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Keith David, Denis O'Hare, Tamara Tunie and More to Star in SEJANUS, HIS FALL Presented by Red Bull Theater

On Thursday May 20th at 7:30 PM EDT, there will be a free Bull Session: an interactive discussion with adaptor/director Nathan Winkelstein, and more.

Keith David, Denis O'Hare, Tamara Tunie and More to Star in SEJANUS, HIS FALL Presented by Red Bull Theater Keith David, Denis O'Hare, Tamara Tunie and More to Star in SEJANUS, HIS FALL Presented by Red Bull Theater

Today, Red Bull Theater announced the first public presentation of a new dramatization of Ben Jonson's Sejanus, His Fall, adapted and directed by Nathan Winkelstein, Red Bull's Associate Artistic Director.

First performed in 1603, the start of the Jacobean era, Ben Jonson's tragedy of epic proportions is an incisive portrayal of political cronyism, sycophancy, and power. Tiberius is the Emperor of Rome. Sejanus is his right-hand man. But-in a society where books are burnt, "knowledge is made a capital offense," and free men have become "the prey of greedy vultures and spies"-factions are forming behind each of these charismatic leaders. Jonson's linguistically rich play has startling significance today in its exploration of treason and totalitarian tyranny. Sejanus sets his sights on Emperorship. No one can stop him. His fall is inevitable.

Adapter and director Winkelstein explains, "Ben Jonson's Sejanus is perhaps best known for being Jonson's least known play. It was a colossal failure in its time and has received, to my knowledge, only two professional productions in the last 100 years in England, and no such full productions in America-ever. At its core, Jonson's play is a take down of corrupt governance in sublime language surpassed only by Shakespeare-who, incidentally, is believed to have appeared in the original production. That resonance remains today. Why then is it so rarely taken up by theatermakers? Well, in my opinion, it's intensely overwritten. My challenge has been to bring this resonance to the fore while eliminating the, apologies to Jonson, fluff. And over the course of the past four years, I've worked to craft a playing script that has constant forward momentum. I look forward to working with the crackerjack team to bring this adaptation to life."

"The plays of Ben Jonson are naturally central to all our work at Red Bull, and -- as we had to delay our in-person production of The Alchemist -- this spring we're excited to be presenting two plays by Ben Jonson live online -- one of his greatest comedies and one of his most infamous tragedies -- Volpone and Sejanus. Both plays have wonderful characters, terrific language, and exciting plots with surprising twists and turns -- in short, the best of the best of Jacobean theater -- all in Jonson's inimitable, sharp-witted style. With these remarkable casts, these performances are not to be missed!" says Berger.

Sejanus, His Fall will feature Shirine Babb (Broadway: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Macbeth; Timon of Athens - RSC/TFANA, The Crucible - Bedlam); Grantham Coleman (B'WAY: The Great Society - LCT; Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It - Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park; Choir Boy - MTC); Keith David (B'way: Hot Feet, Seven Guitars, Hedda Gabler, Jelly's Last Jam; A Midsummer Night's Dream, Titus Andronicus, The Pirates of Penzance, Othello - Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park); Manoel Felciano (B'WAY: To Kill a Mockingbird, Amélie, Sweeney Todd - Tony Award nomination, Brooklyn The Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cabaret; The Changeling - Red Bull Theater); Denis O'Hare (Tartuffe - National Theatre of Great Britain; B'WAY: Assassins - Tony Award nomination, Elling, Inherit the Wind, Sweet Charity, Take Me Out- Tony Award nomination, Major Barbara, Cabaret, Racing Demon; Into the Woods - Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park); Matthew Rauch (B'WAY: The Great Society, Junk, Prelude to a Kiss, The Merchant of Venice; The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale - Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park; Expats, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - The New Group; The Duchess of Malfi, Edward II, The Revenger's Tragedy - Red Bull Theater); Liv Rooth (B'WAY: To Kill a Mockingbird, Born Yesterday; Blood and Gifts - Lincoln Center Theater; Wife to James Whelan - Mint Theater; Women Beware Women - Red Bull Theater), Stephen Spinella (B'WAY: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Angels in America - 2 Tony Awards, A View from the Bridge, Spring Awakening, James Joyce's The Dead - Tony Award nomination, Electra, The Velocity of Autumn; The Government Inspector, Volpone, Coriolanus - Red Bull Theater); Emily Swallow (B'WAY: High Fidelity; Romantic Poetry - Manhattan Theatre Club, The Black Eyed - New York Theatre Workshop, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Pleasure - Public Theater); Raphael Nash Thompson (The Red Letter Plays: f-ing A - Signature Theatre; Heartbreak House - Gingold Theatrical; Pericles, The Merchant of Venice - TFANA; The Witch of Edmonton, Edward II, Volpone, Pericles - Red Bull Theater), Tamara Tunie (B'WAY: Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, Oh Kay! with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Troilus and Cressida - Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park; Familiar - Obie Award/Playwright's Horizons; Fences - Kennedy Center; "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" - 18 seasons); and James Udom (The Rolling Stone - LCT3, Mies Julie - CSC, Tamburlaine - TFANA).

This event is a benefit for Red Bull Theater. Tickets are Pay What You Can. Advance reservations are recommended. Sejanus His Fall will premiere LIVE on Monday, May 17th. A recording of that livestream will be available until 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, May 21 - then it disappears.


On Thursday May 20th at 7:30 PM EDT, there will be a free Bull Session: an interactive discussion with adaptor/director Nathan Winkelstein, scholar Henry S. Turner, and members of the company. Turner is a specialist in Renaissance literature, with a focus on theater and intellectual history, especially relations between literature and science, literature and political thought, and literature and philosophy. He is currently writing a book on ideas of experience and the "world" in Shakespeare and in American pragmatism with Jane Hwang Degenhardt (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). He edited Jonson's Poetaster for the forthcoming Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, ed. Jeremy Lopez.

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