Red Bull Theater Presents Reading of Amy Freed's SHREW!
Red Bull Theater today announced the cast for the next REVELATION READING, Amy Freed's Shrew!, directed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, would include: Arnie Burton, Andrea Cirie, Carson Elrod, Mel Johnson Jr., John Pankow, Reg Rogers, Danny Scheie, Susannah Rogers, and more to be announced. This will take place on Monday May 13th at 7:30pm at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets).
The story hasn't changed, but context-and a few carefully placed middle fingers-are everything. A wealthy merchant in Padua has two daughters, and while suitors are lining up for the hand of pretty young thing Bianca, no one can put a ring on it until her hell-raising elder sister Kate has been wed-and no one dares that until Petruchio rides into town and meets his match. Amy Freed, who had her way with the Bard with her earlier work The Beard of Avon, has found a way for us to enjoy one of Shakespeare's most politically problematic plays, and in the playwright's own words, "still respect ourselves in the morning," (LA Times).
"Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew occupies a peculiar place in the English speaking theater. It's a terrible play, but with an appealing premise. As a result, it keeps getting performed and audiences keep rooting for it, hoping it will be better this time . . . and booing Kate on her final speech. Directors and producers keep trying to figure out ways to rearrange the deckchairs on Ye Olde Titanic by flipping genders, casting it in a speakeasy, or in a harem, etc., as if, by changing the externals, the play's unsavory essence can somehow be transformed. It can't. So, I decided to see if I could re-conceive the play altogether. My intention was to write my own version of The Taming of the Shrew as if it were 1590 and I had been brought in to fix everything that didn't work in the Shakespeare original. It so happened that I approached this project just as America was experiencing an unparalleled inflection point with regard to sex, power and gender. I, too, struggle with my anger and don't know how we will repair ourselves. My desire for this play was to see this moment of stress, revelation and contention all the way through to the other side. When you strip away the original play's sexism and its hoary phobic comedy about women and their wildness, the appeal of The Taming of the Shrew has always been its suggestion that there is a place outside of society, a place internal to the spirit, where the binary and violent projections of the world give way; and that love can make people into their best and most realized selves. But the end of Shakespeare's play depicted, instead, the restoration of some imposed harmony through the breaking of a strong and vibrant spirit. It was important to me, in this Shrew!, not to repeat Shakespeare's central error through a coarse role reversal, or an implied brutal parity. It was important, rather, to fulfill the story's true promise and point the way to something better," said Amy Freed.
Amy Freed is the author of The Monster Builder, Shrew!, Restoration Comedy, The Beard of Avon, Freedomland, Safe in Hell, The Psychic Life of Savages, You, Nero and other plays. She is a past recipient of the Charles McArthur Playwriting Award (DC), The New York Arts Club Joseph Kesserling Award, a several-times winner of the LA Critic's Circle Award, and a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Her work has been produced at South Coast Repertory Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Seattle Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Yale Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Rep, the Goodman, Playwright's Horizons, Woolly Mammoth, Arena Stage, and other theaters around the country. She is currently Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University.
Red Bull Theater continues its OBIE Award-winning Revelation Reading Series, providing the unique opportunity to hear rarely produced classic plays performed by the finest actors in New York.
Red Bull Theater, hailed as "the city's gutsiest classical theater" by Time Out New York, brings rarely seen classic plays to dynamic new life for contemporary audiences, uniting a respect for tradition with a modern sensibility. Named for the rowdy Jacobean playhouse that illegally performed plays in England during the years of Puritan rule, Red Bull Theater is New York City's home for dynamic performances of great plays that stand the test of time. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as its cornerstone, the company also produces new works that are in conversation with the classics. A home for artists, scholars and students, Red Bull Theater delights and engages the intellect and imagination of audiences, and strives to make its work accessible, diverse, and welcoming to all. Red Bull Theater believes in the power of great classic stories and plays of heightened language to deepen our understanding of the human condition, in the special ability of live theater to create unique, collective experiences, and the timeless capacity of classical theater to illuminate the events of our times. Variety agreed, hailing Red Bull's work as: "Proof that classical theater can still be surprising after hundreds of years."
Since its debut in 2003 with a production of Shakespeare's Pericles starring Daniel Breaker, Red Bull Theater has served adventurous theatergoers with Off-Broadway Productions, Revelation Readings, and the annual Short New Play Festival. The company also offers outreach programs including Shakespeare in Schools bringing professional actors and teaching artists into public school classrooms; Bull Sessions, free post-play discussions with top scholars; and Master Classes in classical acting led by veteran theater professionals.
Acclaimed as "a dynamic producer of classic plays" by The New York Times and "the most exciting classical theater in New York" by Time Out NY, Red Bull Theater has produced 17 Off-Broadway productions and over 150 Revelation Readings of rarely seen classics, serving a community of more than 5,000 artists and providing quality artistic programming to an audience of over 65,000. The company's unique programming has received ongoing critical acclaim, and has been recognized with Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Off Broadway Alliance, and OBIE nominations and Awards.
Red Bull Theater's mainstage production of Mac Beth begins May 7th at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street between Bleecker & Hudson Streets). Tickets are on sale now.
For tickets and more information about Revelation Readings, or any of Red Bull Theater's productions and programs, visit www.redbulltheater.com.