Northern Stage Mounts KING LEAR Featuring a Powerhouse Cast
Shakespeare's tragic tornado of familial and political civil war will take the stage at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction January 22 - February 9. For tickets and information, call (802) 296-7000 or visit northernstage.org. Tickets start at $34 for adults and $19 for students.
Considered by many to be the greatest of Shakespeare's tragedies, King Lear depicts two aging parents - one a King and the other his courtier - and how they handle the loss of power and agency, both politically and personally. King Lear plans to divide his country between his three daughters, but bases his decision on how much his daughters flatter him with professions of love. When his youngest - and most loved - daughter Cordelia refuses to participate in the charade, Lear disowns and banishes her, dividing the country between the two ruthless elder sisters and their scheming husbands. Amidst the backdrop of civil war, King Lear's courtier, The Earl of Gloucester, is deceived by their illegitimate son, Edmund, who is jealous of the lawful heir, Edgar, and will do anything to replace him as the heir. Both Lear and Gloucester reject the children who truly love them, plunging their families and country into a chaotic power struggle of blind ambition and violent treachery.
Nationally-acclaimed Shakespeare director Stephen Brown-Fried will direct King Lear. Of the play, he says, "The power of King Lear lies in its nature as both a deeply personal and deeply political play. On one hand, it's the story of how a political regime ends, and of what is left behind after an autocrat is separated from his political power. On the other hand, it is also the story of a family facing the deterioration of its patriarch, and of that patriarch's descent into madness. When one man commands so much power, both politically for the country he commands, and personally for the people he touches, what lies on the other side of his authority? What exists - for him, for his family, and for his country - when he can no longer occupy the seat of power that defined him? King Lear deals with a country collapsing under the weight of its ruling regime. In this sense, I find the play chilling and timely."
Northern Stage favorite Jamie Horton (Northern Stage: Orwell in America Off-Broadway, Our Town, and 12 Angry Men) will return in the titular role. Of Horton's performance in Orwell in America, New York Times' critic Ken Jaworowski said, "Mr. Horton delivers perhaps the finest performance I've seen Off Broadway this year." He is joined by Starla Benford (Broadway: MacBeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, among others) as Gloucester, Dartmouth Experiential Term (E-Term) student Stella Asa as Cordelia, Robert David Grant (Northern Stage: Macbeth) as Edgar, Jolly Abraham (Broadway: Coram Boy and Bombay Dreams) as Regan, and Cassandra Bissell (Regional: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Revolutionists) as Goneril. In addition to Horton and Grant, audiences may remember Ben Beckley from Jordan, Kelvin Grullon from last season's tour of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, and Damian Thompson from Macbeth. Northern Stage also welcomes Jon Norman Schneider, Cherene Snow, Rajesh Bose, and Max Hunter. Along with Asa, four other Dartmouth E-Term students - Kate Budney, Hannah Haile, Holden Harris, and Lexi Warden - will join the cast, while the sixth and final E-Term student, Millenah Nascimento, will be the production assistant.
The creative team includes Bill Clarke (Scenic Designer), Dina El-Aziz (Costume Designer), Dan Kotlowitz (Lighting Designer), Kate Marvin (Sound Designer), Mary Irwin (Voice & Text Coach), David S. Leong (Fight Choreographer), Alyssa K. Howard (Production Stage Manager), Virginia Ogden (Assistant Director), Will Maresco (Assistant Lighting Designer), and Kyla S. Mermejo-Varga (1st Assistant Stage Manager).
The 2019-20 Season is underwritten by Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital. King Lear is sponsored by Casella Resource Solutions, Pompanoosuc Mills, and Wells Fargo Advisors. A complimentary post-show reception with the company follows the opening night performance on Saturday, January 25. Optional post-show conversations will follow evening performances on January 26 and February 1. $19 Student Tickets and $5 Access for All tickets (for EBT cardholders) are available for any performance, $20 tickets are available on Tuesday, January 28 for $20 Tuesday - the first Tuesday after opening night, and $34 tickets are available for preview performances, January 22 - 24. Adult ticket prices range from $34 - $59.
Northern Stage (northernstage.org) is a regional non-profit LORT-D professional theater company located in White River Junction, VT. Northern Stage actively engages its audiences with world-class productions and extensive educational programs in its new home, the Barrette Center for the Arts. Founded in 1997, the company has offered more than 150 professional productions of new works, classics, and musicals. Now in its 23rd season, Northern Stage serves over 50,000 people. In 2014, the company launched a new play festival that has cultivated seven world premiere productions and three Off-Broadway transfers. A robust educational program focuses on professional training in a nurturing and supportive environment for students of all ages. Offerings include student acting ensembles, a summer musical theater intensive, and an expansive theater-in-the-schools residency program. Northern Stage's breadth of programming supports the company's mission to "change lives, one story at a time..."