3/27-4/29

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STC's Michael Kahn to Direct Strange Interlude by Eugene O'Neill 3/27-4/29

Continuing its 25th Anniversary Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is set to present Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Strange Interlude. Directed by STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn, Strange Interlude will run at the Company's Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from March 27–April 29, 2012.

About the show: "Strange Interlude, one of O’Neill’s earlier plays, is a drama about love and deception. Heartbroken over her adored fiancé’s death, Nina engages in a series of sordid affairs before marrying a man she does not love. Months later, pregnant with her husband’s child, she learns a horrifying secret about his family, setting off a dramatic and emotional chain of events that spans two decades. Strange Interlude was hailed as revolutionary, shocked 1928 audiences—and became a smash hit."

Kahn considers Eugene O’Neill to be the greatest and most challenging American playwright, having directed five of his plays including Mourning Becomes Electra for STC. Kahn has wanted to direct Strange Interlude for many years and was granted permission from the O’Neill estate to edit the script and revive the piece on stage. “I didn’t start to edit the script until I knew the play completely; it was a fascinating experience,” says Kahn. “Oftentimes, Strange Interlude gets ignored because of the size and complexity of the piece, I’m thankful that the O’Neill estate has provided me the opportunity to explore this brilliant play. This is a story of the most salient points of a woman’s life that explores the illusory nature of happiness and the American dream. It also is wildly visionary as it confronts many of the most vital issues in a woman’s life as it spans over two decades.”

Strange Interlude will be produced in conjunction with The Eugene O'Neill Festival, which will provide an examination of the life and work of playwright Eugene O’Neill. Along with Strange Interlude, STC will host two weeks of O’Neill festivities as part of its free Happenings at the Harman series. In partnership with STC and Arena Stage, local universities have been working with the writings of Eugene O’Neill and will present their works-in-process in the Forum in Sidney Harman Hall April 4 and April 11 at noon. Students from The George Washington University will present their writings the first week, and students from Georgetown University will present the following week.

To reserve tickets or for more information, please call the box office at 202.547.1122, or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org.

STRANGE INTERLUDE CAST

Francesca Faridany returns to STC to perform the role of Nina. Faridany was last seen on STC’s stage as Rosalind in As You Like It and also appeared as Donna Elvira in Don Juan. She has many Broadway credits including her most recent performance in Man and Boy, as well as The 39 Steps and The Homecoming. Her Off-Broadway credits include The New York Idea at Atlantic Theater Company, Uncle Jack at Worth Street Theatre and Orlando at Classic Stage Company. Some of her many regional credits include performances at Long Wharf Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Marin Theatre Company. On television, she appeared in E.R., Deadline and Law & Order. Faridany also adapted and played the title role in Fräulein Else at McCarter Theatre Center, Berkeley Repertory and LaJolla Playhouse.

Performing the role of Mrs. Evans is STC Affiliated Artist Tana Hicken. Last seen on STC’s stage in Ion, Hicken has also performed in Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, Lorenzaccio, The Winter’s Tale, King Lear, Richard II and King John. Her regional appearances include The Studio Theatre’s The Road to Mecca and The History Boys, Arena Stage’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Wild Duck, Ghosts and Old Times, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater and many others. She is the recipient of two Helen Hayes Awards and has been nominated for 20. Hicken received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Broadway veteran Robert Stanton performs the role of Charles Marsden. His Broadway credits include performances in A Free Man of Color, Mary Stuart and The Coast of Utopia. Off-Broadway he has appeared in productions at the Public Theater, Primary Stages, Atlantic Theater Company, National Actors Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons and the New York Theatre Workshop. Some of his many film credits include Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Stepford Wives, Head of State, Mercury Rising, Washington Square, Striptease and Dennis the Menace. On television he appeared in NYC22, Damages, Law & Order: CI and Frasier. Stanton received an MFA from New York University.

STC Affiliated Artist Ted van Griethuysen appears as Professor Henry Leeds. Van Griethuysen, a well-known D.C. actor, is recognized by STC audiences for his most recent performances as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline in Cymbeline, the King of France in All’s Well That Ends Well, Mr. Praed in Mrs. Warren’s Profession and the Duke of York in Richard II, as well as his roles in Henry V, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Major Barbara, Hamlet, Love’s Labor’s Lost and many more. His impressive theatrical résumé includes Inadmissible Evidence on Broadway, for which he received a Drama Desk Award, as well as performances in Romulus and Galileo. Regional credits include The Studio Theatre’s The Life of Galileo and The Steward of Christendom, both of which earned him Helen Hayes Awards. In addition, he has performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Roundabout Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Van Griethuysen’s work extends internationally to London, where he performed in the title role in The Life of Galileo at Battersea Arts Center, in Broadway in the Shadows at Arcola Theatre and as Mr. Paradise in Lovely and Misfit at Trafalgar Studios. He has taught at both Columbia University and Mount Vernon College.

The cast of Strange Interlude also includes Rachel Spencer Hewitt as Madeline Arnold, Ted Koch as Sam Evans, Jake Land as Young Gordon Evans, Joe Short as Gordon Evans and Baylen Thomas as Ned Darrell.

STRANGE INTERLUDE DIRECTOR

Michael Kahn directs this Eugene O’Neill tale which explores the American dream of happiness and the actions people take to achieve it. He last directed this season’s The Heir Apparent, kicking off his 25th Anniversary Season as STC’s Artistic Director. Kahn has directed a wide variety of Shakespearean and classical works for STC, including Old Times, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Liar, Richard II, The Alchemist, Design for Living and The Way of the World. Kahn continues to demonstrate the versatility and relevance of STC’s theatre programming this season with Strange Interlude.

In 1991, he created the Free For All, which brings an STC production to audiences completely free of charge every year. The Free For All has reached more than 630,000 people to date. In addition to leading STC, he is also the founder of the Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University and the former Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division at Juilliard. Since the 1960s, Kahn’s work has been seen by audiences across the country and the world: in New York City, both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as at both the American Shakespeare Theatre and the McCarter Theatre where he served as Artistic Director concurrently. In 2003, STC performed his production of The Oedipus Plays at the Athens Festival in Greece, where it received standing ovations and critical acclaim. In the summer of 2006, the Company took Kahn’s production of Love’s Labor’s Lost to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Complete Works Festival” in Stratford-upon-Avon.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Eugene O'Neill was the first American dramatist to regard the stage as a literary medium and the only American playwright ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. O'Neill saw the theatre as a valid forum for the presentation of serious ideas. For more than 20 years, both with such masterpieces as Desire Under the Elms, Mourning Becomes Electra and The Iceman Cometh and by his inspiration to other serious dramatists, O'Neill set the pace for the blossoming of the Broadway theatre. Between 1920 and 1943 he completed 20 full-length plays. His most-distinguished short plays include the four early sea plays, Bound East for Cardiff, In the Zone, The Long Voyage Home and The Moon of the Caribbees. O'Neill's plays were written from an intensely personal point of view, deriving directly from the wounding effects of his family's tragic relationships. Other notable works of his include Anna Christie, The Great God Brown, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Ah, Wilderness! and Long Day’s Journey into Night.

STRANGE INTERLUDE DESIGNERS

In order to create the visual world of Strange Interlude, Kahn has assembled a creative team of familiar and new faces to STC. Set Designer Walt Spangler designs a playing space that can easily transition over time, while Projection Designer Aaron Rhyne uses images that dive into the emotional depth of the play. Costume Designer Jane Greenwood uses her designs to reflect the personalities of each character and the connections they have with one another. Lighting Designer Stephen Strawbridge and Composer/Sound Designer Fitz Patton also help create the backdrop for this enduring, emotional classic and enhance the audience’s experience.

STRANGE INTERLUDE ARTISTIC TEAM

Kahn is assisted by Production Stage Manager Joseph Smelser and Assistant Stage Manager Benjamin Royer. Jenny Lord serves as Kahn’s Assistant Director.

*Artists and dates are subject to change.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EUGENE O’NEILL FESTIVAL

Ah, Wilderness!
Directed by Kyle Donnelly
March 9–April 8
Arena Stage’s Fichandler Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater
Return to an idyllic age of Americana in Eugene O’Neill’s unabashedly romantic and sweetly funny Ah, Wilderness! As the Connecticut-based Miller clan plans their traditional Fourth of July festivities, their dreamy-eyed middle child Richard is wrestling with cultural conventions, political uncertainty, the power of literature and the exquisite pain of love.
Strange Interlude
Directed by Michael Kahn
March 27–April 29
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW)
STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn directs Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, yet controversial, drama about love and deception. Strange Interlude is generally regarded as the first of O’Neill’s works to reveal his full power as a dramatist.
Long Day’s Journey into Night
Directed by Robin Phillips
March 30–May 6
Arena Stage’s Kreeger Theater at the Mead Center for American Theater
Delusion and disenchantment have pitted the Tyrone family members against one another for decades, until one fateful day. Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical masterwork exposes the lies we tell, the deceptions we craft and the undercurrent of compassion that, if uncovered, can redeem us in the end.
Stage Interludes from Michael Kahn
A DC Theatre Scene Blog
Starts Wednesday, February 15; new entries posted every Wednesday
This behind-the-scenes blog, written by STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn, explores Strange Interlude as Kahn edits the text and works with the cast and designers. Kahn will offer reflections in new posts each week to give audiences a first look at the Strange Interlude process. Read the blog at DCTheatreScene.com.
Al Hirschfeld Installation: O’Neill As Seen By Hirschfeld
On display throughout the festival
The lobby of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater
A unique installation, first created for New York University’s Kimmel Center, of more than 40 works by the legendary theater caricaturist Al Hirschfeld that spans 72 years of Eugene O’Neill’s productions on stage and on screen, will be on display in the Mead Center.
AsidesLIVE Symposium
Sunday, April 1 at 10 a.m.
Sidney Harman Hall
STC’s AsidesLIVE symposium looks deeply into both the text and production, encouraging audiences to examine the work onstage from a well-informed perspective, in a conversation with Michael Kahn. Tickets are $20 ($15 subscribers, $5 students). To reserve tickets, visit ShakespeareTheatre.org or call 202.547.1122.

Windows on Strange Interlude
Sunday, April 1 at 5 p.m.
The Forum in Sidney Harman Hall
Join STC’s Artistic staff and a guest scholar as they provide a “window” into the production during an insightful, lively pre-show discussion. Free.
Divining O’Neill
Wednesday, April 4 at 5 p.m.
The Forum in Sidney Harman Hall
Explore the play’s relevance through STC’s theological discussion. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Free. To reserve tickets, visit ShakespeareTheatre.org or call 202.547.1122.
Post-Performance Discussion
Wednesday, April 4, after the performance
Sidney Harman Hall
Extend the experience by staying at STC immediately following the evening’s production for a post-performance discussion. Free.
Happenings at the Harman: Sea Plays in Rehearsal
Wednesday, April 4 at noon
The Forum in Sidney Harman Hall
In partnership with STC and Arena Stage, local universities have been working with the writings of Eugene O’Neill and will present their works-in-process. Students from The George Washington University will present the first week. Free.
Happenings at the Harman: Begotten in Rehearsal
Wednesday, April 11 at noon
The Forum in Sidney Harman Hall
In partnership with STC and Arena Stage, local universities have been working with the writings of Eugene O’Neill and will present their works-in-process. Georgetown University students will present the second week. Free.
Classics in Context
Saturday, April 21 at 5 p.m.
The Forum in Sidney Harman Hall
Learn about the social and cultural context of our plays during this roundtable discussion. Reservations not required. Free.
See a full schedule and more information about The Eugene O’Neill Festival.

ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY

In the 2011-2012 Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is set to celebrate! Not only is it the 25th year of Michael Kahn's leadership, vision and artistic direction but, over the past quarter of a century, STC has become one of the nation's leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation's premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company's artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights' language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

In its 2007-2008 Season, the company opened the Harman Center for the Arts, consisting of the new 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall and the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre, both located in downtown Washington's Penn Quarter neighborhood. A dynamic hub of activity, the Harman Center showcases the company as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC's annual Free For All performance, a re-creation of a production from seasons past staged for free in August and September, is now held at Sidney Harman Hall. Sidney Harman Hall is located at 610 F Street NW. The Lansburgh Theatre also plays host to a number of different performing arts organizations and several of STC's mainstage productions. The Lansburgh Theatre is located at 450 7th Street NW.

FACT SHEET: Strange Interlude
by Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Michael Kahn

DATES: March 27–April 29, 2012

LOCATION: Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW

TIMES: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 25, 2012, at 12 p.m.

TICKETS: $20-$100. Special discounts are available for military, students, seniors and patrons aged 35 and under. Contact the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org for more information.

YOUNG PROSE: Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., STC releases an allotment of $15 tickets to patrons ages 35 and younger. Tickets are usually limited to performances through the following Sunday and are available in person at the Box Office and via phone at 202.547.1122. There is a limit of four tickets per person. ID is always required to pick up Young Prose tickets.

ACCESSIBILITY: Sidney Harman Hall is accessible to persons with disabilities, offering wheelchair-accessible seating and restrooms, audio enhancement and Braille and large print programs.

An audio-described performance of Strange Interlude will be on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 2 p.m.
A sign-interpreted performance of Strange Interlude will be on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.
PARKING: The LAZ garage is located directly beneath Sidney Harman Hall; enter from E or F Streets between 6th and 7th Streets. E Street is the recommended entry because of events at the Verizon Center. When entering, follow signs directing you to 620 F Street. Elevators will take you to the Winter Garden lobby next door to Harman Hall on F Street.

METRO: Gallery Pl-Chinatown station on the Red/Green/Yellow lines: Use the Arena/7th Street exit. Sidney Harman Hall is visible one block to your left. Judiciary Square station on the Red line: use the F Street exit to the National Building Museum, turn left and walk 1.5 blocks along F Street to 6th Street.

Box Office: 202.547.1122 (voice) TTY: 202.638.3863 Toll Free: 877.487.8849

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