Simon Godwin's MEASURE FOR MEASURE Finds Full Company at TFANA
Theatre for a New Audience has announced casting for British director Simon Godwin's new staging of Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare's dark comedy about justice, faith, power, sex, and family. The production, which marks Godwin's first time directing Shakespeare for an American company, runs June 17 - July 16 at Polonsky Shakespeare Center (262 Ashland Place) in the Brooklyn Cultural District.
Jonathan Cake (Benedick in TFANA's Much Ado About Nothing, Furkat in "The Affair"), Cara Ricketts (Imogen in Cymbeline at Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Ontario) and Thomas Jay Ryan (Thomas Putnam in The Crucible, directed by Ivo Van Hove, on Broadway) will play Vincentio, the Duke; Isabella; and Angelo, respectively.
Horowitz commented, "TFANA has previously presented Measure for Measure in 1996 with Bill Camp; 2006 with Mark Rylance; and 2010 with Jefferson Mays. As different as each of those productions were from each other, Simon's production will be from them. It is one of Shakespeare's most contemporary works. There is no definitive way to do this comedy. It must be reimagined every time."
Sarah Hemming of The Financial Times recently described Godwin as "one of [Great Britain's] foremost directors." The Guardian's Michael Billington called Godwin's gender-fluid Twelfth Night, starring Tamsin Grieg as Malvolia at the National earlier this year, "bright, inventive and boundlessly funny." In 2016 Godwin directed a landmark production of Hamlet for the RSC-set in West Africa and the first in the Company's 55-year history to feature a black actor in the title role-and in 2015 won wide acclaim for his production of George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman at the National, starring Ralph Fiennes as John Tanner.
"Measure for Measure," Mr. Godwin observed, "is a high-stakes conflict with urgency, clarity and narrative momentum-a diverse world in which incompatible values collide. It's perfectly suited for the Samuel H. Scripps main stage at Polonsky Shakespeare Center. The simplicity of the space brings out language and relationships on a human scale."
In addition to Cake, Ricketts, and Ryan, the cast includes Oberon K.A. Adjepong (TFANA's Pericles and Tamburlaine the Great, Party People at the Public) as Provost; Kenneth De Abrew (Guards at the Taj at Woolly Mammoth) as Froth, Messenger, Abhorson, Friar Peter and the 2nd Gentleman; Zachary Fine (TFANA's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Pearl's Vanity Fair) as Friar Thomas, Elbow, Barnardine and the 1st Gentleman; Leland Fowler (Seven Guitars and Familiar at Yale Rep.) as Claudio; Merritt Janson(TFANA's Tamburlaine the Great, Notes from Underground) as Mariana; January LaVoy (Funnyhouse of a Negro) as Mistress Overdone, Escala and Francisca; Christopher Michael McFarland (As You Like It, The Acting Company) as Pompey; Sam Morales (TFANA's Pericles and The Skin of Our Teeth) as Juliet; and Haynes Thigpen (TFANA's presentation of Soho Rep.'s An Octoroon) as Lucio.
Measure for Measure features scenic and costume design by frequent Godwin collaborator Paul Wills, lighting by Matthew Richards (TFANA's Tamburlaine the Great and The Killer), composition and sound design by Jane Shaw (TFANA's Tamburlaine the Great and The Killer), choreography by Brian Brooks (TFANA's Pericles and A Midsummer Night's Dream) and dramaturgy by Jonathan Kalb, TFANA's Resident Dramaturg. Megan Schwarz Dickert is production stage manager.
TFANA will present 32 performances of Measure for Measure: June 17-18, 20-25, 27-30, and July 1-3, 5-9, 11-16 at 7:30pm; June 24 at 7:00pm; and July 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 & 16 at 2:00pm. Critics are welcome June 23 at 7:30pm and June 24 at 7:00pm for an official opening June 25 at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $85-95 (with a limited number of premium seats available at $120 each) and are on sale now at www.tfana.org, 866-811-4111, and the Polonsky Shakespeare Center box office. New Deal tickets-for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age-are available for all performances for $20, and can be purchased online, by phone or at the box office, in advance or day-of, with valid ID(s) required at pickup.
Measure for Measure contains sexually explicit content which some may find inappropriate for those under 16 years of age.
Polonsky Shakespeare Center is located at 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217.
TFANA Talks, free post-show conversations with artists and scholars, will take place after the Saturday matinee performances on July 1 and July 8.
After the 7:30pm performance on Sunday, June 18, TFANA will host one of its popular Post-Show Parties. Every ticket purchased for that evening includes a drink ticket for use at the party.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Oberon K.A. Adjepong (Provost) previously appeared with Theatre for a New Audience in the 2016 production of Pericles and the 2014 production of Tamburlaine the Great. Other Off-Broadway and regional credits include Party People (Public Theater) 12 Angry Men (Billie Holiday); Like I Say, Cellophane (Flea); Mother Courage, The Blacks (Classic Stage, CTHNYC); Wabenzi (New Ohio); Hamlet Project (La MaMa); Sango (AUDELCO Nom./NBT);Civil War Christmas (Centerstage); Electric Baby (Two River); Good Goods (Yale Rep); Ruined (La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre/IRNE Award, Berkeley Rep); and Timon of Athens, Coriolanus (Shakespeare Theatre). Television and film credits include "Blacklist," "The Knick," "Louie," Tallulah, Freedom, Crazy Famous, and Colin Warner. Training includes BADA & Howard University.
Jonathan Cake (Vincentio, the Duke) previously appeared with Theatre for a New Audience in Much Ado About Nothing in 2013. Broadway credits include The Philanthropist, Cymbeline, and Medea. For the Royal Shakespeare Company he appeared in As You Like It, Tamburlaine the Great, Wallenstein, The Odyssey, Beggar's Opera, and Antony and Cleopatra. He also appeared in Coriolanus at Shakespeare's Globe. Film and television credits include "The Affair," "Doll & Em," "Desperate Housewives," Rebecca, and First Knight.
Kenneth De Abrew (Froth/Messenger/Abhorson/Friar Peter/2nd Gentleman) is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut. Regional credits include Guards at the Taj (Woolly Mammoth). Film and television credits include "Atlanta," "Orange Is the New Black," and This Is Where I Leave You.
Zachary Fine (Friar Thomas/Elbow/Barnardine/1st Gentleman) previously appeared with Theatre for a New Audience in Fiasco Theater's The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2015. Zachary also appeared in The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Folger Theater where he won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play. Other New York credits include Vanity Fair (Pearl Theatre); Manifest Destiny (IRT Theater); Julius Caesar (The Acting Company); The Seagull (New York Classical Theatre); A People (Terranova Collective); Walled In (IRT Theater); and Two Noble Kinsmen (Guerrilla Shakespeare Project). Television and film credits include "Person of Interest," Blackbox, Heartland, "One Life to Live," and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Leland Fowler (Claudio) is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut after completing an M.F.A. at Yale School of Drama. Yale Repertory Theatre credits include Seven Guitars and Familiar. Other regional credits include By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Moxie; and Songs to Grow On at ALLIANCE THEATRE.
Merritt Janson (Mariana) appeared in Theatre for a New Audience's 2014 production of Tamburlaine the Great and in Notes from Underground. Other New York credits include Coriolanus (Red Bull Theater), Robert Brustein's The Last Will (Abingdon Theatre), and Jonathan Franzen's House For Sale (Transport Group Theatre Company). Regional credits include Yale Repertory Theatre, Two River Theater, American Repertory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Shakespeare & Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Denver Center Theatre, Wilma Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and Vineyard Playhouse. Film and television credits include Otto and Anna, and Mail Order Wife.
January LaVoy (Mistress Overdone/Escala/Francisca) is making her Theatre for a New Audience debut. Broadway credits include Enron. Off Broadway credits include Funnyhouse of a Negro, Two Trains Running, and Home (Signature Theatre); Wings (Second Stage Theatre); Coraline (MCC Theatre), and Joy (Actors' Playhouse). Film and television credits include "Blue Bloods," "One Life to Live," and War of the Worlds.
Christopher Michael McFarland (Pompey) is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut. Off Broadway and Regional credits include Cymbeline (Yale Repertory Theatre); Othello (Pittsburgh Public Theater); Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill (Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA); As You Like It (The Acting Company); and Of Mice and Men (The Acting Company).
Sam Morales (Juliet) appeared earlier this season in Theatre for a New Audience's production of The Skin of Our Teeth and in last season's Pericles. Other New York credits include Halley Feiffer's It's Just Weird Now... Regional credits include Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Tavern, and The Comedy of Errors (Scranton Shakespeare Festival).
Cara Ricketts (Isabella) is making her Theatre for a New Audience debut. Cara Ricketts jumped onto the Toronto scene in Obsidian Theatre's Born Ready, to great acclaim. She spent several seasons at The Stratford Festival, and was nominated for the Dora Award for Outstanding Performance in her role in The Wild Party (The Acting Stage). Other credits include Constellations and Hedda Gabbler (Canadian Stage), Cyrano de Bergerac and Clybourne Park (Pacific Coast Rep Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun (Soulpepper), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Birdland), and Antigone: Insurgency (One Little Goat). Cara has been recently included in Now Magazine's top 10 artists of the year. ?
Thomas Jay Ryan (Angelo) is making his Theatre for a New Audience debut. Broadway credits include The Crucible (dir. Ivo Van Hove) and In The Next Room (or the vibrator play). Select Off-Broadway credits include A Month in the Country (Classic Stage Company), The Lady from Dubuque (Signature),and The Little Foxes (New York Theatre Workshop).
Haynes Thigpen (Lucio) previously appeared with Theatre for a New Audience in Soho Rep.'s An Octoroon. He recently performed on Broadway in Dead Accounts. Off Broadway credits include Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout), The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters (Playwrights Horizon) Misalliance (Roundabout), Duchess of Malfi and The Revengers Tragedy (Red Bull Theater). Television and film credits include "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "The Good Wife," and "Dance 'Til Dawn."
Simon Godwin (Director) is an Associate Director at the National Theatre, where he has directed Sunset at the Villa Thalia, The Beaux Stratagem, Man and Superman, and Strange Interlude. At the Royal Court, his work includes Routes, If You Don't Let Us Dream, We Won't Let You Sleep, NSFW, The Witness, Goodbye to All That, The Acid Test and Wanderlust. For Bristol Old Vic, The Little Mermaid, Krapp's Last Tape, A Kind of Alaska, Faith Healer and Far Away. For the RSC, he has directed Hamlet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. He has also directed Richard II for Shakespeare's Globe and a national tour of Pat Barker's acclaimed novel, Regeneration. For Roundabout Theatre Company in New York he directed The Cherry Orchard. Most recently he directed Occupational Hazards for Hampstead Theatre.
Paul Wills (Set and Costume Designer) has designed Hamlet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Richard II for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and A Human Being Died That Night at BAM.
Matthew Richards (Lighting Designer) has previously designed lighting for Theatre for a New Audience's productions of Tamburlaine the Great and The Killer. Broadway credits include Ann. Off-Broadway credits include Storefront Church (Atlantic Theater Company), RX (Primary Stages) Hand to God (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Invasion! (Play Company); Brooklyn Academy Of Music; Lincoln Center; MCC; Playwrights Horizons; Rattlestick; Second Stage; and TheatreworksUSA. Regional credits include Actor's Theater of Louisville; Arena Stage; Baltimore's Center Stage; Bay Street; Cleveland Playhouse; Dallas Theater Center; Ford's Theatre; The Goodman; Hartford Stage; The Hangar; The Huntington; La Jolla Playhouse; Long Wharf; New York Stage and Film; The Old Globe; Shakespeare Theatre; Westport Playhouse; Westport Country Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival; and Yale Repertory Theatre. He is a graduate of University of Massachusetts and Yale School of Drama.
Jane Shaw (Composer and Sound Designer) has previously designed the sound for Theatre for a New Audience's productions of Tamburlaine the Great, The Killer, and Hamlet. Recent productions include Food and Fadwa and Red Dog Howls (New York Theater Workshop), Breath and Imagination (Hartford Stage), Katie Roche (Mint), Figaro (Pearl), The Catch (Denver Center, Henry Award), In the Next Room...or the vibrator play (Cleveland Playhouse), Red (Maltz Jupiter, Asolo Rep), En el tiempo de las mariposas (Premios Ace 2012 award, Repertorio Español), and co-composed Murakami's Windup Bird with Bora Yoon, Edinburgh International Festival. She is a recipient of the NEA-TCG Career Development Grant, Meet the Composer, Bessie (2010, Big Dance Theater), and a Lortel nomination (Mint). She is a graduate of Harvard and Yale School of Drama.
Brian Brooks (Choreographer) provided choreography for Theatre for a New Audience's productions of Pericles and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was recently appointed as the inaugural Choreographer in Residence at Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance. He is a 2013 Guggenheim fellow. His dance group, the Brian Brooks Moving Company, has been performing since 2002 throughout the US and in South Korea, Canada, and Germany. At its home base in New York, the company has been presented by Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Foundation, Symphony Space, and Dance Theater Workshop, among others. The group enjoyed two consecutive seasons at The Joyce Theater in 2011 and 2012, and was presented as part of Focus Dance in 2013. Brooks was the recent recipient of a NY City Center Fellowship, a Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant, and a National Dance Project Production and ResidenCy Grant and he has been commissioned to create new works in 2013 for the Juilliard School and the Vail International Dance Festival.
Alison Bomber (Vocal Coach) provided vocal coaching for Theatre for a New Audience's production of Tamburlaine the Great. Alison was with the Royal Shakespeare Company for more than seven years, five of those as Senior Text and Voice Coach. Productions include Michael Boyd's Histories cycle, for which she is a joint recipient of the Olivier Award for Best Company Performance 2009.
Eric Reynolds (Properties Supervisor) recently worked on Theatre for a New Audience's production of The Servant of Two Masters, Pericles, and Tamburlaine the Great. Broadway credits include Oh, Hello, Fully Committed, An American in Paris, and On Your Feet! Off Broadway credits include Terms of Endearment (Directors Co.), Himself and Nora (Minetta Lane), Atlantic Theater, Ars Nova, and The Public Theater.
Jonathan Kalb (Dramaturg) TFANA's Resident Literary Advisor and Dramaturg, is a professor of theatre at Hunter College, where he was Chair of the Theatre Department for six years, and an internationally acclaimed theater critic and scholar. A two-time winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, he has published five books on theater and has written for dozens of publications including The New York Times, The Village Voice, New York Press, The Nation and Salon. His book Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theater won the George Freedley Memorial Award for the outstanding theater book of 2012.
About Theatre for a New Audience
Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is a modern classic theatre. It produces Shakespeare alongside other major authors from the world repertoire, such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond, Adrienne Kennedy, Richard Nelson, Wallace Shawn and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. TFANA has played Off- and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.
In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, TFANA was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Darko Tresnjak and starring F. Murray Abraham. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour.
After 34 years of being itinerant and playing mostly in Manhattan, Theatre for a New Audience moved to Brooklyn and opened its first permanent home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in October 2013. Built by The City of New York in partnership with Theatre for a New Audience, and located in the Brooklyn Cultural District, Polonsky Shakespeare Center was designed by Hugh Hardy and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture with theatre consultants Akustiks, Milton Glaser, Jean-Guy Lecat, and Theatre Projects. Housed inside the building are the Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage (299 seats)-the first stage built for Shakespeare and classical drama in New York City since Lincoln Center's 1965 Vivian Beaumont-and the Theodore C. Rogers Studio (50 seats).
TFANA's productions have been honored with Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background.
Theatre for a New Audience created and runs the largest in-depth program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce students to Shakespeare, and has served nearly 129,000 students since the program began in 1984. TFANA's New Deal ticket program is one of the lowest reserved ticket prices for youth in the city: $20 for any show, any time for those 30 years old and under or for full-time students of any age.