30th Anniversary Artistic Year Begins At Blackfriars Playhouse
The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) began its 30th Anniversary Artistic Year with the launch of the 2018 Summer/Fall Season and a performance of As You Like It on June 13. The 2018 Summer/Fall Season will also feature a world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma by Emma Whipday, Richard III, and George Etherege's The Man of Mode.
In an effort to increase accessibility to its productions, the American Shakespeare Center has instituted several new ticket offerings for the new Artistic Year. All order fees have been eliminated, prices have dropped significantly for youth (age 7-18), and college students can now purchase $20 tickets online for any performance. The military discount has increased to 20% and primary and secondary school teachers can now purchase up to two tickets at a 50% discount.
The 30th Anniversary opened with Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by ASC co-founder and director of mission Ralph Alan Cohen. Rosalind (Allie Babich), Celia (Shunté Lofton), and one of Shakespeare's funniest fools (Greg Brostrom) flee into the bewitching Forest of Arden where they ultimately discover life, love, joy, and freedom. ASC newcomer Brandon Carter plays the lovesick Orlando. Shakespeare's glorious and wise As You Like It reminds us of everything it is to be alive. Free pre-show lectures are on September 12 and October 25.
Opening alongside As You Like It is a world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma by Emma Whipday. The iconic story, reimagined for the Blackfriars Playhouse, follows Emma (Zoe Speas) as she uses her considerable (and misguided) talents to find partners for her less-fortunate friends. Though she declares she'll never marry, even she falls victim to the snares of love. "This production challenges us to look at our own flaws," says director Stephanie Holladay Earl. Free pre-show lectures are on September 19 and October 11.
Beginning July 6, Richard III brings the cataclysmic end of the Wars of the Roses to the Blackfriars Playhouse. Richard (Greg Brostrom) takes the audience into his confidence as he plots to kill everyone before him in line for the throne. Jenny Bennett (director of 2017's Henry IV, Part 3 and 2016's King Lear) returns to direct. Pay-what-you-will performances are on July 6 and 7. Free pre-show lectures are on September 13 and 26.
Finally, George Etherege's The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter rounds out the 2018 Summer/Fall repertory on August 22. The rake Dorimant (John Harrell) and a merry band of ladies and gents are up to no good. With disguises, tricks, and one fancy fop, this witty comedy of manners promises more than just polite laughter. "There is something delicious about the type of play that exists entirely in the language, whose sole focus is to provide an almost frenetic sense of joy," says director Christopher Marino. Pay-what-you-will previews are on August 22 and 24. Free pre-show lectures are on September 5 and 20.
The 2018 Summer/Fall Season features Allie Babich, Benjamin Reed, Brandon Carter, Briana Gibson Reeves, Chris Johnston, David Anthony Lewis, Greg Brostrom, Jessika Williams, John Harrell, Meg Rodgers, Shunté Lofton, and Zoe Speas.
Best seats start at $57 for adults and can be purchased online at AmericanShakespeareCenter.com or by calling the box office at 1.877.MUCH.ADO.
Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, Harrisonburg, or Rockingham County can take advantage of $20 local rush tickets on Wednesdays, and Thursdays. College student rush tickets at $20 are available for all performances, 60 minutes before showtime with valid student ID. Groups of 10 or more who order together save $10 off regular ticket prices. Student, Teacher, Senior, Military, and AAA discounts are available.
The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining" and by The Boston Globe as "phenomenal...bursting with energy." Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.