Previews began Sept. 6 at CSC's Off-Broadway home on East 13th Street.
Michael Cumpsty (of Broadway's Enchanted April, Copenhagen, Democracy, 42nd Street) stars as the royal who "wasted time" in the 1597 play. Part of the great "Henrys" cycle by the bard, the historical tragedy addresses issues of absolute power, and is rich with poetry. Performances play to Oct. 15.
This marks the third Shakespearean collaboration between Cumpsty and director Brian Kulick, CSC's artistic director, after Timon of Athens for The Public Theater and CSC's Hamlet, for which Cumpsty received an Obie Award for his title performance.
The Richard II cast includes Jon DeVries as John of Gaunt, George Morfogen as the Duke of York, Graham Winton as Bolingbroke, Doan Ly as Queen Isabelle, David Greenspan as Bagit/Bishop, Jesse Pennington as Aumerle, Craig Baldwin as Northumberland, Ellen Parker as Duchess of York, and Bernarda De Paula as Bushy. Richard II features scenic design by Tom Gleeson, lighting design by Brian H. Scott, costume design by Oana Botez-Ban, and sound design by Jorge Muelle.
CSC will "dovetail" the run of Richard II with the return of its popular Open Rehearsal Series, this time focusing on Christopher Marlowe's Edward II.
According to Brian Kulick, "By placing these two works side by side, one can see the dramatic rivalry between these two great playwrights, revealing Shakespeare's profound debt to Marlowe, whose own play on the fall of another of England's deposed monarchs still has the power to shock and amaze." Marlowe will be heard three consecutive Sunday evenings — Sept. 24, Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. The acting company of Richard II, led by Cumpsty and working with director Kulick, will explore one act each week of Marlowe's "spectacularly wicked play that was the inspiration for Richard II."
Richard II plays Tuesday through Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 3 PM.
Michael Cumpsty has appeared on Broadway in the acclaimed Roundabout production of The Constant Wife and in Michael Frayn's Democracy and Copenhagen, as well as Enchanted April, 42nd Street, Electra, 1776, Racing Demon, The Heiress, Translations, La Bête and Artist Descending a Staircase.
For information, visit www.classicstage.org, or call (212) 352-3101 or toll free at (866) 811-4111, or visit the theatre in person at 136 E. 13th Street.