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Brooks, Page, Etc. Set for New Shakespeare Theatre Season

Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn announced the Company's 2007-2008 season, which will open the Harman Center for the Arts. Located in downtown Washington, D.C., the Harman Center for the Arts will consist of two theatres: the Company's current 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre (located at 450 7th St. NW) and the new 775-seat Sidney Harman Hall (located at 610 F St. NW), scheduled to open October 1, 2007.

With two theatres, the Shakespeare Theatre Company will: 1. expand its season from five to eight plays, 2. present two repertory series: a Christopher Marlowe repertory and a Shakespeare Roman repertory, 3. introduce new family and lunch-time programming, 4. offer a new $10 ticket program to build younger audiences; and 5. increase its education and outreach efforts. As part of the Marlowe repertory, the Shakespeare Theatre Company also will present a mini-Marlowe festival featuring exhibits, films and poetry readings. During the repertory series, visitors to Washington will be able to see three Shakespeare Theatre Company productions in one weekend. A tourist could see all eight plays of the Shakespeare Theatre Company season in just three weekends over the course of a year.

The opening season of the Harman Center also will feature performances by Harman Center Artistic Partners the Washington Bach Consort, Capital Fringe Festival, CityDance Ensemble, Dance Place, The Summer Opera Theatre Company, Washington Ballet and Washington Performing Arts Society. The season also includes performances by the Reduced Shakespeare Company at the Lansburgh Theatre in April and May of 2008.

Complementing its new season and new venue, Shakespeare Theatre Company has also announced a starry roster of actors and directors for 2007-08: Avery Brooks will star in Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine in October; Patrick Page -- most recently seen as The Grinch on Broadway in How the Grinch Stole Christmas -- will return to his classical roots with two Shakespeare classics, Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, both in April 2008. (With these dual, simultaneous productions, Page will play both the young and old Marc Antony.) Tony Award-winner Rene Auberjonois will star in Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid  in June 2008.

The list of international directors who will helm productions at Shakespeare Theatre Company in 2007-08 include Michael Kahn, Gale Edwards, Tony Award-nominee Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses), Keith Baxter and Ethan McSweeny.

The season is as follows:

The Taming of the Shrew
by William Shakespeare
directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman
September 25 to November 25, 2007
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW
"With The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare gives us the improbable courtship of the fiery-tongued Katherine by the arrogant Petruchio. But unlike Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play does not stop with the wedding. Shakespeare considers the institution of marriage, the rifts between men and women, and the rough journey toward love. One of Shakespeare's earliest and most popular comedies, The Taming of the Shrew bursts with disguise, deception and devilment. Director Rebecca Bayla Taichman makes her Shakespeare Theatre Company debut with this comedy. Taichman previously received acclaim for her poetic and heart-felt production of The Clean House at Woolly Mammoth.
Christopher Marlowe Repertory."

In his short career, William Shakespeare's contemporary Christopher Marlowe left behind seven plays, dazzling in their brilliant characterization and soaring verse. To open the new Sidney Harman Hall, the Shakespeare Theatre Company presents its first-ever productions of Marlowe, producing two of his greatest plays in repertory.

by Christopher Marlowe
directed by Michael Kahn
October 28, 2007, to January 6, 2008
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW
"Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine chronicles its hero's meteoric rise from humble origins to fearsome warrior and emperor of thousands. Tamburlaine desolates his adversaries, growing so ruthless that he marches on his beloved's native country. With ravishing poetry, Marlowe ruminates on the corrupting influence of ambition and one man's overwhelming desire for immortality. Tamburlaine exemplifies Marlowe's extravagant style, immense sense of pageantry and bold characters. Michael Kahn directs.  Avery Brooks returns to play the title role after his acclaimed portrayals of Othello and Oedipus. Franchelle Stewart Dorn returns for the first time since 2000 to play the Queen of Persia."

Edward II
by Christopher Marlowe
directed by Gale Edwards
October 27, 2007, to January 6, 2008
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW
"Deemed by many to be Marlowe's crowning achievement, Edward II features the playwright's most nuanced characters and some of his finest language. In the weak, stubborn character of Edward II, Marlowe created a compelling portrait of a flawed monarch. Though the son of a great general, Edward is an ineffectual king and, in the grips of a romantic obsession, fails to recognize the threats to his crown. As the play unfolds, Marlowe turns the doomed Edward into a more tragic figure, contrasting his plight with the ruthless nobles who depose him. Gale Edwards (Titus Andronicus, Richard III, Hamlet) returns to direct."

adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman
January 15 to March 2, 2008
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW
With her signature style and eye for the epic, director Mary Zimmerman turns her talents to the spectacular tale of Jason and the Argonauts. In their quest for the Golden Fleece, Jason and his crew encounter a world of dangers-frightening sea monsters, hypnotic water nymphs, wicked kings … and a young sorceress named Medea. Amid these fanciful adventures, Zimmerman ponders the nature of loss, love and leadership. Originally mounted by the Lookingglass Theatre Company, Argonautika received rave reviews in Chicago. Zimmerman returns to the Shakespeare Theatre Company for the first time since her enchanting production of Pericles."

Major Barbara
by George Bernard Shaw
directed by Ethan McSweeny
February 19 to March 23, 2008
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW
"Full of Shaw's signature shrewd, urbane wit, Major Barbara depicts timeless tensions between wealth and charity, government and religion, business and family. At the center of the play is the rebellious but naively idealistic Barbara Undershaft. A major with the Salvation Army, Barbara finds the foundation of her beliefs rocked when the charity accepts a donation from her long-estranged father, a millionaire arms dealer. Often called Shaw's greatest play, Major Barbara offers a provocative discourse on poverty, faith and justice, while entertaining us with vivid characters, intriguing plot twists and a hefty dose of pure fun. Ethan McSweeny returns for the first time since his production of The Persians."

Roman Repertory
For its second repertory presentation, the Shakespeare Theatre Company explores politics and ambition through two of Shakespeare's Roman plays: Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Patrick Page returns after his mesmerizing turn as Iago to play both the young and the old Marc Antony.

Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
directed by David Muse
April 27 to July 6, 2008
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW
"As swift and enthralling as a political thriller, Julius Caesar portrays the life-and-death struggle for power in Rome. Fearing that Caesar's growing strength and constitutional ambitions threaten the Republic, a faction of politicians plots to assassinate him. But when Caesar is killed, chaos engulfs Rome. Alive with stunning rhetoric, Julius Caesar investigates the intoxicating effects of power and the dangers of idealism. In Caesar, Brutus and the young Marc Antony, Shakespeare created three fascinating, dynamic characters. Shakespeare Theatre Company Associate Artistic Director David Muse makes his mainstage directing debut after several hit productions at area theatres."

Antony and Cleopatra
by William Shakespeare
directed by Michael Kahn
April 26 to July 6, 2008
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW
"Featuring some of the most sublime poetry of love and loss ever written, Antony and Cleopatra is a dark, intimate portrait of an ill-fated love affair. The play begins two years after the events of Julius Caesar, with civil unrest roiling imperial Rome. The aging Marc Antony, one of the empire's three rulers, lives a decadent life in Egypt, carousing with Queen Cleopatra. As Rome reasserts its claim on him, Antony struggles between his sense of duty to his country and his consuming love for Cleopatra. Michael Kahn directs one of Shakespeare's last great tragedies."

The Imaginary Invalid
by Molière
directed by Keith Baxter
June 10 to August 3, 2008
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW
"Written and first performed while Molière was dying, The Imaginary Invalid targets the medical quacks of 17th-century France. The eccentric and wealthy hypochondriac Argan decides to marry his strong-willed daughter Angélique off to a doctor so that he'll always have a physician around. But Angélique loves another man, and her attempts to persuade her father to let her marry him lead to outrageous tricks and disguises. Molière's keen wit and hilarious characters take center stage in this knockabout farce. Keith Baxter (Lady Windermere's Fan, The Rivals, The Country Wife) returns to direct a cast that includes René Auberjonois in his Shakespeare Theatre Company debut."

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