New Perspectives Theatre Co Presents HAMLET 5/13-22 at Shetler Studios' Theatre 54

By: Apr. 19, 2010
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New Perspectives Theatre Company's (Melody Brooks, Artistic Director) production of Hamlet places one of William Shakespeare's "problem plays" at the nexus of the Book of Revelation and Sarah Palin's "real" America. Directed by Melody Brooks from the First Folio version of the play, performances of Hamlet will run May 13 through 22, 2010 at Shetler Studios' Theatre 54 (244 West 54th St., 12th Floor).

From the current Tea Party protests to the fight over healthcare to continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the 2012 Doomsday prophesies, the United States' current turmoil echoes the volatile time in which Hamlet was written. Author Linda Kay Hoff suggests that in the 16th century, after century-long religious wars, The Book of Revelation was at the forefront of every English person's mind. She argues quite persuasively that Hamlet's structure is based on the Book of Revelation.

Inspired by Ms. Hoff's scholarship, New Perspectives Theatre Company (NPTC) offers a unique and daring vision of Hamlet; one that fuses the Biblical allegory with the preachings of modern demagogues in a blend of live action and video imagery. In NPTC's version, the Prince of Denmark is viewed as a symbol of the right wing while Claudius and Gertrude represent modern liberals, who constantly kowtow to the right wing's demands. On the horizon is Fortinbras, a stand-in for the militia movement that is sweeping part of the country.

The production stars NAACP Image Award nominee Terrell Tilford (One Life to Live) as Laertes. Joining Tilford in the cast are Bill Blechingberg (Claudius), Bernardo Cubria (Hamlet), Jenny Greeman (Ophelia), C. Amanda Maud (Gertrude), Rafael Jordan (Horatio), Kim Sullivan (Polonius), James Edward Becton, Amanda Johnson, Mikaela Lynn Johnson, StEve Lynn, Ray Rodriguez and Kerry Watterson. The production team includes Meganne George (production designer), David L. Schulder (sound and video designer) and Ray Rodriguez (fight choreography).

Performances of Hamlet run Thursday, May 13 to Saturday, May 22, 2010 with the schedule of Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday May 16 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $18/$15 for students and seniors with ID at or (212) 352-3101.

NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY is an award-winning, multi-racial company performing in the Broadway Theatre District and in communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The Company's mission is to develop and produce new plays and playwrights, especially women and people of color, to present classic plays in a style that addresses contemporary issues, and to extend the benefits of theatre to young people and communities in need. Our aim is not to exclude, but to cast a wider net. Now in its 18th season, notable NPTC productions have included Richard III, starring Austin Pendleton; Exhibit #9 by Tracy Wilson (1999Audelco Award); Jihad by Ann Chamberlain (1996 OOBR Award for Best Production); The Taming of the Shrew (2002 OOBR Award for Best Production), Admissions by Tony Velella (10 Best Plays of 1995, Backstage); the U.S. premiere of Visit by world-renowned Argentinean playwright Ricardo Monti; and the New York Premieres of Vaclav Havel's The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, The Shaneequa Chronicles, written and performed by 2001 OBIE Award-winner Stephanie Berry (produced with Blackberry Productions), and Lemon Meringue Façade by Ted Lange, along with several innovative Shakespeare productions.

MELODY BROOKS (Director/Dramaturge) has directed many of NPT'Cs innovative classic productions. With Vebeke Lunn Fazakerley of Primary Sauces in London, she created a unique production of Macbeth in 1997 that included an authentic medieval banquet as a central part of the action. The production was performed at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine as well as at NPTC. A second production of Macbeth was performed at Washington Square United Methodist Church in 2002. She has also directed the NPTC productions of Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Miss Julie, and the NY Premiere of Vaclev Havel's The Increased Diffifulty of Concentration. In addition, she served as dramaturge and co-director on NPTC's OOBR award-winning production of The Taming of the Shrew. Ms. Brooks has also developed and directed a number original scripts with the company, notably Exhibit #9 by Tracey Scott Wilson, a satire on the African American Experience (AUDELCO Award); Jihad by Ann Chamberlin, a mystical examination of the influence of gender and religion in war (OOBR Award); and Anatomy of a Love Affair by Deirdre Hollman, an intense look at an interracial relationship ending afer eight years (optioned by Essence Entertainment). Other developmental directing credits for NPTC include Everyday Somewhere Here: Letters From Palestine and Israel, a multi-media piece created in collaboration with Benji Rgoers and based on his travels to the region which premiered as a work-in-progress in January '08 and Finding Home by Keline Adams, starring Marcella Lowery, which was presented as a work-in-progress in NPTC's Voices From The Edge Festival in October 2007. Ms. Brooks also created and directs NPTC's Shakespeare Made Simple Program, which offers performance, training and staff development activites to schools in the Tri-State area. This year she is delighted to be helping The School for Classics, a brand new high school in East New York with a classical theatre-centered curriculum get up and running. Ms. Brooks is also supervising a new and fruitful partnership with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Project Classics, an afterschool drama program for children living in public housing in Harlem.

Terrell Tilford (Laertes) recently received his first NAACP Image nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for his role on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live". At the time of his casting, he was also reprising his role of "Flip" in the Matrix Theatre Company production of Stick Fly which he'd performed for the L.A. Theatre Works radio broadcast at the Skirball Cultural Center. Five weeks into taping for OLTL, he returned to Los Angeles for the play's final four sold-out performances. Terrell along with his other castmates were recently presented with the LA Drama Critics Award, the Garland Awards and the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Ensemble Performance. Select Theatre credits: Yellowman (original workshop production) at the McCarter Theatre; The Memorandum at The Guthrie (invited artist-in-residence experience); The Exonerated (original cast and LA Ovation Award nomination for Best Ensemble Performance) at Tim Robbins' The Actors' Gang; Malcolm X in El-Hajj Malik: Malcolm X at the National Black Arts Festival; Miss Julie at HERE (NY). A classically-trained actor, fine-art gallery director and curator, Terrell received his MFA from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts and his BA from the University of California, Berkeley. In New York, Terrell is represented by Harden-Curtis Associates.


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