Valorie Curry, Christopher Innvar, Matthew Rauch and More to Lead THE ROVER Reading at Red Bull Theater
Red Bull Theater today announced the cast for their next REVELATION READING, Aphra Behn's The Rover.
Valorie Curry, Christopher Innvar, Nadine Malouf, Howard Overshown, Matthew Rauch, Marc Vietor, and CJ Wilson will star in John Barton's version of the original play as further adapted by JoAnne Akalaitis and Kathleen Dimmick, under the direction of Louisa Proske, on Monday November 13th at 7:30 PM at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets).
It's Spain, during carnival, and anything can and does happen. Two Spanish sisters don masks and take to the streets, one to reunite with her true love, the other to find a man and evade her fate at the nunnery. Enter a trio of English rakes looking for kicks, and we get raucous and raunchy Restoration comedy at its best. From the pen of the first professional female playwright comes a play that challenges 17th-century notions of marriage, while asking timeless questions of sexual politics. How far will women go, to follow their hearts' desire? And just how badly can men behave, before they have to put a ring on it?
Aphra Behn (1640-89), the first professional female playwright, led a tumultuous and colorful life, both in and out of the theater. She left England soon after the Restoration of Charles II for the South American colony of Surinam, which provided the setting for her novel, Oronooko; or, The Royal Slave, which in turn was adapted for the stage and remained popular throughout the 18th century. Returning to England, she may have entered into a fictitious marriage with someone named Behn, but by the mid-1660s she was serving the crown as a spy in Antwerp during the Dutch invasion of Surinam. On her return to England she was thrown into debtors' prison and appealed to the government for her back wages. After 1670, however, she emerged as a famous and influential poet and playwright, part of the elite milieu surrounding the court. Her best-known plays are The Rover, The City Heiress, and The Feigned Courtesans, which was dedicated to her friend (and the King's mistress) the actress Nell Gwynn. Behn was re-discovered, in a sense, by Virginia Woolf's famous 1918 essay A Room of One's Own: "... all women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds."
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. This year's readings highlight the season's themes of love and all its joyous madness-with both Jacobean and French twists-alongside the perils of ambition and the threat of the con. From Marlowe's Doctor Faustus starring Patrick Page to Ben Jonson's The Alchemist with John Douglas Thompson and two masterpieces of Molière, the season's slate of readings is sure to delight you all season long.
Subsequent REVELATION READINGS, which take place on Monday evenings (7:30PM) at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, will include:
- December 11th - Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, directed by Daniel Sullivan, starring Patrick Page and Stephen Spinella. With the Good Angel and Bad Angel at each shoulder, which way do you turn? Doctor Faustus, an expert in every subject from Medicine to Divinity, tries to satisfy his hunger for knowledge by indulging in necromancy. In a devilish pact, he's granted 24 years with magic at his fingertips. But with the clock ticking down, how has Faustus used his time? And will he repent, before it's too late? Marlowe dramatizes the German legend as only he could, igniting Elizabethan audiences-who swore actual devils appeared on stage-and cementing the young playwright's reputation before his own untimely death.
- January 15th - Hernani by Victor Hugo, translated by John Strand, directed by Ethan McSweeny, featuring Ismenia Mendes, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Pedro Pascal, and Tony Plana. A tale of passion and intrigue from the young Victor Hugo (of later Les Miserables fame), complete with sword fights, a lover in disguise, and deadly poisoned cup. The play begins in the fictional Spanish court of 1519 with the king Don Carlos sneaking into the bedchamber of the beautiful Doña Sol, who is tragically betrothed to her elderly uncle, and already plotting her escape with the mysterious bandit Hernani. With three men in love with one woman, could it ever end well? The play famously incited a riot in its 1830 Paris premiere, as the Romantics and Classicists duked it out over dramatic structure (those were the days!).
- February 12th - Don Juan by Molière, adapted and directed by Stephen Wadsworth, featuring Mary Bacon, Stephen DeRosa, Francesca Faridany, Adam Greer, Mary Lou Rosato, Adam Stein, and Mary Testa. In the hands of the great Molière, Don Juan is as much anarchic philosopher as irresistible lover, discoursing with his servant Sganarelle on heaven and hell, sex and politics, as he jumps from bed to bed, breaking every rule in the book. After its shocking opening night in 1665 Paris, the courtly censors had their way with the script, and it wasn't seen as the playwright intended for generations. Stephen Wadsworth's "extravagantly reimagined" (Washington Post) version "produces sheer astonishment" (New York Times), restoring the work to its original subversive brilliance, as Don Juan defiantly risks his soul to think and live as he pleases.
- March 19th - The Alchemist by Ben Jonson, directed by Jesse Berger, featuring Christian Conn, Whitney Maris Brown, Ryan Garbayo, Jason Kravits, Steven Rattazzi, Robert Sella, Jeanine Serralles, David Ryan Smith, Derek Smith, and John Douglas Thompson. When the plague hits, Lovewit flees town and foolishly entrusts his Blackfriars house to his servant Jeremy, who promptly sets up shop with fellow con man Subtle and the brilliantly sexy prostitute Doll Common. Claiming alchemical powers, the three scam a series of memorable chumps including Sir Epicure Mammon, a Falstaffian figure with an epic sensual appetite. No one escapes Jonson's searing wit in this satire of greed and folly, set in his own Jacobean London, in the very neighborhood where he once lived. One of the comic masterworks of the age, and arguably Jonson's finest, this play promises pure delight.
- April 16 - The Second Maiden's Tragedy by Thomas Middleton, directed by Craig Baldwin, featuring Susan Heyward, Dion Johnstone, Bhavesh Patel, and Miriam Silverman. A juicy romantic thriller, in the rip-roaring tradition of The Revenger's Tragedy, this gem was resurrected from a single handwritten Jacobean manuscript, without title or author. The play tells the tragic tale of two sisters-known simply as Lady and Wife-each unwittingly caught in a love triangle and facing a test of her fidelity. But will both sisters pass? Inspired both by Talmudic legend and the story of a Christian martyr, the play features one of the most gruesome love suicides of the age, and a scene of necrophilia to boot. Almost never performed, this hearing is a rare opportunity.
- May 14 - A Doctor in Spite of Himself by Molière, adapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp, directed by Christopher Bayes with live music by Pornchanok Kanchanabanca, and starring Liam Craig, Austin Durant, Steven Epp, Renata Friedman, Gabriel Levey, Don Darryl Rivera, Justine Williams, and Liz Wisan. What's a girl to do, to avoid her unwanted wedding? Pretend she's been struck mute, of course. And with the help of a dissolute, drunken woodcutter posing as her doctor, trick her rich old fool of a father. Masters of commedia Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp have teamed up to give uproarious new life to Molière's classic comedy, with "their brilliant, new-vaudeville style," making it "both raunchier and more unhinged," (New York Times). It's Punch and Judy come to life, in this pitch-perfect presentation, punctuated with live music.
- June 18th - The Clandestine Marriage by David Garrick and George Colman the Elder, directed by Marc Vietor, starring Mark Linn-Baker, Talene Monahon, Reg Rogers and Ryan Spahn
, . Wealthy merchant Mr. Sterling tries to better his social standing by marrying his eldest daughter Betsy to Sir John Melvil. Just one problem: Melvil is in love with the younger daughter Fanny, who happens to be secretly married to the humble clerk, Lovewell. And it's up to Lovewell to convince Melvil to look elsewhere. Set in the finely landscaped garden of Sterling's country home, it's effervescent comedy of manners at its finest-co-authored by David Garrick, famed actor-manager-playwright of London's great Drury Lane Theatre, where the play first delighted audiences.
Red Bull Theater is the not-for-profit Off-Broadway theater dedicated to revitalizing and refreshing the contemporary audience's experience of the classics, shining a light on rarely produced plays in ways that balance a sincere respect for tradition with a sharply modern approach to the work, and communicating directly to today's theatergoers. The company is also dedicated to inspiring and producing new writing for the theater that is in direct dialogue with classical material and styles. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as our cornerstone, Red Bull Theater is New York City's home for dynamic performances of great classic stories from all eras and countries.
Red Bull Theater has previously staged productions of Pericles, The Revenger's Tragedy, Edward the Second, Women Beware Women, The Duchess of Malfi, The Witch of Edmonton, The Maids, The Dance of Death, Loot, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Volpone, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore, The Changeling, The School For Scandal Coriolanus
, and last season's runaway comedy hit, Gogol's The Government Inspector for an extended run at the Duke on 42nd Street and New World Stages.
Red Bull Theater's work has been recognized with multiple Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, Callaway and OBIE Award nominations and awards, including the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival in the 2015-'16 season (School for Scandal). The company has staged over 150 Revelation Readings, named by the Village Voice "Best Play Reading Series," also developing new plays of heightened language and classical adaptations through workshops and offering educational programs for students of all ages, including Shakespeare In School residencies. Post-play Bull Session discussions with scholars following select Sunday matinees and Readings are free and open to the public.
Red Bull Theater offers Master Classes throughout the year. Taught by top working professionals including Kathleen Chalfant, Sam Gold, John Douglas Thompson, Olympia Dukakis, Heidi Griffiths, Charlayne Woodard and Patrick Page, Red Bull Theater's intensives and workshops cover a variety of disciplines, including auditioning, text, voice, movement, clowning, stage combat, and acting Shakespeare. Classes are open to adults at all levels of training or experience. They range from one to four days with limited class sizes to allow one-on-one attention. You can enroll in any combination of classes, or take the whole series for a year-long training experience.
For more information about Revelation Readings, or any of Red Bull Theater's programs, visit www.redbulltheater.com.