Staged readings of rare plays by great writers of the pre-20th century era, including Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus starring Patrick Page, Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist with John Douglas Thompson, Aphra Behn’s comedy of intrigue The Rover and two Molière comedies, will be heard in New York City during the 2017–18 season as part of the Revelation Readings series, starting October 2 and running through June 2018.
Hosted by Off-Broadway’s Red Bull Theatre the series will feature performances by a stable of New York actors including two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella (Angels in America), Tony Award nominees Mary Testa (42nd Street) and Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher), Patrick Page, Christopher Innvar, Mark Linn-Baker, Stephen DeRosa, Dion Johnstone, Nadine Malouf, Ismenia Mendes, Pedro Pascal, Matthew Rauch, Reg Rogers, Thomas Jay Ryan, Jeanine Serralles, Miriam Silverman, Derek Smith, John Douglas Thompson, Marc Vietor, CJ Wilson, and others to be announced.
The season kicks off October 2 with the one-night-only benefit performance of Marivaux's The Triumph of Love, starring Celia Keenan-Bolger, Arnie Burton, Zach Grenier, Clifton Duncan, Carson Elrod, Kathryn Meisle, and Molly Ranson. Special guests include Robert Cuccioli, Kelley Curran, Lisa Harrow, David Ives, James Magruder, Roberta Maxwell, Ismenia Mendes, Matthew Rauch, Laila Robins, Derek Smith, Marc Vietor, and Nick Westrate.
The Triumph of Love benefit will be held at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, at 95th Street). Future shows will be presented at 7:30 PM at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street in Manhattan, as follows, with descriptions supplied by Red Bull Theatre:
November 13 - The Rover by Aphra Behn, directed by Louisa Proske, and featuring Christopher Innvar, Nadine Malouf, Howard Overshown, Matthew Rauch, Marc Vietor, and CJ Wilson. It’s Naples, during carnival, and anything can and does happen. Two Spanish sisters don masks and take to the streets, one to reunite with her true love, the other to find a man and evade her fate at the nunnery. Enter a trio of English rakes looking for kicks, and we get raucous and raunchy Restoration comedy at its best. From the pen of the first professional female playwright comes a play that challenges 17th century notions of marriage, while asking timeless questions of sexual politics. How far will women go, to follow their hearts’ desire? And just how badly can men behave before they have to put a ring on it?
December 11 - Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, directed by Daniel Sullivan, starring Patrick Page and Stephen Spinella. With the Good Angel and Bad Angel at each shoulder, which way do you turn? Doctor Faustus, an expert in every subject from Medicine to Divinity, tries to satisfy his hunger for knowledge by indulging in necromancy. In a devilish pact, he’s granted 24 years with magic at his fingertips. But with the clock ticking down, how has Faustus used his time? And will he repent, before it’s too late? Marlowe dramatizes the German legend as only he could, igniting Elizabethan audiences—who swore actual devils appeared on stage—and cementing the young playwright’s reputation before his own untimely death.
January 15 - Hernani by Victor Hugo, translated by John Strand, directed by Ethan McSweeny, featuring Ismenia Mendes, Luis Moreno, and Pedro Pascal. A tale of passion and intrigue from the young Victor Hugo (later of Les Miserables fame), complete with sword fights, a lover in disguise, and deadly poisoned cup. The play begins in the fictional Spanish court of 1519 with the king Don Carlos sneaking into the bedchamber of the beautiful Doña Sol, who is tragically betrothed to her elderly uncle, and already plotting her escape with the mysterious bandit Hernani. With three men in love with one woman, could it ever end well? The play famously incited a riot in its 1830 Paris premiere, as the Romantics and Classicists duked it out over dramatic structure.
February 12 - Don Juan by Molière, adapted and directed by Stephen Wadsworth, featuring Mary Bacon, Stephen DeRosa, Francesca Faridany, Adam Greer, Mary Lou Rosato, Allen Tedder, Adam Stein, and Mary Testa. In the hands of the great Molière, Don Juan is as much anarchic philosopher as irresistible lover, discoursing with his servant Sganarelle on heaven and hell, sex and politics, as he jumps from bed to bed, breaking every rule in the book. After its shocking opening night in 1665 Paris, the courtly censors had their way with the script, and it wasn’t seen as the playwright intended for generations.
March 19 - The Alchemist by Ben Jonson, directed by Jesse Berger, featuring Christian Conn, Whitney Maris Brown, Ryan Garbayo, Jason Kravits, Steven Rattazzi, Jeanine Serralles, Derek Smith, David Ryan Smith, and John Douglas Thompson. When the plague hits, Lovewit flees town and foolishly entrusts his Blackfriars house to his servant Jeremy, who promptly sets up shop with fellow con man Subtle and the brilliantly sexy prostitute Doll Common. Claiming alchemical powers, the three scam a series of memorable chumps including Sir Epicure Mammon, a Falstaffian figure with an epic sensual appetite. No one escapes Jonson’s searing wit in this satire of greed and folly, set in his own Jacobean London, in the very neighborhood where he once lived.
April 16 - The Second Maiden’s Tragedy by Thomas Middleton, directed by Craig Baldwin, featuring Susan Heyward, Dion Johnstone, Bhavesh Patel, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Miriam Silverman. A juicy romantic thriller, in the tradition of The Revenger’s Tragedy, this gem was resurrected from a single handwritten Jacobean manuscript, without title or author. The play tells the tragic tale of two sisters—known simply as Lady and Wife—each unwittingly caught in a love triangle and facing a test of her fidelity. But will both sisters pass? Inspired both by Talmudic legend and the story of a Christian martyr, the play features one of the most gruesome love suicides of the age, and a scene of necrophilia to boot.
May 14 - A Doctor in Spite of Himself by Molière, adapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp, directed by Christopher Bayes and starring Liam Craig, Austin Durant, Steven Epp, Renata Friedman, Gabriel Levey, Justine Williams, and Liz Wisan. What’s a girl to do, to avoid her unwanted wedding? Pretend she’s been struck mute, of course. And with the help of a dissolute, drunken woodcutter posing as her doctor, trick her rich old fool of a father.
June 18 - The Clandestine Marriage by David Garrick and George Colman the Elder, directed by Marc Vietor, starring Mark Linn-Baker, Talene Monahon, Reg Rogers and Ryan Spahn, Wealthy merchant Mr. Sterling tries to better his social standing by marrying his eldest daughter Betsy to Sir John Melvil. Just one problem: Melvil is in love with the younger daughter Fanny, who happens to be secretly married to the humble clerk, Lovewell. And it’s up to Lovewell to convince Melvil to look elsewhere. Set in the finely landscaped garden of Sterling’s country home, it’s effervescent comedy of manners at its finest—co-authored by David Garrick, famed actor-manager-playwright of London’s great Drury Lane Theatre.
For more information about the Revelation Readings series visit Redbulltheater.com.