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CHAINS OF DEW, WEDDING BAND and More Set for Shakespeare Theatre's 2014-15 ReDiscovery Series

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The Shakespeare Theatre Company announces its 2014-2015 ReDiscovery Series with a selection of five plays by significant women playwrights of the early 20th Century, directed by local D.C. directors. The first reading to kick off the series will be Chains of Dew by Susan Glaspell, directed by Holly Twyford, on Monday, September 15.

"We see this series as a prelude to the Women's Voices Festival next season," says Artistic Director Michael Kahn. "This selection of plays serves as an introduction to today's leading women playwrights through the work of their forerunners, and gives us the opportunity to examine under-produced yet powerful works. We are happy to welcome five of D.C.'s rising women directors to direct these readings."

The 2014-15 ReDiscovery Series is intended to begin to close the gender gap that still troubles classical theatres in their presentation of work by women. Works chosen for this installment of the series span five decades and come from such notable 20th-Century playwrights as Susan Glaspell, Rachel Crothers, Dawn Powell, Lillian Hellman and Alice Childress. Throughout the season, the readings will be helmed by D.C.-based directors Holly Twyford, Shirley Serotsky, Lise Bruneau, Eleanor Holdridge and Jennifer Nelson.

Chains of Dew, the first reading of the series, will take place on Monday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m. Readings are free, however, reservations are required. Tickets can be reserved online at ShakespeareTheatre.org or by calling 202.547.1122.

2014-2015 ReDiscovery Series:

Chains of Dew (1922)

By Susan Glaspell

Directed by Holly Twyford

Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Guess who's coming to dinner? It's the Birth Control League! In Susan Glaspell's Chains of Dew, New York feminist Nora Powers follows her friend (and possibly more), the freethinking poet Seymore Standish, to his Midwestern hometown. But when she meets his wife and mother, Nora is forced to confront her own prejudices. Beloved D.C. actress and director Holly Twyford helms the first ReDiscovery Reading of the 2014-2015 Season, by one of the founding figures of modern American drama.

Susan and God (1939)

By Rachel Crothers

Directed by Shirley Serotsky

Monday, November 17, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Bored socialite Susan Trexel has just returned from vacation in Europe, completely rejuvenated. The only problem? She's fallen under the sway of a religious cult. Susan's determination to reform the dissolute lives of her friends and estranged husband leads to uproarious-and unexpected-results. Rachel Crothers' final play (and the basis for the 1940 film starring Joan Crawford) is a sophisticated blend of serious social discussion and cocktail-party comedy. Find out why Crothers was the most produced woman on Broadway for over 30 years.

Big Night (1930)

By Dawn Powell

Directed by Lise Bruneau

Monday, January 12, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Nothing in life comes free, especially not marriage. Myra Bonney, a beautiful, brittle ex-model, lives in a cramped one-bedroom with her husband Ed, an ad man with a shaky grip on his career-and an even shakier grip on his morals. Ed and Myra's marriage is put to the test when he tries to throw a hastily assembled party for Jonesie, an out-of-town client who just happens to share a history with Myra. Taffety Punk's Lise Bruneau directs Dawn Powell's hard-boiled, jazz-age comedy, which the author herself compared to Coward's Private Lives.

The Autumn Garden (1951)

By Lillian Hellman

Directed by Eleanor Holdridge

Monday, April 27, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

When Constance Tuckerman, the owner of a New Orleans boardinghouse, is visited by Nicholas Denery, a charismatic artist with whom she grew up, ancient emotions are unearthed. Lillian Hellman pours a lifetime of emotion into this Chekhovian tragicomedy, boasting one of her richest ensembles. Eleanor Holdridge directs the play that Hellman herself termed her favorite of her works.

Wedding Band (1962)

By Alice Childress

Directed by Jennifer Nelson

Monday, June 15, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

In World War I-era South Carolina, in a ramshackle black community, recently moved Julia Augustine has a secret. An ill-fated (and, at the time, illegal) white lover, Herman. These star-crossed lovers are subjects of discrimination, and not only by Herman's family. Alice Childress' play, written in 1962, is a landmark of the African-American theatre movement. It would not be professionally staged until six years later, and was rejected by television stations when adapted into a TV movie. Jennifer Nelson, a pioneering D.C.-area theatre artist, directs.

REDISCOVERY SERIES - Since the 1993-1994 Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company has staged more 70 plays as part of its ReDiscovery Series. Now in its 18th year, the ReDiscovery Series has investigated many rarely produced classics that resulted in mainstage productions including Schiller's Don Carlos (produced during the 2000-2001 Season), A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde (produced during the 1998-1999 Season), The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson (produced during the 2002-2003 Season) and a new translation and adaptation of George Farquhar's The Beaux' Stratagem by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig (produced during the 2006-2007 Season). In recent years, the series has led directly to newly commissioned adaptations by David Ives of French verse comedy: Pierre Corneille's The Liar (produced in the 2009-2010 Season) and Jean-François Regnard's The Heir Apparent (produced in the 2011-2012 Season). More recent ReDiscoveries include Jeffrey Hatcher's uproarious take on Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector and Robert Pinsky's newly commissioned verse translation of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein (both produced in the 2012-13 Season), as well as this season's adaptation of Alexis Piron's The Metromaniacs, the third of David Ives' rhymed-verse translations of classic French comedies. The series also included the sold-out world premiere of Tennessee Williams' rediscovered one-act plays, Five by Tenn, at the Kennedy Center in 2001, a production later remounted in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Works for the ReDiscovery series are chosen by Artistic Director Michael Kahn and presented under the direction of Shakespeare Theatre Company's artistic staff. Guest artists join members of the Washington theatrical community to investigate classic works of world literature at the Lansburgh on several Mondays throughout the year. Guest scholars, translators and adapters involved with the evening's reading also participate in rehearsal, performance and post-performance discussions.

The ReDiscovery Series is made possible through the generosity of donor Ann K. Morales.

ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY - Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has become one of the nation's leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Managing Director Chris Jennings, STC's innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation's premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company's artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights' language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and acting classes to discussion series as well as accessible programs like the annual Free For All, one of STC's most beloved annual traditions, allowing audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.

Located in our nation's capital, STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a dynamic, cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library's Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.

Box Office: 202.547.1122 (voice) Toll Free: 877.487.8849 or online at ShakespeareTheatre.org. *Plays, artists and dates are subject to change.


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