BAM's Spring Season to Include Shaw in Happy Days and Stewart in Macbeth

News   BAM's Spring Season to Include Shaw in Happy Days and Stewart in Macbeth Olivier Award winner Fiona Shaw — whose hailed, sold-out performance of Medea at the Brooklyn Academy of Music resulted in a Broadway run — will return to the Brooklyn stage to open BAM's spring season.
Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart

Shaw is set to reunite with Medea director Deborah Warner in the National Theatre of Great Britain's production of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days. Shaw will co-star with Tim Potter in Beckett's existential two-hander.

Since premiering at the Royal National Theatre in early 2007, Warner's production of Happy Days has been touring to international acclaim. Happy Days will play BAM's Harvey Theater from Jan. 8–Feb. 2, 2008.

"Buried to above her waist and woken by a piercing bell, Winnie (Shaw) chatters away to her husband Willie (Potter), who all but ignores her. She rummages in a bag, brushes her teeth, pulls out and kisses a gun, surrounded by blazing light and a scorched-earth landscape, which, in the second act, becomes an even more futile post-apocalyptic scenario," press notes state.

Following Happy Days will be the U.S. premiere of the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart.

Rupert Goold directs the production, currently enjoying a sold-out engagement in London's West End. BAM will import the production of Shakespeare's bloody fight for the crown with a British cast that includes Michael Feast as Macduff, Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth, Paul Shelly as Duncan and Martin Turner as Banquo. Macbeth, which Goold has set in a "subterranean kitchen that serves as a military hospital in a timeless and nameless country," fills the BAM's Harvey Theater from Feb. 12–Mar. 22, 2008.

In April original cast members John Kani and Winston Ntshona reprise their Tony Award-winning roles in Athol Fugard's Sizwe Banzi Is Dead. Penned by Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, according to production notes, "tells the story of a man ordered to leave a district because he lacks the proper permit. He trades his name for a number and begins life as a dead man, wreaking havoc with his identity and sense of right and wrong. Delicately balancing humor and pathos, the work offers both a psychological history of the apartheid nightmare and timeless parables of the dehumanizing paradoxes of power."

Following a 2006 revival for the Baxter Theatre Centre at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead transferred to London's National Lyttelton Theatre in March 2007. The production will play BAM's Harvey Theater April 9-13.

Concurrent with BAM's theatrical schedule, numerous music performances and dance productions fill out the spring season.

Blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples, whose voice is a signature call of the civil rights movement, will perform songs from her latest album "We'll Never Turn Back" as a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The evening in the Howard Gilman Opera House is scheduled for Jan. 22. Staples will also take part in a keynote interview at BAM's 22nd Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the morning of Jan 21.

Brooklyn Next, BAM's second annual local music fest, showcases Brooklyn's diverse music scene featuring performances at the Gilman Opera house. Those currently scheduled to perform include Soulive (Feb. 15); Citizen Cope (Feb. 16); The National (Feb. 22); and Dan Zanes & Friends (Feb. 24).

The State Ballet of Georgia will make its New York premiere with a company led by ballerina Nina Ananiashvili and Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Andrei Uvarov. The company is slated to perform several new pieces, as well as Balanchine's "Chaconne" and "Dreams about Japan," choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, from Feb. 27–March 2.

The contemporary Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo will return to BAM with the staging of the New York premieres of "Benguele" and "Breu." Grupo Corpo's Afro-Brazilian fusion of ballet, jazz, and modern dance runs March 25-29.

BAM's longest-running performance series, DanceAfrica, continues in its 31st year with "Bridge to Cultural Rejuvenation & Enlightenment." The celebration features the visiting Gambian company of Ceesay Kujabi and the Bachinab, and Giwayen Mata; the return of LaRocque Bey School of Dance Theatre, Inc.; and the BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble. DanceAfrica 2008 runs May 23-26.

Domenico Cimarosa and Giovanni Bertati's opera buffa Il matrimonio segreto, a "humorous cautionary tale about the consequences of keeping secrets," will feature the Brooklyn Philharmonic led by conductor Paul Goodwin from May 28–June 4.

Concluding BAM's spring season will be the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presented by the Joyce Theater. The Alvin Ailey company will present "Classic Ailey" and "Best Of," including a new work by choreographer Camille A. Brown, from June 3–8 at BAM's Gilman Opera house.

For further information visit www.BAM.org.