John Douglas Thompson & Nicole Ari Parker to Lead Red Bull Theater's ANTONY & CLEOPATRA

This event will premiere live in-person at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Monday February 19th at 7:30pm.

By: Feb. 21, 2024
John Douglas Thompson & Nicole Ari Parker to Lead Red Bull Theater's ANTONY & CLEOPATRA
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RED BULL THEATER has revealed updated casting for the next offering of a new season of OBIE Award-winning Revelation Readings: Antony & Cleopatra by William Shakespeare, directed by Arin Arbus. This event will premiere live in-person at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Monday February 19th at 7:30pm. This reading is presented in association with The Acting Company.

Featured in the cast will be Isabel Arraiza (The Merchant of Venice - Theatre for a New Audience, Julius Caesar - Public Theater/Delacorte); Jimonn Cole (black odyssey - Classic Stage Company; Our Lady of 121st Street, Iphigenia 2.0 - Signature Theatre; X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation - The Acting Company; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - New York Theatre Workshop/The Acting Company);  Dakin Matthews (Drama Desk Award - Henry IV - Lincoln Center Theater; Broadway: Camelot, Waitress, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Iceman Cometh, Macbeth, Gore Vidal's The Best Man, A Man for All Seasons, Julius Caesar); Nicole Ari Parker as Cleopatra (Broadway: A Streetcar Named Desire - Outer Critics Circle nomination; Off-Bway: The Refuge Plays - New York Theatre Workshop/Roundabout; The Flatted Fifth - New Group; Film:  The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, Boogie Nights, Remember the Titans, Brown Sugar, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Black Dynamite; TV: “Soul Food” - five NAACP Image Award nominations, “Empire.”, “And Just Like That....”); Tom Pecinka (coming up: Stereophonic - Broadway; Off-Bway: Stereophonic - Playwrights Horizons, He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box - Theatre for a New Audience, Troilus and Cressida - Public Theater/Delacorte); Matthew Rauch (Red Bull Theater’s The Duchess of Malfi - Actors Equity Award/Joe A. Callaway Award, The Revenger's Tragedy, Edward II; Broadway: The Great Society, Junk, The Merchant of Venice, Prelude to a Kiss; TV: “Partner Track” - Netflix; “Banshee” - Cinemax; “Blue Bloods” - CBS); Derek Smith (Broadway: The Green Bird - Tony nomination, Timon of Athens, Jackie, Getting and Spending, Ring Round The Moon, The Lion King; Off-Bway: Sylvia, The Green Bird - Obie Award, King John - Derwent Award, Red Bull Theater: The Government Inspector, Tis Pity She's A Whore, Dance of Death, The Witch of Edmonton -Calloway  Award, School for Scandal);  John Douglas Thompson as Antony (RBT: Women Beware Women; Tony Award nomination - Jitney; two Drama Desk Awards, two Obie Awards, Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award); and more to be announced

PLEASE NOTE: Nicole Ari Parker replaces the previously announced Audra McDonald, who withdrew due to a scheduling conflict.

To purchase tickets, go to

In  this classic Jacobean tragedy of love and duty, Cleopatra the Egyptian Queen, and the Roman general Marc Antony scandalize Egypt and Rome alike through their passionate love affair, setting off a chain of broken alliances, jealous rages and civil war that reverberate through the known world in one of Shakespeare’s greatest historical love stories.

Revelation Readings offer the unique opportunity to hear rarely-produced classic plays, and brand new plays in conversation with the classics, performed by the finest actors in New York. This year’s slate of readings is sure to delight audiences all season long. 


“Antony and Cleopatra is one of only two Shakespeare plays to include a woman’s name in its title. This unusual framing identifies the play, like Romeo and Juliet, as a love tragedy, an intrinsically hybrid genre combining tragedy’s emphasis on a powerful man’s fall with comedy’s focus on the pleasure of surrendering to passion. It also signals a surprising balance of the sexes. Performed by apprentice boy actors, Shakespeare’s women typically have smaller roles than their male counterparts, but even with fewer lines, Cleopatra repeatedly interrupts and upstages Antony with demands, declarations, threats, and laments. Even more significantly, by outlasting and memorializing him, she claims the final word in shaping their story. Just as she refuses to be overshadowed by her famous lover, she similarly refuses to surrender to Rome’s imperial power. In the play’s contest between empire against love, Cleopatra might lose the battle, but she wins the war: Rome ultimately defeats Egypt, but Antony, as well as dignity, remains hers. The play’s Roman characters repeatedly express bewilderment at Cleopatra’s power over their storied hero: who is she, to ensnare Antony?,” said Tanya Pollard, Professor of English, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.  To learn more, visit 

ABOUT Arin Arbus

Arin Arbus is a director. 2023 productions include Waiting For Godot with Michael Shannon and Paul Sparks and Denis Johnson’s Des Moines at Theatre for a New Audience and Abe Koogler’s Deep Blue Sound for Clubbed Thumb. In 2019, she made her Broadway debut directing Terrence McNally’s Frankie And Johnny in the Clair De Lune (Tony nomination for Best Revival) starring six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and two-time Oscar nominee, Michael Shannon. For a decade Arbus served as associate artistic director at TFANA — an off-broadway company whose mission is to develop and vitalize the performance of Shakespeare and other great dramatic works.  At TFANA she directed productions of Othello, Measure For Measure, Macbeth, The Taming Of The Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, The Winter's Tale, The Merchant of Venice with John Douglas Thompson as Shylock (also at The Shakespeare Theater of DC), Wilder’s The Skin Of Our Teeth (Obie Award), and repertory productions of Strindberg’s The Father and Ibsen’s A Doll's House. For Houston Grand Opera she has directed Britten’s Rape of Lucretia and La Traviata, which she also directed at The Chicago Lyric Opera and Canadian Opera Company (8 Dora nominations). Arbus spent several years making theatre with prisoners at a medium security prison in upstate New York in association with Rehabilitation Through the Arts. In 2018, she directed an Arabic adaptation of The Tempest, performed by refugees in a camp in Greece for Campfire Project. She has directed productions and taught courses at The Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, NYU Grad Acting, Columbia University, Fordham, The New School and Brooklyn College. She was a Drama League Directing Fellow, a Princess Grace Award Recipient, a Samuel H. Scripps Award Recipient, and a member of Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab.


The Acting Company develops actors by touring professional theater across America. Founded in 1972 by John Houseman and Margot Harley with the first graduating class of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, The Company has launched the careers of some 400 actors, including Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Mary Lou Rosato, Keith David, Rainn Wilson, Lorraine Toussaint, Frances Conroy, Harriet Harris, Lisa Banes, Jeffrey Wright, Hamish Linklater, Jesse L. Martin, Roslyn Ruff, Jimonn Cole, Kelley Curran, among many others, while bringing sophisticated theater to hundreds of communities from coast to coast. Among many accolades, The Acting Company won the 2003 Tony Award for Excellence in the Theater, and recently won the 2019 Audelco Award for Best Play for its production of Nambi E. Kelley’s Native Son directed by Seret Scott.The Acting Company has been seen by over 4 million people in 48 States, 10 foreign countries, on and Off-Broadway, and at leading resident theaters including the Guthrie, the Kennedy Center and New York City Center. New works commissioned by The Acting Company include plays William Finn, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, John Guare, Beth Henley, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, Meg Miroshnik, Ntozake Shange, Maria Irene Fornés, Spalding Gray, Marsha Norman, Charles Smith, Samm-Art Williams, and Wendy Wasserstein among other notable playwrights. The Company's education programs bring professional productions, in-school residencies, and teacher training workshops to thousands of students in underserved schools and disadvantaged communities each year.