JULIUS CAESAR, Starring Anthony Cochrane, Maurice Jones and More, to Open 2014-15 Season at the Folger Theatre

By: Sep. 23, 2014

Folger Theatre launches its 2014/15 season in Rome with William Shakespeare's enduring political tragedy, Julius Caesar from October 28 - December 7, 2014. Robert Richmond (Richard III and Henry V at Folger) directs the epic portrait of the battle between ambition and honor, conspiracy and loyalty, leading an outstanding ensemble including Anthony Cochrane (Broadway's War Horse and Folger's Henry VIII) as the honorable Marcus Brutus, and Maurice Jones, making his Folger Theatre debut as Caesar's closest ally, Mark Antony.

When Julius Caesar returns to Rome with immense power and popularity, a group of political leaders, fearful for the Republic and driven by their own ambition, conspire to assassinate him. Caesar's death sends the city into chaos, creating factions of power alliances and plunging the Empire into civil war. This ferocious examination of power and democratic responsibility to the people will play on stage one block from the nation's Capitol Building, amidst midterm elections.

"Julius Caesar is a very important and telling play for our time," states Richmond. "It exemplifies the very best - and worst - in our political beliefs. Shakespeare's work brilliantly demonstrates that ego is always present in human nature and the very democratic freedom that nations continuously strive for is often unachievable."

Folger Theatre's Julius Caesar features an extraordinary cast that includes Louis Butelli as Cassius, the wily mastermind behind Caesar's assassination, Michael Sharon as Caesar the Roman emperor, Shirine Babb as Portia, the proud wife of Brutus, and Deidra LaWan Starnes as Caesar's wife Calpurnia. The production also features JaBen Early (Octavius Caesar), Maboud Ebrahimzadeh (Casca), Joe Brack (Cinna), Nafeesa Monroe (Soothsayer), Robbie Gay (Cinna the poet), and William Vaughan (Lucius).

"We are very excited that Folger Theatre kicks off its new season with Julius Caesar," stated Janet Griffin, Artistic Producer of Folger Theatre. "DC is the political capital of the nation which makes this the ideal play to perform just steps away from the nation's Capitol in our intimate, Elizabethan theatre. We have once again assembled a brilliant creative team and an extraordinary cast to stage this very timely piece of theatre. We are sure our audiences will find this production unique, thought-provoking, and of course, entertaining."

The award-winning creative team includes four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Tony Cisek (set design), Mariah Hale (costume design), Jim Hunter (lighting design), Eric Shimelonis (composer and sound design), and Casey Kaleba (fight director).

Julius Caesar plays at Folger Theatre from October 28 - December 7, 2014. Tickets are $40 - $75. Lower-priced previews and discounts for students, seniors, military, educators, and groups of ten or more are available - and may be purchased at the Folger Theatre Box Office at 202.544.7077 or online at www.folger.edu/theatre.

Related Programming:

Pay-What-You-Can performance is on Tuesday, October 28, 7:30pm. Tickets will be available to the public one hour prior to the performance. Cash purchases only.

SPECIAL EVENT - Using Shakespeare's words, and a few of his own, U.S. veteran Stephan Wolfert leads us on an interactive journey to meet Shakespeare's soldiers in Cry "Havoc!" on Tuesday, November 4 at 7:00pm. This one-night only production is presented in association with Promundo-US. A panel discussion will follow. Tickets are $20/$15 for Folger members, members of the military and veterans.

Our inaugural Brews & Banter Pre-Show Chat will be held on Thursday, November 6 at 6:30pm. Before the show, quench your thirst and join this small group talk with actor Louis Butelli (Cassius). $15, with beer and light fare included.

College Night will be held on Friday, November 7 at 8:00pm. Tickets are $15 tickets, with a valid student ID to be presented at the box office.

A Small Groups Discussion with Folger Director Michael Witmore will explore the play and take place on Wednesday, November 12 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $15, with light fare included.

Audience members are encouraged to stay and take part in our Post-Show Group Discussion with the cast of Julius Caesar on Thursday, November 20. This interactive discussion, led by Folger's resident dramaturg Michele Osherow, will follow the 7:30pm performance.

Folger Friday hosts poets Hayes Davis and Joshua Weiner, as they read from their works in response to Julius Caesar on Friday, November 21 at 6:00pm. Admission is free.

Julius Caesar is presented in conjunction with Decoding the Renaissance, an exhibition exploring the the science of cryptography during the Renaissance, when the art of secret writing came into its own. Curated by Bill Sherman, the exhibit showcases some six hundred years of secret communication, introducing tricks of the trade and revealing some surprising links between Shakespeare's First Folio and Edward Snowden's hard-drive. Featuring the best collection ever assembled of early works on codes and ciphers. On display in Folger's Great Hall from November 11, 2014 - March 1, 2015. Visit www.folger.edu/exhibitions for details; free.

The Cast:

Shirine Babb (Portia) - Regional: Hartford Stage: The Tempest; Long Wharf Theatre: Macbeth; Palm Beach Theatre: Raisin in the Sun; The Old Globe: 2010 and 2011 Summer Shakespeare Festival Season; American Shakespeare Center: Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol; Roxy Regional: Antony and Cleopatra. Broadway: Lincoln Center: Macbeth. Off-Broadway: The New Theatre at 45th Street: Around the World in 80 Days; The Women's Project: Aliens With Extraordinary Skills; Ensemble Studio Theatre: Trickle; Pulse Ensemble Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream; 29th Rep Theater: A Role Once Played (AUDELCO Nomination). UK: Arcola Theatre: Windows. TV: WE are NY, All My Children.

Joe Brack (Cinna, Titinius, Citizen, Soldier) - Theater J: Yentl, After the Fall; The Kennedy Center: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg; Studio Theatre: Astro Boy and the God of Comics; Taffety Punk Theatre Company: Love's Labour's Lost, Hamlet: the Bad Quarto, The Two Noble Kinsmen; Imagination Stage: James and the Giant Peach, The Magic Finger, Lyle the Crocodile; Forum Theatre: The Illusion, Mad Forest, bobrauschenbergamerica, Marat/Sade; Constellation Theatre Company: The Ramayana, Three Sisters, A Flea in Her Ear, Crazyface, The Marriage of Figaro, The Oresteia. Regional: Virginia Shakespeare Festival: As You Like It, Blue Monday: Ctrl-Alt-Delete, Ghost and Spice: The Play About the Baby. Tour: City Artistic Partnerships: My Princess Bride (playwright and performer); International credits: Failbetter Productions U.K.: Crave; Television: Deadly Affairs.

Louis Butelli (Cassius) - Folger Theatre: Twelfth Night, Henry V, Henry VIII (Helen Hayes Award), Othello, Julius Caesar; Shakespeare Theatre Company: The Taming of the Shrew. Regional theatres include: La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory, Long Wharf Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Lost Colony. Off-Broadway: Aquila Theatre Company: Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors, Agamemnon, Othello, Twelfth Night, The Man Who Would Be King; The New Victory Theater: A Midsummer Night's Dream; 47th St. Theater: CYCLOPS: A Rock Opera (also directed, co-wrote, NYMF Award, Pulitzer Jury Nomination, 3 LA Weekly Award Nominations) Television: Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Unusuals, All My Children. Numerous national and international tours. Co-founder, Psittacus Productions. psittacusproductions.org.

Anthony Cochrane (Brutus) - Folger Theatre: A Winter's Tale, Henry VIII (Helen Hayes nom.), Othello (Composer). Broadway: Lincoln Center Theater: War Horse, Cymbeline, The Coast of Utopia. Off Broadway: LCT: Nikolai and the Others; BAM: Dense Terrain; Aquila Theatre Company: Othello, Cyrano de Bergerac, Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Iliad, The Man Who Would Be King, The Invisible Man. Regional: Alabama Shakespeare Festival: Timon Of Athens, The Taming Of The Shrew, Hamlet, All's Well That Ends Well, Lettice And Lovage; Yale Rep: Owners; Shakespeare Theater Of New Jersey: Tovarich; Old Globe: Amadeus, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest; LaJolla: Much Ado About Nothing. UK: Royal Shakespeare Company: The Broken Heart, The Wives Excuse, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar. Numerous other repertory productions throughout UK. Composed original music for over 30 theater productions. Film: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Apocalypse Watch. TV: Law & Order: SVU, Benjamin Franklin (PBS), Taggart (Scottish TV), Neverwhere (BBC).

JaBen Early (Octavius Caesar) - Arena Stage: Ruined; Studio Theatre: F***ing A; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Civilization, The Convert. Regional: Philly Interactive Theatre: We are Proud...

Maboud Ebrahimzadeh (Casca, Citizen, Messala, Soldier) - Imagination Stage: The BFG; Taffety Punk Theatre Company: Pericles, Love's Labours Lost; Forum Theatre: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Bobrauschenbergamerica, Scorched; Studio Theatre: Water by the Spoonful, Edgar and Annabel; Keegan Theatre: A Few Good Men; Hub Theatre: A Man, His Wife, and His Hat; Theatre J: Boged, Tale of the Allergist's Wife (upcoming); Round House Theatre: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo; 1st Stage: Side Man; Rorschach Theatre: After the Quake. Regional: Center Stage; The Container.

Robbie Gay (Lepidus, Trebonius, Citizen, Cinna the Poet, Soldier) - Folger Theatre: The Gaming Table. Round House Theatre: Double Indemnity, Pride & Prejudice; Adventure Theatre MTC: A Little House Christmas (Helen Hayes Award Nom. Best TYA Show), Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (Helen Hayes Award Nom. Best TYA Show); Regional: Theatre Raleigh: The 39 Steps, Fox on the Fairway, Barefoot in the Park, Sylvia; Farmers Alley Theatre: The 39 Steps (Wilde Award Nomination); Cape Fear Regional Theatre: Rumors, A View from the Bridge, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Peter Pan; Jailbreak Theatre Company: The Mystery of Irma Vep; Palace Theatre: Greater Tuna; Temple Theatre: Hamlet; Old Creamery Theatre: The Nerd; Schoolhouse Theater: Funny Money; California Theatre Center: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, Most Valuable Player; The Lost Colony: The Lost Colony, All in the Timing/Lives of the Saints.

Maurice Jones (Mark Antony) - Regional: Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Ruined, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Taming of the Shrew, A Christmas Carol. Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey: The Learned Ladies. National Theatre Conservatory: Richard III, Charley's Aunt, Fahrenheit 451, Topdog/Underdog, The Good Woman of Setzuan, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Our Town. Cabaret Theatre: Glengarry Glen Ross, Six Degrees of Separation, Line, Suzan Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays. Livingston Theatre Company: Ragtime, Once On This Island. Broadway: Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet. Television: 30 Rock, Conviction. Film: Winter's Tale, And So It Goes.

Nafeesa Monroe (Soothsayer, Citizen, Soldier) - Annapolis Shakespeare Company: Hamlet; Shakespeare Theatre Co./ACA: King Lear, The Malcontent. Regional: Shakespeare & Company: Love's Labour's Lost, Mother Courage; Theatreworks: Miami Lights; Peter Pan; L.A. Women's Shakespeare: As You Like It; Robey Theatre Co.: For the Love Of Freedom Parts 1-3; Paradise Theatre: Byron's Don Juan, Three Sisters. Off-Off Broadway: Backhouse Theatre Co.: Hello Herman. Film: Gridiron Gang, I'm Through With White Girls, State of Mind, Unwelcome (Eerie Film Fest Best Actress Nomination). Television: Basketball Wife, HBO's Def Poetry, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Parkers, Martin, Jamie Foxx Show.

Michael Sharon (Julius Caesar) - Folger Theatre: Richard III. Shakespeare Theatre Company: Twelfth Night (Helen Hayes nomination), The Roman Rep (Julius Caesar/Antony and Cleopatra). Broadway/Off-Broadway: The Fantasticks; NYCity Opera: The Most Happy Fella. Regional: Los Angeles Theater Center: Macbeth; Connecticut Rep: Pericles; Long Wharf: The Fantasticks; Fulton Theatre: Gaslight, The Sound of Music (Broadway World and Carbonell Award nominations); Portland Center Stage: Anna Karenina; Pioneer Theatre Company: Jane Austen's Emma; Actor's Theatre of Louisville/ Repertory Theatre of St Louis: Sherlock Holmes; Goodspeed Opera House: Shenandoah; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Othello, As You Like It, Richard III, Henry VI (The Conclusion), The Baltimore Waltz; Utah Shakespearean Festival: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Camelot, Coriolanus, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night. UK: GBS Theatre, London: The Winter's Tale. Film/TV: Identical, In Between Men (Indie Soap nomination).

Deidra LaWan Starnes (Calpurnia, Citizen, Soldier) - Folger Theatre: King Lear; Shakespeare Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing; Adventure Theatre: 12 Days of Christmas, Charlotte's Web; Studio Theatre; Invisible Man, Passing Strange, In the Red and Brown Water, Radio Golf, The Old Settler, Seven Guitars; African Continuum Theater: 24, 7, 365, Intimate Apparel, A Raisin in the Sun, I Have before Me a Remarkable Document, Two Trains Running, Spunk; Olney Theatre Center: Stuff Happens, Doubt; Metro Stage: Gee's Bend; Regional: St. Louis Rep: Gem of the Ocean; New Federal Theatre: for colored girls...; Rep Stage: The Violet Hour, Anna Lucasta; Everyman: Blues for an Alabama Sky. Film: Nocturnal Agony, Ladder 49. (Helen Hayes Award, DC Theatre Scene People's Choice Award, Audelco Award). dlstarnes.com

William Vaughan (Lucius) - Folger Theatre: Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet (u/s); Signature Theatre: Tender Napalm (u/s); The Hub Theatre: Abominable; We Happy Few (Capitol Fringe Festival): Romeo and Juliet; Roanoke Historical Association: The Lost Colony. Film: Dreadful Sorry, Colonizing the New World.

The Creative Team:

Robert Richmond (Director) - Folger Theatre: Richard III, Twelfth Night, Henry V, Othello, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet (audio recording), Macbeth (audio recording), Hamlet (audio recording), A Midsummer Night's Dream (audio recording). Regional theaters include: Roanoke Island Historical Association The Lost Colony; La Jolla Playhouse; Denver Center for the Performing Arts; Two River Theater Company. Off-Broadway: Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy Of Errors, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cyrano De Bergerac, The Iliad: Book One, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Agamemnon. Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina Theatre and Dance Department, Head of Undergraduate Performance. Directed Dreadful Sorry (written by Dionne O'Dell), winner of the South Carolina Film Commissions 2010 Production Grant. Education: Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. www.robertrichmond.com, DreadfulSorrymovie.com

Tony Cisek (Scenic Designer) - Folger Theatre: Richard III, Twelfth Night, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello (2011), The Comedy of Errors, Henry VIII, Much Ado About Nothing (2009, 1999), 1 Henry IV, The School For Scandal, The Tempest (2007, 2000), Romeo and Juliet (2005, 1997), Melissa Arctic, Elizabeth the Queen, Twelfth Night (costumes), As You Like It (2001), Shakespeare's R & J, Hamlet; Work at other theaters includes Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Round House Theatre; Signature Theatre; Theater J; Theater Alliance; The Kennedy Center; Arena Stage; Ford's Theatre. Regional theaters include: Guthrie Theater; Goodman Theatre; South Coast Repertory; Milwaukee Rep; Indiana Repertory Theatre; Portland Center Stage; Cleveland Play House; Intiman Theatre; Actors Theatre of Louisville; Syracuse Stage; Berkshire Theatre Festival; Two River Theater Company; Delaware Theatre Company. Off Broadway: Beyond Glory; columbinus. Awards: Helen Hayes Award (four-time recipient), Drammy Award, Barrymore Award nomination. www.tonycisek.com

Mariah Hale (Costume Designer) - Folger Theatre: Richard III, Twelfth Night, Henry V, Henry VIII (Associate Costume Designer), Othello (Associate Costume Designer). Regional: Goodspeed Opera/ Norma Terris Theatre: Both Barrells; American Stage Company: The Butter and Egg Man; Algonquin Arts Center: The 39 Steps, A Year with Frog and Toad; Kline Theatre: Romeo and Juliet; Yvonne Theater: Nine, The Misanthrope. Off-Broadway: Variety Arts Theater: A Good Swift Kick; New York Music Theatre Festival: Cyclops: A Rock Opera. Associate Costume Designer: Regional: Dallas Theater Center: Arsenic and Old Lace. Roanoke Island Historical Assoc.: The Lost Colony. Madison Square Garden: A Christmas Carol. Roundabout Theater: Picnic, Company. Broadway and National Tours: Smokey Joe's Café, Chicago, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Crazy for You, Guys and Dolls, Andrew Lloyd Weber's Music of the Night, Disney's King David. Teaches fashion design at College of Morris and Brookdale College, costume design at Gettysburg College and Rider University, Westminster School of the Arts.

Jim Hunter (Lighting Designer) - Folger Theatre: Richard III. Phoenix Theatre: Man of La Mancha, The Full Monty, Applause, Tintypes; Florida Repertory Theatre: August - Osage County, Glass Menagerie, Amy's View, Noises Off; Charlotte Repertory Theatre: Jar the Floor, Other People's Money; Florida Studio Theatre: Spamalot; Theatre Virginia: Lost in Yonkers, Moon Over Buffalo, Sunshine Boys; Florida Stage: Goldie, Max, and Milk, Some Kind of Wonderful; Arkansas Repertory Theatre: Talley's Folly, Foxfire; Orlando Shakespeare: The 39 Steps; Lost Colony (NC); Drury Lane (Chicago): La Cage Aux Folles; Heritage Repertory Theatre (Va): Crimes of the Heart, Return to the Forbidden Planet. Tours: Clear Channel: Veggie Tales Live (National) and Wall Street Danceworks. AriZoni Awards in Scene Design for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Picnic. www.jimhunterdesigns.com.

Eric Shimelonis (Sound Designer and Music Composition) - Folger Theatre: Richard III, Roundhouse Theatre: Becky Shaw, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo; Studio Theatre: Torch Song Trilogy, The Motherf***er With the Hat, An Iliad; Theatre J: Andy and the Shadows; Hub Theatre: A Man, His Wife, and His Hat; 1st Stage: Never the Sinner; Arena Stage: Anna Christie, Orpheus Descending. Regional: Goodman Theatre: Stoop Stories; City Theatre: Abigail/1702, The Monster in the Hall, The Clockmaker; Southern Rep: Grey Gardens (Big Easy and Ambie Award nominations for Best Musical Direction). Off Broadway: Daryl Roth Theatre: Fuerza Bruta; Signature Theatre: Heartless; Atlantic Theatre: Almost an Evening; Second Stage: Wintertime; Rattlestick Theatre: Hallway Trilogy (Drama Desk nomination); Playwrights Horizons: Essential Self Defense (Lortel Award nomination). Film: Winter Passing.

Casey Dean Kaleba (Fight Director) - Folger Theatre: Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, The Gaming Table, Othello, Hamlet, 1 Henry IV; Round House Theatre: Young Robin Hood, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Double Indemnity, Crown of Shadows, Fahrenheit 451, Charming Billy, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Signature Theatre: Really, Really, The Hollow, The Fox on the Fairway, See What I Wanna See, Nest; Studio Theatre: The Bachelorette, Time Stands Still, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Reefer Madness, Dog Sees God; Hub Theatre: Big Love, John & Beatrice, The Clockmaker, We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay!; Rorschach Theatre: The Gallerist, After the Quake, Living Dead in Denmark, This Storm Is What We Call Progress. Television: The American Experience: A Prince Among Slaves. www.toothandclawcombat.com

Michele Osherow (Resident Dramaturg) - Folger Theatre: Richard III, Romeo and Juliet (dramaturg and actor), Twelfth Night, Henry V, The Conference of the Birds, The Taming of the Shrew, The Gaming Table, Othello (2011), Cyrano, The Comedy of Errors, Henry VIII, Hamlet, Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Much Ado About Nothing, Arcadia, The Winter's Tale, 1 Henry IV, Macbeth, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello (2001), Measure for Measure (dramaturg and actor). Regional: Quotidian Theatre Company: Afterplay (actor), A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (actor), Captain Drew on Leave, Dublin Carol, The Carpetbagger's Children, The Mollusc, Tomorrow (actor), The Seagull (actor), Valentine's Day (actor), While We Have the Light (actor), Uncle Vanya (actor), A Little Trick (actor); Jewish Repertory Theatre: The Dybbuk (actor). Arden Theatre Company: The Chosen, As You Like It (actor), Love's Labors [sic] (actor); Currently Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

About Folger Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Library: Folger Theatre is the centerpiece of Folger Shakespeare Library's programs for the public and is recognized for dynamic performances in the 250-seat Elizabethan-styled theatre, specializing in innovative stagings of works by Shakespeare, other classical work, and new plays inspired by these traditions. Since 1991, Folger Theatre has been honored by the Helen Hayes Awards with 21 awards and 125 nominations for excellence in acting, direction, design, and production-including the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play in 2011 for Hamlet (a year in which all three of Folger's theatrical productions were nominated in that category) and in 2013 for The Taming of the Shrew. In September 2012, Folger Theatre brought from London Shakespeare's Globe's Hamlet for the company's first Washington appearance. Earlier this year, Folger's collaboration with Shakespeare's Globe continued with the World-to-World two-year global tour of Hamlet, as well as their on tour production of King Lear featuring Joseph Marcell. Janet Alexander Griffin is the Artistic Producer of Folger Theatre and Director of Public Programs which includes the Folger's music and literary series.

Folger Shakespeare Library is a renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. Home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for research material from the early modern period (1500-1750), Folger Shakespeare Library is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs -theatre, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures, and family programs. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, Folger Shakespeare Library-located one block east of the U.S. Capitol-opened in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more at www.folger.edu.