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STAGE TUBE: The Bridge Project, In Conversation

Following a critically acclaimed inaugural year, theatre and Academy Award-winning film director Sam Mendes will again direct a transatlantic company of actors for the second season of The Bridge Project, a unique three-year series of co-productions by The Old Vic, BAM and Neal Street devoted to producing large-scale, classical theatre for international audiences.

The Bridge Project again begins its international journey in New York, with As You Like It opening at the BAM Harvey Theater in January 2010, followed by The Tempest in February 2010. It will then embark on an international tour visiting Asia and Europe before opening in London at The Old Vic in June 2010. Year two features the intriguing double-bill pairing of Shakespeare's witty pastoral comedy As You Like It and his late masterpiece The Tempest with another stellar British/American cast that includes Christian Camargo as Orlando and Ariel in As You Like It and The Tempest; Stephen Dillane as Jaques and Prospero; Ron Cephas Jones as Charles the Wrestler and Caliban; Alvin Epstein as Adam and Gonzalo; Juliet Rylance as Rosalind and Miranda; and Thomas Sadoski as Touchstone and Stephano; and Michelle Beck as Celia and Ceres.

Christian Camargo last appeared on Broadway in Simon McBurney's popular production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons and was acclaimed for his Hamlet at Theater for a New Audience. Stephen Dillane returns to the New York stage for the first time since winning a Tony Award for his performance in David Leveaux's production of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing. Obie Award-winner Ron Cephas Jones has appeared in New York in The LAByrinth Theater Company's production of Jesus Hopped the A-Train (which received its London premiere at the Donmar Warehouse under Mendes' artistic direction) and on Broadway in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. Alvin Epstein, one of the great classical actors of his generation, starred in the original Broadway production of Waiting for Godot as Lucky, opposite Bert Lahr and E.G. Marshall

Juliet Rylance played Desdemona in the much admired production of Othello at Theater for a New Audience and has also performed in productions at Shakespeare's Globe in London and The Chichester Festival Theatre. Thomas Sadoski's recent credits include Broadway's reasons to be pretty (Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nomination) and Reckless. Michelle Beck's credits include playing Viola in Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and the film Spinning Into Butter.

The complete acting company is as follows: Ashlie Atkinson (Phoebe/Juno), Jenni Barber (Audrey/Iris), Michelle Beck (Celia/Ceres), Edward Bennett (Oliver/Ferdinand)*, Christian Camargo (Orlando/Ariel), Stephen Dillane (Jaques/Prospero)*, Alvin Epstein (Adam/Gonzalo), Jonathan Fried (Le Beau/Alonso), Richard Hansell (Amiens/Sebastian)*, Ron Cephas Jones (Charles the Wrestler/ Caliban), Aaron Krohn (Silvius/Adrian), Anthony O'Donnell (Corin/Trinculo)*, Juliet Rylance (Rosalind/Miranda)*, Thomas Sadoski (Touchstone/Stephano), Michael Thomas (Dukes Frederick and Senior/Antonio)*, Ross Waiton (Boatswain, Francisco, First Lord)*
*indicates British member of company

The British cast members are appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association and the American cast members are appearing with the permission of UK Equity, incorporating Variety Artistes' Federation, pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity. The Producers gratefully acknowledge Actors' Equity Association and UK Equity for their assistance of these productions.

Commenting on the 2010 double-bill, director Sam Mendes said:
-Stephen Dillane and I began a conversation about his playing Prospero in The Tempest when I first conceived The Bridge Project back in 2007 and I'm delighted to be finally bringing those plans to fruition. I have followed, admired and hoped to collaborate with so many of the actors joining this year, adding to my excitement about forming The Bridge Project's second company, and building on the wonderful experience of our first year.
The Bridge Project is a major commitment for actors. It unfurls across nine months with two plays performed across major seasons in New York and London, interspersed with an international touring schedule that takes in Asia and many of Europe's finest cultural festivals. The first Bridge company was made extraordinarily welcome in the countries we've visited and I'm hugely looking forward to making a second such journey.?

Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director of The Old Vic, said:
-I could never have hoped for a richer and more challenging theatrical event as The Bridge Project: a glorious cast that brought to life my dream, with Sam Mendes and BAM, of a transatlantic company with international scope. I was delighted to welcome The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale this season and am so looking forward to year two with a new British/American company for The Tempest and As You Like It.?

Joseph V. Melillo, Executive Producer of BAM since 1999, is responsible for the organization's artistic direction and for maintaining its reputation for programming excellence and artistic innovation. He said:
-I am thrilled to continue the second year of this partnership with such a stellar cast and artistic team. Following The Bridge Project's critically acclaimed opening year, BAM is honored to welcome back Sam Mendes, who will once again direct a transatlantic company of actors. This year's cast will be led by some of the brightest luminaries of the current stage, including Stephen Dillane, Christian Camargo, and Juliet Rylance. I look forward with great anticipation to the interpretation and juxtaposition of two of Shakespeare's most beloved plays, As You Like It and The Tempest-each a masterpiece, yet wildly different from the other in tone and content. The Bridge Project represents a new model of producing, one that is trans-national at its very roots and a partnership only possible with The Old Vic, a theater so like BAM in spirit and initiative. It is gratifying that The Bridge Project has attracted the attention of the finest theaters around the globe, along with the invaluable support of Bank of America-without whose forward-thinking vision this project would not be possible.

Rena DeSisto, Global Arts & Culture executive of Bank of America, Presenting Sponsor of The Bridge Project, said:
-Bank of America couldn't be more delighted with the success and wonderful feedback received during the first year of our partnership with Sam Mendes, Kevin Spacey, and the Old Vic as well as BAM and Neal Street Productions. The Bridge Project is a truly exceptional opportunity to attract new audiences to the theatre on both sides of the Atlantic. Bank of America is proud to be a long-time sponsor of Brooklyn Academy Of Music and we believe The Bridge Project collaboration is a very unique way for us to reach our customers and communities in the United States and abroad as we grow our international presence.



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