Director Emily Mann, according to McCarter, "has crafted a new point of view for this powerful work, one that streamlines the political aspects in favor of a lean, energetic story focused sharply on the love between two leaders at a major crossroads in time."
Mann said, "Indeed, if Romeo and Juliet is the Bard's take on the perils and passions of first love, Antony & Cleopatra is his ode to the smoldering and complex nature of last love. It is the work of a master playwright at the top of his game."
The cast also includes Philippe Bowgen as Agrippa, Keith Eric Chappelle as Soothsayer/Menas, Zainab Jah as Charmian, Mairin Lee as Iras/Octavia, Warner Miller as Eros, Everett Quinton as Mardian/Clown, Tobias Segal as Octavius Caesar, Thom Sesma as Lepidus/Scarus/Diomedes and Michael Siberry as Enobarbus.
The production also features live music from percussionist Mark Katsaounis.
Here's how McCarter bills the play: "She was the seductive queen of Egypt and he one of the generals of Rome. Their tempestuous love affair would tear empires apart. Nicole Ari Parker (Boogie Nights, Soul Food) and Esau Pritchett (Fences) join director Emily Mann for this sizzling production of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, one of literature's great masterpieces. Full of romance, passion, and betrayal, don't miss this intimate tale of two legendary lovers whose desires shaped the destiny of the world." Performances continue through Oct. 5.
The production also has scenic design by Daniel Ostling, lighting design by Edward Pierce, costume design by Paul Tazewell, sound design and composition by Mark Bennett, movement direction by Peter Pucci and fight direction by J. Allen Suddeth.
McCarter Theatre Center is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ. For more information and tickets, visit McCarter.org.