Casting Announced For A LESSON FROM ALOES at Hartford Stage

Casting Announced For A LESSON FROM ALOES at Hartford StageHartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts today announced the cast and creative team for Athol Fugard's A Lesson from Aloes. Ariyon Bakare, Randall Newsome and Andrus Nichols will appear in the revered Fugard drama. The play will perform Thursday, May 17, through Sunday, June 10 - closing out Hartford Stage's 2017-18 season. Tresnjak will direct.

"In his powerful and lyrical plays, Athol Fugard captures how changing political landscapes strain marriages, friendships, and communities," Tresnjak said. "A Lesson from Aloes is one of the great plays of the last century."

Set in 1963, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, A Lesson from Aloes is a compelling portrait of three individuals caught in the midst of the nation's racial divide and the choices each one is forced to make. Considered by many to be a masterpiece, A Lesson from Aloes made its American debut at Yale Repertory Theatre in 1980. The play, starring James Earl Jones and directed by Fugard, transferred to Broadway later that year - receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Play in 1981. The New York Post called A Lesson from Aloes "immensely moving." The New York Times wrote, "Exile, madness, utter loneliness - these are the only alternatives Mr. Fugard's characters have. What makes 'Aloes' so moving is the playwright's insistence on the heroism and integrity of these harsh choices."

Athol Fugard has been hailed as "the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world" by Time Magazine. The South African playwright has won international praise for creating works of "power, glory, and majestic language." In more than 20 plays, written over six decades - including The Captain's Tiger, Valley Song, My Children! My Africa, The Island, "Master Harold" and the Boys, and the award-winning Sizwe Banzi is Dead - Fugard has chronicled the struggles of men and women of all races for dignity and human fulfillment.

Fugard is an Honorary Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature. In 2001, he received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. His novel Tsotsi was adapted into a film which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2006. Fugard also appeared as an actor in the feature films Gandhi and The Killing Fields. In 2014, he returned to the stage for the first time in 15 years to act in the world premiere of his play Shadow of the Hummingbird at the Long Wharf Theatre.

British actor Ariyon Bakare plays Steve in A Lesson from Aloes. Bakare is well-known to English audiences for his roles on the BBC miniseries A Respectable Trade and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, as well as the British daytime drama The Doctors. He most recently appeared in the films Life and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Bakare's theatre credits include his Ian Charleson-nominated performance in A Servant to Two Masters at the Young Vic, the U.K. premiere of Laurence Fishburne's Riff Raff at New Theatre Company, and the European premiere of Dream of the Dog in the West End. Next year, Bakare will appear in the six-part Amazon miniseries Good Omens, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet.

Veteran actor Randall Newsome will play Piet. Newsome has appeared on Broadway in An Enemy of the People (Manhattan Theatre Club) and A Touch of the Poet (Roundabout Theatre). His Off-Broadway appearances include The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (New York Theatre Workshop) and Carnival Kids (Lesser America). He has appeared in regional productions at the McCarter Theatre Center, Steppenwolf Theatre, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Newsome's film credits includes the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures and A Walk in the Woods with Robert Redford. He has a recurring role in the hit IFC horror comedy series Stan Against Evil and has appeared on Person of Interest, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, and House of Cards.

Andrus Nichols, co-founder of the Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway company Bedlam, will play Gladys. Nichols has appeared in Sense & Sensibility, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The Seagull and Saint Joan at Bedlam. Additional Off-Broadway and New York theatre credits include The Libertine at The Chernuchin, They Promised Her the Moon at Theatre at St. Clements, and Incognito at The Manhattan Theatre Club. Nichols appeared in regional productions of A View from the Bridge at The Goodman Theatre and Saint Joan and Hamlet at the McCarter Theatre Center. Her television and film credits include the new NBC series Rise, The Fiction, South Mountain, and Wash Song.

Director Darko Tresnjak's Hartford Stage credits include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical for Tresnjak); the new musical Anastasia, currently on Broadway; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Heartbreak House; The Comedy of Errors; Rear Window; Romeo & Juliet; and Hamlet. Other recent credits include The Killer (2014 Obie Award for Direction) at Theatre for a New Audience and The Ghosts of Versailles at LA Opera. Tresnjak will be making his debut this fall at The Metropolitan Opera, directing Samson et Dalila.

In addition to Tresnjak, the creative team is comprised of Set Designer Tim Mackabee (The Elephant Man, Broadway and the West End; Luce, Lincoln Theater Center); Costume Designer Blair Gulledge (Raging Skillet and The Wolves, TheaterWorks); Lighting Designer Matthew Richards (Heartbreak House, The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night, Hartford Stage); Sound Designer Jane Shaw (Seder, Heartbreak House and The Comedy of Errors, Hartford Stage) and Dialect Coach Ben Furey (A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas and Cloud 9 at Hartford Stage; national tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder).

Robyn M. Zalewski (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Heartbreak House and The Comedy of Errors at Hartford Stage) will serve as Production Stage Manager, with Nicole Wiegert (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hartford Stage; James and the Giant Peach and Big Fish at First Stage Milwaukee) as Assistant Stage Manager.

The Producer for A Lesson from Aloes is Sue Ann Collins.

The 2017-18 Season is also sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

Special Dates
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 17
Opening Night: 8 p.m., Friday, May 25
Closes: 2 p.m., Sunday, June 10

Tickets & Performances
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 7:30 p.m.-Fri, Sat at 8 p.m.-Sat, Sun at 2 p.m.
Wed matinee at 2 p.m. on May 30 only.
Weekly schedules vary. For details, visit www.hartfordstage.org.

Tickets for all shows start at $25. Student tickets: $18.

For group discounts (10 or more individuals), email groupsales@hartfordstage.org or call 860-520-7125.

For all other tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit www.hartfordstage.org.

Special Events

HPL @ Hartford Stage. Hartford Public Library and Hartford Stage invite you to dig deeper into the world of the plays onstage. Check out a book from the HPL @ Hartford Stage micro branch at Guest Services. Select books available at the theatre and at each Hartford branch library.

Pride & Plays, Wednesday, May 23. Free pre-show reception at 6 pm with complimentary light hors d'oeuvres, wine, soda and coffee (plus cash bar drink specials) for our LGBTQ patrons and allies. Use Promo Code LGBT25 to save 25% off seats for that evening's 7:30 p.m. performance.

Sunday Afternoon Discussion, May 27. Enjoy a discussion with artists and scholars connected with the production immediately following the 2 p.m. matinee. Free with admission.

AfterWords Discussion-Tuesday, May 29; Wednesday, May 30; and Tuesday, June 5. Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or the 2 p.m. Wednesday matinee.

Open Captioned Performances-Sunday, June 3, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss - free service with admission.

Audio Described Performance-Saturday, June 9, 2 p.m. For patrons who are blind or have low vision - free service with admission.



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