- Three-time Emmy Award-winner Christopher Lloyd, Emmy, SAG Award-nominee Finn Wittrock star in Hamlet – A Staged Reading
- Stage-and-screen veteran Karen Allen returns to the Shakespeare & Company stage in the World Premiere of Lunar Eclipse, by Donald Margulies
- Tony Award-winner Reed Birney joins Allen in Lunar Eclipse, September 15 – October 22
- Icon of the horror genre Tony Todd stars as Troy Maxson in August Wilson’s Fences
- Jefferson Award-winner Ella Joyce stars as Rose Maxson in August Wilson’s Fences
- Jacob Ming-Trent, appearing now in PBS’ Great Performances: Merry Wives, appears in The Contention and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Elliot Norton Award-winner Annette Miller reprises the role she originated 20 years ago, Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony
LENOX, Mass. – With marquee actors including Christopher Lloyd, Karen Allen, Tony Todd, Ella Joyce, Reed Birney, Annette Miller, Jacob Ming-Trent, and Finn Wittrock added to the boards among many others, casts have been announced for Shakespeare & Company’s 46th Season Thieves of Love, opening Friday, May 26 and running through October 22, 2023.
Artistic Director Allyn Burrows said the season is all the more exciting for the variety of top-notch artistry brought to the programming.
“We’re thrilled that so many wonderful artists are eager to dive into these stories with us,” he said. “It speaks to the intrepid resilience of live theater and how the power of language and connection can bring us into community again.”
The season, which includes classic and contemporary productions held outdoors and indoors, opens on Friday, May 28, with Ken Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise, directed by Ariel Bock. This World War II-era two-hander features David Gow returning for his fifth season with Shakespeare & Company as Jack, and Zoya Martin, making her Berkshires debut, as Louise.
The Contention (Henry VI, Part II), by William Shakespeare, is directed this year by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, with Associate Directors Kate Kohler Amory and Sheila Bandyopadhyay.
One of Shakespeare’s most quotable plays and arguably the source material for HBO’s Game of Thrones, this production includes long-held Company Artists Allyn Burrows and Jonathan Epstein, who starred in Shakespeare & Company’s lauded production of A Walk in the Woods last season; David Bertoldi, most recently seen in its 2021 production of King Lear, and Nigel Gore (Tina Packer’s Women of Will), Tamara Hickey (Equalizer 2, John and the Hole), L. James (Law and Order, FBI), and Bella Merlin (Mente Revolver, The Objective), all of whom featured in last season’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Jacob Ming-Trent, who can be seen now as Falstaff in PBS’ Great Performances: Merry Wives, a televised adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor performed by The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, as well as the 2021 HBO documentary Reopening Night, which follows the same production, joins the cast as well as that of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He’s also currently a series regular on White Famous (Showtime) and Watchmen (HBO), among many other appearances.
Kenneth Ransom, known for his critically acclaimed turn in the 2016 film Gods of Egypt as the Sphinx, and Austyn Williamson, making his Berkshires debut, round out The Contention’s cast.
August Wilson’s Fences, directed by Christopher V. Edwards, will feature stage-and-screen veterans Ella Joyce and Tony Todd – Joyce, a Los Angeles Ovation Award-winner for her performance in Wilson’s King Hedley II, is best known for the Fox comedy-drama sitcom Roc, Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, and many other roles.
Todd, a horror icon (Candyman, Final Destination, Scream) with more than 100 credits to his name including Platoon, The Crow, and several characters in the Star Trek universe, is also known for a wide array of stage performances including originating the title role in the World Premiere of August Wilson’s King Hedley II in Pittsburgh, Boston, and Seattle.
The cast of this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play also includes “ranney”, who most recently appeared at Shakespeare & Company last season in Hymn by Lolita Chakrabarti; L. James, Kenneth Ransom, and Ja’ Quan Malik Jones making his Shakespeare & Company debut.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare is directed this season by Allyn Burrows, with nods toward the 1970s. The cast includes Shakespeare & Company veterans Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Gina Fonseca, Nigel Gore, Sara Linares, Madeleine Rose Maggio, Naire Poole, and Michael F. Toomey, as well as Jacob Ming-Trent appearing as Bottom. Blake Hamilton Currie, Javier David, Carlos Olmedo, and Sheila Bandyopadhyay, the Company’s Director of Actor Training, are making their Shakespeare & Company mainstage debuts.
Golda’s Balcony by William Gibson, the inspiring story of Golda Meir – Russian immigrant, American school teacher, and fourth Prime Minister of Israel – returns to Shakespeare & Company after having its World Premiere staged here in 2002, with Elliot Norton Award-winning Annette Miller reprising the role she originated. Daniel Gidron also returns to direct.
Hamlet – A Staged Reading by William Shakespeare will be directed by founding Shakespeare & Company member Kevin G. Coleman, a two-time Tony Award nominee for Excellence in Theatre Education. This limited run will feature the multi-decade pop-culture icon and three-time Emmy Award-winner Christopher Lloyd and Berkshires native Finn Wittrock, who began his acting career at Shakespeare & Company and has since earned two Emmy nominations (American Horror Story: Freak Show, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (The Big Short), among other accolades.
Lunar Eclipse by Donald Margulies stages its World Premiere this year at Shakespeare & Company, directed by James Warwick and featuring Karen Allen and Reed Birney. Allen first worked with the Company in 1988, playing Rosalind in As You Like It. She has starred in more than 50 films including Animal House, The Wanderers, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman, Scrooged, and many others – currently, she’s readying to direct a feature film based on Joan Ackermann’s play The Batting Cage in 2024.
Birney’s most recent films include Fran Kranz’s Mass (Independent Spirit’s Robert Altman Award, Gotham Award Nomination), The Menu, and The Hunt, among many other credits. He will next appear in Part Two of Kevin Costner’s epic four-part film Horizon. On television, he has been seen recently on Poker Face, Succession, Evil, and The Handmaid’s Tale, and on stage, he last appeared with his son Ephraim at The Irish Rep in Joseph Dougherty’s Chester Bailey.
For more information, visit shakespeare.org, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.
About Shakespeare & Company
Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 by Tina Packer. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Company offers performance, education, and actor-training opportunities year-round, and attracts more than 40,000 patrons annually with a core of more than 150 artists.