Kelly McGillis stars as The Duchess of Malfi in The Shakespeare Theatre's revival of the Jacobean revenge tragedy, opening Jan. 28 at the not-for-profit resident theatre in Washington, DC. Artistic director Michael Kahn directs the poetic and nasty John Webster play about the noblewoman who marries for love, denying her brothers — the Duke Ferdinand and the Cardinal — control over her and her wealth. Previews began Jan. 22 and performances continue to March 10.
McGillis returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for the first time since 1997's Mourning Becomes Electra. She is widely known as a film actress in "Witness," "Top Gun" and "The Accused."
"The world of the Duchess is extravagant but in flux," says Kahn in production notes. "Webster explores the darker regions of man's relationship to man using poetic and emotional language."
The cast includes Donald Carrier (as twin Ferdinand), Edward Gero (as the Cardinal), Andrew Long (as spy Bosola), Robert Tyree (as the Duchess' love, Antonio), Robert L. Devaney (Delio), Elizabeth Long (Julia), Emery Battis (Castruchio and the Mad Astologian), David Sabin (Roderigo), Floyd King (Doctor and Mad Doctor), Caroline Clay (Cariola), Andrea Fierson-Toney, Christopher Marino, Cameron McElyea, Ashley Strand, Michelle Shupe, Christopher Knight Bagg, Lolita Foster, Paul Nicholas and Matthew Walsh.
Designers are Walt Spangler (set), Robert Perdziola (costume), Amy Appleyard (lighting) and Martin Desjardins (sound). Adam Wernick serves as composer.
Tickets range $14.50-$63. The Shakespeare Theatre is at 450 7th Street NW, between D and E streets. For information, call (202) 547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
— By Kenneth Jones