Shakespeare Festival Announces 32nd Season
The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival's (NCSF) 32nd MainStage season company is set. The season will feature two of Shakespeare's most renowned plays, "King Lear" and "Much Ado About Nothing."
Henson Keys will direct "Much Ado About Nothing" and Steve Umberger will direct "King Lear." Keys has an extensive history with the Festival, having acted in a number of its early seasons and directed its past productions of "Our Town" and "Julius Caesar." Currently, he heads the prestigious professional actor training programs at the University of Indiana, Champaign-Urbana. Keys will also play the Fool in "Lear," his first performance on the NCSF stage in over 20 years.
Umberger, a North Carolina native, is a founding member of Charlotte Repertory Theatre, where he served as artistic director for nearly two decades. He currently freelances at regional professional theaters in the Southeast, his most recent credit being the world premiere of a Sherlock Holmes thriller at People's Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, Pa.
Allan Edwards returns to the Festival stage for his 20th consecutive season. He will appear as Gloucester in "Lear" and as Leonato in "Much Ado." A High Point resident since his North Carolina arrival in the late 1980s, Edwards has played major roles in dozens of Festival productions, including eight years as Scrooge in the company's popular show, "A Christmas Carol." Graham Smith, another Festival veteran, will also appear in the season playing the role of King Lear in Shakespeare's masterpiece as well as the delightful constable, Verges, in "Much Ado."
Having just completed an extensive national tour with The Acting Company, David Foubert returns to The Festival for his third consecutive season to play Edgar in "Lear" and Benedick in "Much Ado." Ellen McQueen, a North Carolina native now residing in Atlanta, returns for her second season to play Goneril in "Lear" and Margaret in "Much Ado." Catori Swann returns for his second season to play Burgundy in "Lear" and Friar Francis in "Much Ado."
New faces in this season's MainStage company include Ray Chapman, originally of Butte Creek, Mont., who will play Albany in "Lear" and Don Pedro in "Much Ado." Matt Daniels, a Southern California native now residing in Milwaukee, will play Edmund in "Lear" and Dogberry in "Much Ado." Michael Stewart Allen, originally of Asheville and now a New York resident, will play Kent in "Lear" and Don John in "Much Ado."
Christopher Hirsh will play Oswald in "Lear" and Borachio in "Much Ado." New York City native, Emily Young, will play Cordelia in "Lear" and Hero in "Much Ado." Amanda Drinkall of Oswego, Ill., will play Ursula in "Much Ado." Eleni Pappageorge of Oak Park, Ill., will play Regan in "Lear" and Beatrice in "Much Ado." Charlotte's Pete Schild, a recent graduate of Davidson College, will play Burgundy in "Lear." Brendan Marshall-Rashid of Petoskey, Mich., will play Cornwall in "Lear" and Claudio in "Much Ado."
Interns for the season are T.J. Austin, Emily Mark, Max Woszak and Chris Wright of the theater program at UNCG and Latimer Alexander, appearing in his second season as an intern, from Greensboro College.
"I'm very enthusiastic about the acting company," says Pedro Silva, NCSF's managing and artistic director. "Casting is an arduous process regardless of the type of play one is producing. It's trebly challenging when casting for a Shakespeare production because you must seek actors who have command of the language. The challenge is then all doubled when casting actors to play in two shows. This troupe is distinguished, I think, by its overall vocal strength and the skill to control Shakespeare's poetry."
New this season are "ForeWords" info-blasts, 20-minute pre-show talks in the theater lobby that provide patrons with a concise overview of the play and production being performed. "ForeWords" begins promptly 45 minutes before curtain.
"King Lear" and "Much Ado" perform Sept. 6 through Oct. 5, at the High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Tickets are priced from $8.85 to $31 and are now on sale at the High Point Theatre Box Office. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call at (336) 887-3001. Tickets are also available at the door one hour before curtain for seating to that performance only.
Group tickets, including the Festival's popular SchoolFest 10 a.m. matinees, are on sale via NCSF's Administrative Office. Home School Groups of two or more also receive group rates.
Call Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 336-841-2273, ext. 226, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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