The Anybody But Shakespeare Classics Festival Continues Thru 6/6

While William Shakespeare may be one of the greatest playwrights of all time, a theatrical diet of nothing but his works can be too much of a good thing. (re:) Directions Theatre Company remedies this by putting the Bard's oft-overlooked contemporaries front and center during The Anybody but Shakespeare Classics Festival, began May 20th at the 14th Street Theatre, located at 344 East 14th Street, and running through June 6th.

"We wanted to feature works from approximately 1500-1700 A.D. that were not created by the Immortal Bard," explained Tom Berger, artistic director at (re:) Directions Theatre. "We're big Shakespeare nerds, don't get me wrong, but we wanted to put the focus on pieces from that era that are not done all that often."

"We're really just trying to have fun with this," added Erin Smiley, producing director for the company. "There are a lot of theater festivals out there, and with Anybody but Shakespeare, we're jumping into that really deep pool and hoping we come up a winner."

The Anybody but Shakespeare Classics Festival lineup is as follows:

Epicene or The Silent Woman
Written by Ben Jonson
Directed by Tom Berger
Assistant Director: Patrice Miller
Running Time: Two Hours, 30 Minutes

Featuring: Caitlin McColl* Gina Marie Jameison, Jonathan Cantor*, Michael-Alan Read, Robert Gonzales Jr., Victoria Miller, Christopher Norwood*, Lucy Gillespie, Michael Kirby*. Josh Odess-Rubin*, Sarah Knittel, Kathryn Elisabeth Lawson

*- denotes a member of Actors' Equity

Combining cross-dressing comedy and a morality tale, and first produced in 1608, Epicene illustrates the danger of getting what you wish for. Morose, a very wealthy citizen of London, has little use for people. Especially Dauphine, his nephew and sole heir. When introduced to the quiet and demure Epicene, Morose greedily becomes determined to marry her, but he soon finds the best intentions can quickly go off the rails. A biting satire on greed, snobbery, and the rampant existence of hypocrisy in society - on every level.

Show times for Epicene are as follows:

Saturday, May 22nd at 8pm
Tuesday, May 25th at 8pm
Thursday, May 27th at 8pm
Friday, May 28th at 8pm
Saturday, May 29th at 3pm
Wednesday, June 2nd at 8pm
Thursday, May 3rd at 8pm
Sunday, June 6th at 2pm

Dido, Queen of Carthage
(Fully produced stage reading)
Written by Christopher Marlowe
Adapted by Jason Williamson
Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar
Associate Director: Michael Finkle
Literary Director/Associate Producer: Greg VanHorn
Presented by Exit, Pursued by Bear

Featuring: Dan Amboyer*, Nic Cory*, Jordan Dean*, Rich Dreher*, Nick Lehane*, Jeffrey Omura*, Billy Porter* Liam Rhodes*, Larry Powell*, David Winters

Arranged marriages don't always work out as planned, especially when the Gods decide to get involved, as shown in Christopher Marlowe's classic tragedy set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. When a Trojan fleet is shipwrecked on the Carpathian coast, Aeneas, mortal son of Venus, falls in love with Queen Dido, with a little help from Venus's son Cupid. But Dido's previous suitor Iarbus is not ready to go quietly into that good night and plots revenge. Torn between duty, desire and the wrath of some very vengeful immortals, Aeneas must make a choice where the stakes are no higher than life or death itself. Presented by an all-male cast, as it was done in Marlowe's day, the production stars Billy Porter (Broadway companies of Miss Saigon, Grease, Smokey Joe's Café and Five Guys Named Moe) in the titular role.

Show times for Dido, Queen of Carthage are as follows:

Thursday, May 20th at 8pm
Thursday, May 27th at 5pm
Friday, May 28th at 5pm
Tuesday, June 1st at 8pm

The Hugo Wolf/Goethe Project
Directed by Erin Smiley
Music Directed by Josephine Riggs

Featuring: Tytus Abrahamson, Elspeth Davis, Mary Evans, Stephen Lavonier

Selections from the song cycle (a.k.a. the Goethe Lieder), featuring music by Austrian composer Hugo Wolf, based on the texts of German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe set to a new story about two couples, bound together by their nomadic professions and love for each other, as they all reach critical points in their relationships.

Show times for the Hugo Wolf/Goethe Project are as follows:
Monday, May 24th at 8pm
Wednesday, May 26th at 8pm
Saturday, May 29th at 8pm

Cogito, Ergo Sum and Cooking with Mrs. Mary Eales's Receipts
Based on the work of Rene Descartes & Cookbook Author, Mrs. Mary Eales
Written and Directed by Ryan Emmons
Puppets by Jen Neads
Produced by No. 11 Productions.

Featuring Jackie Byrne, Julie Congress, Roger Mulligan and Sam Parrott

Experimental theatre set in the 17th Century meets cooking show. Movement, music, dance, Descartes, thought and ice cream create a sundae of discovery. Join us as we whimsically celebrate what it means to be human and how delicious life can be.

Cogito, Ergo Sum... will be performed on Friday, May 21st at 8pm

Early American Reading Series (Sunday, May 30th)

Although they pretty much fall outside the scope set for the Festival, in honor of Memorial Day and in an effort to shed some light on some important plays of the early American stage, the Festival has created this series to showcases works by various American authors. The Early American Reading Series' full program will be announced shortly.

King Stag
Written by Carlo Gozzi
Directed by Edward Einhorn
Presented by Untitled Theater Company #61

A king. A magic spell. Marriage. A talking stag. A scheming courtier. Transformation. A smiling statue. A broken heart. Pantalone, Tartaglia, Smeraldina and Truffaldino. What else could it be but commedia del'arte--and not just any commedia, but the fantastical imaginations of Italian master Carlo Gozzi. Director Edward Einhorn presents a staged reading exploring love and comedy in its many forms. More information on Untitled Theatre Company #61 can be found at www.untitledtheater.com/UTC61/Home.html

King Stag will be performed on Sunday, May 23rd at 7pm
Founded in August 2006 (re:) Directions Theatre Company seeks to challenge and entertain audiences of all backgrounds by presenting established texts in new and innovative ways, as well as developing and promoting new works for the stage by aspiring artists. Their projects are all selected to meet one of the definitions that their name implies - either a re-imagining of an established work or a new work that stands out from the crowd as uniquely different from the norm.

The Anybody but Shakespeare Classics Festival will be performed at the 14th Street Theatre, located at 344 East 14th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues). Tickets for Epicene, Cogito and Wolf/Goethe are $18.00, tickets for Dido are $10 and reservations can be made at 212-868-4444 or www.smarttix.com. The Early American Plays and King Stag will not be available for presale and will be a $5 suggested donation at the door.

For more information and the most up-to-date Festival lineup, go to: http://www.redirectionstheatre.com/abslineup.html



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