Kansas City Actors Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Staff for Shakespeare's KING LEAR

Kansas City Actors Theatre has completed casting and started rehearsals for William Shakespeare's "King Lear," a co-production with the UMKC Theatre Department. This is the third show of Kansas City Actors Theatre's thirteenth season, which will run from October 13th to the 22nd in the Spencer Theater on UMKC's campus. The production is being directed by Ryan Artzberger and will feature Theodore Swetz, Mark Robbins, Logan Black, Peggy Friesen, Heather Michele Lawler, Amy Billroth-MacLurg, Chelsea Kinser, Ken Sandberg, Duncan McIntyre, Jason Francescon, Freddy Acevedo, Charlie Spillers, Khalif Gillett, Jay Love, Joshua Woodall, and Jack Kneessy. The production will also feature the artistic efforts of Mark Exline (scenic designer), Caroline Allander, (costume designer), Shannon Barondeau (lighting designer), and Zach Pierson (composer).

Kansas City Actors Theatre and UMKC Theatre deliver a new take on Shakespeare's "King Lear," a tale of tragic hubris, sibling rivalry, and heated passions. Featuring both professional Kansas City artists and up-and-coming students from the UMKC Theatre program, both KCAT and UMKC Theatre are excited to present one of the Bard's finest works.

The production is a culmination for actor and UMKC Theatre faculty member Theodore Swetz, who plays the titular role. Having performed in other roles in previous productions of King Lear, this is his first time playing the beleaguered king. "Nothing challenges you more than playing Lear," says Swetz. "From the very first scene he is assaulted with what he understands to be a betrayal and a furious dissension into madness begins. The journey is breathtaking and I am humbled, a bit scared, and thrilled to take on the challenge."

Director Ryan Artzberger has been especially excited to step in to the production and make use of both his extensive experience with Shakespeare and his background in education. "It's a great experience to be able to help actors who are still learning peel away what they think they're supposed to do and get to the truth of the character," says Artzberger of working with the cast.

Performances will take place at The Spencer Theatre on the University of Missouri - Kansas City campus. Previews start October 13th, opening night will be October 18th and performances will conclude on October 22nd. Audience talk-backs will follow performances on October 15th and 21st.

Tickets are between $15 and $40 and are available by contacting the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or online at www.kcactors.org.

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