Shakespeare and Company, the Berkshires’ theatre company founded in Lenox 32 years ago has announced an ambitious schedule for the 2009-10 season, Tina Packer’s final season as Artistic Director. Ms. Packer will turn her focus to the long-term vision of the Company, and to her own acting and writing, upon the arrival in June of her successor and co-founder Tony Simotes. He is a long-time Company actor, director, and fight choreographer whose first job here was as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the Company’s first season, at The Mount, in 1978.
plenty of Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Company’s 2009-10 schedule includes reprisals of Hamlet and Othello featuring most of the casts from the plays’ original Lenox, MA productions. The real-life family trio, Tina Packer, Jason Asprey, and Dennis Krausnick, will reprise their roles in Hamlet alongside Nigel Gore and many other returning actors. Review of June 26 performance of Hamlet at Shakespeare and Co.
John Douglas Thompson and Michael Hammond return for this season’s production of Othello, directed by Tony Simotes.
This year’s mainstage comedy will be Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, with Jonathan Croy making his mainstage directorial debut, with Kevin O’Donnell playing Malvolio.
The 2009-10 season ropens on May 21st with a special two-week run in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre of Romeo and Juliet, capping off its five-month New England Tour of Shakespeare to young audiences across the Northeast. It will be directed by Jonathan Croy, with original music by Company member Marc Scipione, this Romeo and Juliet. Later in the season, the Company will introduce a new program, the Lunch Box Shakespeare Series, presenting Measure for Measure in the Bernstein Theatre, as performed by the best and the brightest of Shakespeare and Company’s young professional actor training program.
remembering Harold Pinter
The season also offers a special program titled Pinter’s Mirror, honoring the taut short plays of Nobel Prize-winner Harold Pinter, who died last year, with three celebrated one-act plays, Victoria Station, Family Voices, and A Slight Ache.
Pinter’s Mirror features Elizabeth Ingram and Malcolm Ingram, and will be directed by Normi Noel. Other provocative new works include the Pen Literary Award-winning Devil’s Advocate by Donald Freed, and The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, by the multiple award-winning John Patrick Shanley, starring John Douglas Thompson.
introducing the Diva Series
The Diva Series will be three one-woman shows playing for limited engagements. Annette Miller reprises her role as Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony, a special dedication to William Gibson to celebrate his voice, tremendous body of work, courage and the inspiration he remains. Packer makes a special return engagement as the feisty and insightful titular character in Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine. The series also includes the devastatingly powerful new work The Actors Rehearse the Story of Charlotte Salomon, featuring newcomer Penny Kreitzer.
These three plays are special events meant to focus attention on the Capital Campaign currently being conducted to complete the Production and Performing Arts Center, including the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. “The Diva Series is about three feisty ladies, and it celebrates one beautifully committed woman, Elayne P. Bernstein,” says Packer.
The family-friendly Bankside Festival includes Irina Brook’s uproarious production of Toad of Toad Hall by A. A. Milne, adapted from Kenneth Grahame’s beloved novel The Wind in the Willows, at the Outdoor Rose Footprint Theatre, as well as a newly launched, increasingly dynamic and jam-packed Bankside Lecture Series; specially designed Preludes (before evening performances at Founders’); special musical events; the much-loved reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th; and other enhanced efforts to rally and celebrate the young people of the community. The always-popular Gala will be held amid the Berkshires’ autumn splendor, on October 10.
fall and holiday season shows
Following a jam-packed summer season, the year continues with an exciting fall show—a Tony Simotes-directed farcical take on the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles—plus a newly added holiday season production, Irina Brook’s direction of Cindy Bella (or the Glass Slipper), and a winter production of award-winning Les Liaisons Dangereuses directed by Tina Packer, featuring this season’s Bad Dates star Elizabeth Aspenlieder, a show that stretches Shakespeare & Company’s upcoming season all the way to mid-March of 2010.
Tickets for the 2009-2010 Season will go on sale the morning of Thursday, March 5. To receive a season brochure, purchase tickets and gift certificates, or inquire about discounts and further information, please contact the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit the website at www.shakespeare.org or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.