Harold Scott directs the work featuring an African-American cast at the New Haven, Connecticut company's University Theatre through March 13. Opening night is scheduled for Feb. 19.
Brooks (Paul Robeson, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") stars in the title role of tale of the fallen monarch and his feuding daughters. He is joined by Che Ayende (as Oswald), Johnny Lee Davenport (Kent), Justin Emeka (Edgar), Ray Ford (Fool), Wiley Moore (France), Petronia Paley (Regan), Jovan Rameau (Burgundy), John Livingstone Rolle (Albany), Roslyn Ruff (Cordelia), Marie Thomas (Goneril), John Douglas Thompson (Edmund), David Toney (Cornwall) and Charles Turner (Glouchester). The ensemble features Mark Sage Hamilton, Albert Lawrence and Kobi Libii.
The design team of King Lear features Blythe Quinlan (scenic), Jessica Ford (costume), Ryan Schmidt (lighting) and Phillip Peglow (sound). Catherine Sheehy and John Hanlon serve as dramaturgs, Beth McGuire is the vocal coach, Lakai Worrell is movement consultant and Rick Sordelet handles fight direction. The production features music composed by Tony Davis. Eli Fountain is music director.
Director Scott has set the classic play in Mesoamerica among the Olmecs. "This setting allows the mythic tale of untamed and unalloyed passion to drive the story from an historical black perspective," states a release. Scott directed The Mighty Gents starring Morgan Freeman, Suddenly Last Summer with Elizabeth Ashley and Paul Robeson with King Lear star Brooks on Broadway.
Lear is one of the Bard's lesser-produced works, though one would not know it this season, as Lincoln Center Theater is also staging the classic. Christopher Plummer stars in the New York staging which began Feb. 11 at the Vivan Beaumont Theatre. For tickets to King Lear at Yale Rep's University Theatre, 222 York Street in New Haven, CT, call (203) 432-1234 or go online at www.yalerep.org.