Ruben Santiago-Hudson had progressed from Tony-winning work in last season's Seven Guitars to six wives in the title role of Henry VIII, inaugurating the 1997 season of free Shakespeare in New York's Central Park. In previews since June 13, the production opens June 26 and runs through July 9.
He will play the British monarch in this seldom-seen Shakespearean work, which is only now making its first appearance in the New York Shakespeare Festival.
It was the last play that the Bard wrote, and it is the last production in the Shakespeare Marathon, begun ten years ago by NYSF's late founder, Joseph Papp, in a conscious attempt to present all 36 plays in Shakespeare's canon.
Jayne Atkinson, who was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her title performance of Skriker, will play Katherine to Santiago Hudson's Henry VIII, and Josef Sommer will be seen in the role of Cardinal Wolsey.
Prominent in support: Michael (Taking Sides) Stuhlbarg, Larry (Picnic) Bryggman, Herb (Sympathetic Magic) Foster and Teagle F. (Tempest) Bougere. Rounding out the cast are Liliana Amador, Tom Aulino, Emma Bowers, Sam Caitlin, John Eillson Conlee, Adam Dannheisser, Angel Desai, Peter Jay Fernandez, Julia Gibson, Mark Hammer, Jason Butler Harner, Bette Henritze, Marin Hinkle, Michael Hyatt, Reuben Jackson, Stephen Kunken, Andrew Brooks McGinn, Julia McIlvane, Julio Monge, Miguel Perez, Ana Reeder, Daniel Sunjata, Sybyl Walker.
The Director is Mary Zimmerman, an artistic associate at Chicago's Goodman Theatre who makes occasional forays into New York Theatre. Her direction of The Arabian Nights for Manhattan Theatre Club won a Drama Desk nomination.
Henry VIII will continue to be performed nightly, Tuesday through Sunday at 8 PM, through Wednesday, July 9, at the Delacorte Theatre.
Tickets are free and can be picked up daily for that evening's performance starting at 1 PM At the Delacorte in Central Park. The are also distributed between 1 and 3 PM At The Public Theatre. Only two tickets per person.
-- By Harry Haun