BST Opens HENRY THE FIFTH, The Final Production In Their King's Shadow Repertory

By: Mar. 06, 2020

The final chapter of The King's Shadow is about to begin. Henry the Fifth, opening March 14, 2020, completes the first season in Brave Spirits Theatre's two-year project to stage Shakespeare's eight history plays about the Wars of the Roses. During a tumultuous period of less than a hundred years, England experienced civil war and political upheaval as the throne switched hands nine times. Shakespeare dramatized these events over the course of his career in eight remarkable plays: Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth Part 1, Henry the Fourth Part 2, Henry the Fifth, Henry the Sixth Part 1, Henry the Sixth Part 2, Henry the Sixth Part 3, and Richard the Third. Brave Spirits Theatre is making history by becoming the first professional American theatre company to mount full productions of Shakespeare's two tetralogies and perform them in repertory.

Already in performances, critics have hailed Richard the Second as "razor-sharp" (Broadway World), Henry the Fourth Part 1 as "a gift for theater and history lovers alike" (DC Metro Theater Arts) and Henry the Fourth Part 2 as "a remarkable achievement" (DC Theatre Scene). Broadway World praises Brave Spirits Theatre for producing "one of the more vital repertory seasons inside the Beltway that we have seen in quite some time."

From March 14 through April 19, audiences can see these first four plays, The King's Shadow, in repertory. Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth Part 1, Henry the Fourth Part 2, and Henry the Fifth follow the troubled passing of the English crown from the philosopher King Richard II, to the conqueror King Henry IV, to his rogue son, Prince Hal. With his father's deeds looming over him, Hal indulges in a reckless adolescence that tarnishes his reputation. But when the time comes to rule, Hal must take control of how history will remember him, unite his country, and become the legendary King Henry V.

In the next season, The Queen's Storm, Brave Spirits Theatre will present Henry the Sixth Part 1, Henry the Sixth Part 2, Henry the Sixth Part 3, and Richard the Third. These second four plays dive headfirst into the ferocious conflict spawned by a cruelly bought peace. Confronting the tempest is Margaret of Anjou, a princess from lands abroad who rises to become England's queen. Faced with threats and treachery from every direction, Margaret's is a tale of resilience, ambition and, finally, the very nature of evil, with the rise of Shakespeare's most famous villain, King Richard III.

The King's Shadow is directed by BST Artistic Director Charlene V. Smith. The ensemble cast includes Michael Bannigan Jr., Zach Brewster-Geisz, Dean Carlson, Jaqueline Chenault, Gary DuBreuil, Brianna Goode, Lisa Hill-Corley, Tom Howley, Caroline Johnson, Brendan Edward Kennedy, Annette Mooney, Duane Richards, Jillian Riti, Ian Blackwell Rogers, Nicole Ruthmarie, John Stange, Molly E. Thomas, and Joshua Williams. The production and design team includes Kristen P. Ahern (costume designer), Jason Aufdem-Brinke (lighting designer), Megan Behm (intimacy coordinator), Jenna Berk (dialect coach), Caolan Eder (props designer), Hannah Fogler (makeup designer), Amanda Forstrom (movement director), Abi Franklin (assistant stage manager), Jordan Friend (associate director, composer, music director), Marshall B Garrett (dramaturg), Megan Holden (set designer), Casey Kaleba (fight director), Jen Katz (production stage manager), Claire Kimball (project dramaturg), Emily MacLeod (dramaturg), Ryan Musil (clowning), and Kirra Sharpe (assistant stage manager).

Brave Spirits Theatre is grateful for the support for Shakespeare's Histories from lead donors Elizabeth Schweinsberg and Jason Aufdem-Brinke. Additional funding for the project comes from the City of Alexandria, the Nora Roberts Foundation, the Morgan Fund at Seattle Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.