The Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park has announced the casting of the lead title roles in its summer productions of Henry V and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Michelle Terry will star in Robert Hastie's production of Henry V, beginning performances June 17 prior to an official opening June 22 for a run through July 9. Terry, an Olivier winner for Tribes seen at the Royal Court in 2011, is currently onstage at the National in Sarah Kane's Cleansed. She has also appeared frequently at the Globe, RSC and National Theatres.
In a press statement, Hastie commented, "Michelle has the compassion, the wit and the imagination that mark out the really great Shakespearean actors. I'm thrilled by what she'll bring to Henry. There's no-one I'd like to see play this part more. It's tremendously exciting that we are collectively rethinking who has access to Shakespeare's great roles. Henry V is a study in leadership and who we think is entitled to lead, as well as being a play about war and peace and England's place in the world. This summer we're expecting the results of a MOD consultation that aims to put female soldiers on the front line of combat, as well as the publication at last of the Chilcott report into why our country goes to war, and who we trust to take us there. As he has done pretty much every year since he died 400 years ago, Shakespeare is proving himself our contemporary. Our first night is the day before the EU referendum. I can't think of a better time to stage this play about England's relationship with its European neighbours."
Declan Bennett, who originated the role of Guy in the original London production of Once, is to play the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar, beginning performances July 15 prior to an official opening July 21, for a run through August 27. Bennett has also appeared in Boy George's musical Taboo (Venue Theatre), Rent (U.S. tour and Broadway), American Idiot (Broadway) as well as on BBC’s EastEnders as Charlie Cotton.
In a press statement, Timothy Sheader, artistic director at Regent's Park who will also be directing the production, commented, "Casting the iconic roles of Jesus and Henry V was about finding voices which would foster a new engagement with the stories. Declan's music background brings a particular skill set and authenticity to this gig-like production of the show, and his past stage work in Rent, American Idiot and Once makes his Jesus a particularly exciting prospect."
Further casting for both productions is still to be announced.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 826 4242 or visit openairtheatre.com.