Bang the Drum! Mother Meryl Takes the Stage at the Delacorte in Brecht Classic

News   Bang the Drum! Mother Meryl Takes the Stage at the Delacorte in Brecht Classic
 
Meryl Streep will play the iconic leading role in Mother Courage, Bertolt Brecht's classic anti-war drama, beginning performances at Central Park's Delacorte Theater Aug. 8. Opening is Aug. 21.
Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Streep has some good company in the production by New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater. Kevin Kline will play the role of the Cook. Austin Pendleton plays the Chaplain.

Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Caroline, or Change) has penned a new world premiere translation of the 1941 Brecht work, written while Brecht was in exile from his native Germany. Kushner's Caroline, or Change collaborator Jeanine Tesori has created original music. George C. Wolfe will direct.

In the major work by Brecht, who is known for his wish to always keep the audience aware of the theatre event and conscious of the ideas of the play, "we follow Mother Courage over a period of 12 years as one by one her children Kattrin, Eilif and Swiss Cheese are taken away by a vicious war," according to Public Theater notes. "As Mother Courage seeks to profit from the war that is killing her children, she questions the roles of honesty, virtue and family in the face of a bitter struggle for survival."

Mother Courage continues to Sept. 3.

Mother Courage's three unfortunate children will be portrayed by Frederick Weller (as Eilif), Geoffrey Arend (as Swiss Cheese) and, as the mute Kattrin, Alexandria Wailes, the deaf actress who came to attention in Broadway's Big River and Off-Broadway's recent revival of Children of a Lesser God. Jack Noseworthy, remembered from the Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success, will portray various roles. Jenifer Lewis will play the long-suffering tart Yvette.

Also in the cast are Raul Aranas, Max Baker, Ato Essandoh, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Glenn Fleshler, Michael Izquierdo, Eugene Jones, George Kmeck, Paco Lozano, Michael Markham, Larry Marshall, Sean Phillips, Silvestre Rasuk, Brittany Underwood, Jade Wu and Waleed Zuaiter.

The Kline and Streep casting brings with it echoes of the Public Theater's 2001 revival of Chekhov's The Seagull, which featured the two actors. The two are also well known for their pairing in the film "Sophie's Choice."

Mother Courage will be the first of two Public assignments Kline will essay this year. In the fall, he's scheduled to tackle the title role in King Lear with James Lapine directing. It is also part of a summer season of war-oriented plays which began with Macbeth and will continue with a single Park performance of Stuff Happens.

How do you snag tickets to the free summer productions at the Delacorte?

Pick up your free Shakespeare in the Park tickets on the day of the performance beginning at 1 PM at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park or from 1 to 3 PM at The Public Theater box office, 425 Lafayette Street.

There will be limited ticket distribution for the following performances: Aug.15, Aug. 21, and Aug. 31.

There will be an open-captioned performance of Mother Courage and Her Children on Sept. 3. The sign language-interpreted performance by Hands On will be Aug. 27.

For more information, visit www.publictheater.org.

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