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Theatre Memphis to Present THE LION IN WINTER

The Lion in Winter by James Goldman reigns over the Lohrey Stage at Theatre Memphis January 22 - February 7, 2016. As historical fiction this modern classic pits Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (after a decade of imprisonment for her part in a rebellion) against her husband King Henry II of England, Eleanor arrives at court during a Christmas furlough and proceeds to scheme to challenge the King's authority and his choice of heir to the throne. The fray engulfs their three sons and French royalty who all lay claim to rule.

Director Irene Crist brings a unique perspective to her job having performed the role of Eleanor in the 2002 - 03 season on the same stage at Theatre Memphis opposite another long-time actor/director Tony Isbell. Crist says, "As an actor 15 or so years ago, I was naturally seeing the world of the play all from Eleanor's perspective. I have always found the language that Goldman gives these characters so rich and almost lyrical. Widening my scope, as I have to when directing, of course, I find the journeys of all the other characters equally fascinating and full."

The 2015 - 16 season production stars Christina Wellford Scott (most recently seen as Sister Aloysius in the TM Next Stage production of Doubt) as the vengeful Queen who plays opposite seasoned performer Chuck Hodges as King Henry II. Always visiting the play in as many ways as possible the role of Eleanor was so impactful that, according to Crist, " I was a bit concerned that I would lead Christina to play it the way that I did, but I explored it with her and with Chuck, they brought their own talents and intellect to the process and our Eleanors are quite different, I think. I love that kind of collaboration."

One of the ways Scott has to bring her own vision is to actually be working on stage with her own son, Jeff Posson, who is playing one of Eleanor's sons. This the first time the two have acted together even though their résumés are extensive. Scott, an accomplished and honored actress has performed many roles at TM and across the city and Posson, usually backstage with his talents, will be branching into the TM directing realm in April '16 to guide The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged).

Theatre Memphis Executive Producer Debbie Litch notes the "full circle of life" with the current production of The Lion in Winter. " I am always so proud to see the return of so many actors and directors to our stages," she says. "To see this experience to come back for us and our patrons with Irene's participation ... and with Christina and Jeff to have this opportunity ... just reinforces what a family Theatre Memphis is and has been."


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