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Jason Butler Harner, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Robert Cuccioli & More to Star in PARADISE LOST Presented by Red Bull Theater

John Milton’s epic poem explores the fundamental questions of the human experience: What is evil?

Jason Butler Harner, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Robert Cuccioli & More to Star in PARADISE LOST Presented by Red Bull Theater

Today, Red Bull Theater announced the first public presentation of a new dramatization of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, adapted and directed by Michael Barakiva. Presented in two parts, this event will feature Jason Butler Harner (Broadway: Bernhardt/Hamlet, The Crucible, The Coast of Utopia; Cock - The Duke; Drama Desk nominations for The Village Bike and The Paris Letter) as Satan and Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Ruined - Manhattan Theatre Club: Obie and Lortel Awards; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League nominations; Motherhood Out Loud - Primary Stages, A Streetcar Named Desire - NY Theatre Workshop; Broadway: Well) as God, along with Stephen Bel Davies (The Honest Whore for Red Bull Theater), Sheldon Best (The Hot Wing King - Signature Theatre; Sugar in Our Wounds - Manhattan Theatre Club; brownsville song (b-side for tray) - LCT3; The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner - Atlantic Theater), Gisela Chípe (Quixote Nuevo - Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, Alley Theatre; Emancipation - Classical Theatre of Harlem), Robert Cuccioli (Broadway: Jekyll & Hyde - Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards; Les Miserables; Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark; Off-Broadway: The White Devil for Red Bull Theatre; Caesar & Cleopatra - Gingold Group), Carol Halstead (C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce - Theatre Row; The Screwtape Letters - National Tour), Gregory Linington (Bernhardt/Hamlet, The Winter's Tale, Blind Date - Goodman Theatre; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Ford's Theatre; The Little Foxes - Arena Stage), Daniel José Molina (Broadway: Fish in the Dark; Othello, Love's Labour's Lost, Henry V, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Water by the Spoonful, A Streetcar Named Desire - Oregon Shakespeare), Sam Morales (Medea - BAM, Measure for Measure, The Skin of Our Teeth, Pericles - TFANA), Howard Overshown (Broadway: A Soldier's Play - Roundabout, Saint Joan - Manhattan Theatre Club, A Free Man of Color - Lincoln Center Theater, Julius Caesar; Outer Critics Circle nomination: Yellowman - Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf, McCarter, Wilma, ACT), and Cherie Corinne Rice (The Woman Hater, The White Devil - Red Bull Theater).

With its exquisite language and Shakespearean scale, John Milton's epic poem explores the fundamental questions of the human experience: What is evil? If God is all-powerful, why did he allow evil to exist? Do humans have free will? Is our life predestined? Dubbed "an immorality play" by adapter/director Michael Barakiva, this new adaptation will be presented in two parts:

The Fall of Lucifer will premiere LIVE on Monday, April 12th. A recording of that livestream will be available until 7PM EST on Friday, April 16th - then it disappears.

Part 2, Eve and Adam will premiere LIVE on Monday, April 26th. A recording of that livestream will be available until 7PM EST on Friday, April 30th - then it disappears as well.

This two-part event is a benefit for Red Bull Theater. Tickets are Pay What You Can. Advance reservations are recommended. Reserve for April 12th and you will be registered for both events.

"John Milton -- by any measure one of the most extraordinary writers of all time -- is not known for his plays! However, he was clearly a great admirer of Shakespeare: penning the poem "On Shakespeare," as well as apparently making copious notes in his own copy of Shakespeare's Folio (recently rediscovered). At Red Bull, we last presented Milton on stage in a well-received Revelation Reading of Samson Agonistes. Director and adapter Michael Barakiva has had a decade-long relationship with Milton's greatest work, Paradise Lost, and when he proposed creating a new stage version for our reading series, I was thrilled for Red Bull to be able to support the development of the work and share it with our artists and audiences. Any chance you have to hear great actors bring Milton's words and characters to life is a rare treat. Audiences who love Milton or Shakespeare will be enthralled with this special two-part event," said Artistic Director Berger.

LIVE DISCUSSION

On Thursday April 29th at 7:30 PM EDT, there will be a free Bull Session: an interactive discussion with director/adaptor Michael Barakiva, scholar Kathleen Dimmick and members of the company.

ABOUT THE POEM

David Scott Kastan of Yale University writes "Paradise Lost is a great poem-to my mind the greatest written in English, or possibly in any other language. In 1667, as the poem was still being printed in London, it was said that Sir John Denham, a member of Parliament and himself a fine poet, walked into the House of Commons waving a sheet from Paradise Lost, "still wet from the press." This, he excitedly proclaimed, was "part of the noblest poem that was ever wrote in any language or in any age." Certainly it is the most ambitious. Milton writes an epic -- the genre, as he says, "of highest hope and hardest attempting"-or, rather, he rewrites the epic, undermining its deepest logic and claiming the form as his own. Milton writes about God and about Satan, about Heaven and Hell, about the beginning of creation and about the end of time; and of course, he writes about warfare, but also about love, sex, food, music, prayer, anger, sadness, appetite, ambition, temptation, free will, and even farts. That is, he writes about almost everything that makes us human, created in the image of God but fallen, potentially noble but often falling (as one might say) so very short of that perfection. But the poem's "great argument," as Milton says, is nothing less than to "justify the ways of God to men." Suffering, death, inequality, and injustice are all too evident in the world to be accepted as the just results of the Fall. Certainly, Milton felt them powerfully and personally. If God is the creator of all things, how does He escape responsibility for the evil one sees around us? If God is good, where does evil come from? Evil in the poem, as so often in the world, seems every bit as real as good does. How could a God who was perfectly good allow the suffering and misery that is all around us? Why is it that evil here, and so often in the poem, seems to succeed only through the cooperation of God's "permissive will"? These are just some of the unsettling questions Milton asks, and that he makes us ask-and which do seem to demand that someone "justify the ways of God to men." Does Milton successfully do it? Well, readers of Paradise Lost must decide that for themselves. But whether he does or does not, he succeeds in making us feel the urgency of the questions he poses. He ensures that we are somewhat better prepared for our "wandering" by the very act of reading his great poem."

For more information visit www.redbulltheater.com.


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