Classic Stage Announces Sondheim's ASSASSINS and More in Upcoming Season
Classic Stage Company announces their 2019-2020 season. Bookended by two John Doyle-directed productions-William Shakespeare's Macbeth (October-December 2019) and Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins (April-June, 2020)-the lineup also includes two canonical works of gothic horror: Dracula and Frankenstein, presented in repertory, January-March 2020, based on the novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley.
The season kicks off with Shakespeare's terrifying tale of revenge, murder, and madness, Macbeth, which traces the fallout when the darkest side of humanity cheats its way into a position of power. Its protagonists' violent ambition is famously aroused by a prophecy delivered by a group of witches, and the work has itself proven historically prophetic: Shakespeare's portrait of the psychology of tyranny has found itself in unsettling dialogue with societies around the world time and again. The foreboding environment of "The Scottish Play" is particularly familiar to director John Doyle, who attended school in the shadow of the play's setting, the real-life Cawdor Castle, in Inverness, Scotland.
With momentum from last season's Strindberg adaptations, CSC presents a thought-provoking second repertory cycle, bringing to life two Gothic nightmares that have long inhabited our collective consciousness, Dracula and Frankenstein. Widely known as a pair of macabre fantasies about blood-sucking vampires and man-made monsters, these stories illuminate and exorcise some of humanity's most fundamental fears surrounding life, love, and death.
Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Tony Award-winning Assassins-which, like Macbeth, has personal resonance for John Doyle-closes the season. Doyle has directed productions of Sondheim/Weidman's other two collaborations-Pacific Overtures at CSC and Road Show at The Public Theater and London's Menier Chocolate Factory-to wide acclaim. A journey through the dark side of the American dream, Assassins explores the lives of nine men and women who either killed (or tried to kill) one of the Presidents of the United States. When the musical made its Broadway debut in 2004, The New York Times wrote that Assassins has "acquired a new point of connection with contemporary culture...[through] that imaginary constitutional amendment to which these antiheroes subscribe so ardently: the right to be famous."
John Doyle says, "All of the works this season explore disturbing aspects of humanity. Yet they all have beauty. There's nothing more poetically beautiful than Macbeth's 'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow' speech; there's tenderness in the two gothic plays; there's so much humor in Assassins-and such deep psychological and social insight in all of them."
Thematically, the 2019-2020 season builds upon the one currently underway, which opened with The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht's allegory about the rise of fascism via a charismatic tyrant, and concludes with Marc Blitzstein's Depression-era indictment of rampant capitalism, The Cradle Will Rock, which begins performances March 21, 2019, and runs through May 19, 2019.
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