With a popularity William Shakespeare himself could envy, Amy Freed's comedy, The Beard of Avon, has already extended an extra week at Seattle Repertory Theatre, despite the fact previews don't begin until Nov. 5. The Beard of Avon opens Nov. 12 for a run through Dec. 22. Seattle Rep's artistic director Sharon Ott directs the play, already on several regional theatres' plates after its world premiere at South Coast Repertory Theatre in June.
The Beard of Avon proposes that Shakespeare, the actor (here spelled Shakspere, in homage to a man who rarely spelled his last name the same way twice) was a "beard" or cover up for a more genteel writer. Perhaps this mysterious person is the Earl of Oxford or Sir Francis Bacon or even Queen Elizabeth. Freed is the author of Freedomland and The Psychic Life of Savages.
Dan Donohue stars as Shakspere with Lori Larsen as Queen Elizabeth I. Also in the cast are Eric Ray Anderson (Colin et al), Laurence Ballard (De Vere/Peasant), Julie Briskman (Anne et al), Ron Campbell (Burbage et al), Jason Cottle (Wriothesley et al), Peter Crook (Bacon et al), Nick Garrison (Dunderbread et al), David Gehrman (Minstrel) and Robert Sicular (Heminge et al).
Designing The Beard of Avon are Kent Dorsey (sets), Anna Oliver (costumes), Robert Jared (lighting) and Christopher Walker (sound). Joseph Smelser is the stage manager.
Tickets are $44-$36. Seattle Repertory Theatre is located in the Seattle Center at the corner of Second Avenue and Mercer Street. For reservations, call (206) 443-2222. Seattle Repertory Theatre is on the web at http://www.seattlerep.org. — By Christine Ehren