Shakespeare Theatre Announces Complete Cast of Lorenzaccio in DC; Cuccioli & Carlson are De Medicis

News   Shakespeare Theatre Announces Complete Cast of Lorenzaccio in DC; Cuccioli & Carlson are De Medicis Broadway's Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde) and Jeffrey Carlson (Taboo) are among cast members in The Shakespeare Theatre's Jan. 18-March 6, 2005, staging of Alfred De Musset's Lorenzaccio.

Cuccioli and Carlson were previously announced by the resident Washington, DC, company. Now, the complete cast of the Renaissance-set play has been confirmed. This is a world premiere translation and adaptation of the French classic, revised by Washington, DC, playwright John Strand.

Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Michael Kahn will direct a company that includes Jeffrey Carlson, Robert Cuccioli, Ralph Cosham, Tana Hicken, Michael Rudko, Chandler Vinton, company members Floyd King, David Sabin and Ted van Griethuysen, with Sean Brennan, Aubrey Deeker, David B. Heuvelman, Sebastian Rodriguez, John Livingstone Rolle, Bernard Burak Sheredy, J. Fred Shiffman and ensemble members Randolph Adams, Teresa Lim, Gamal Palmer, Tyler Pierce, Kim Stauffer, Patrick C. Tansor, Jonathan Wiener and Derek Wilson.

Jeffrey Carlson (Broadway's Taboo and Off-Broadway's Last Easter) makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut in the title role of Lorenzo de Medici.

Robert Cuccioli makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut as Alessandro de Medici, the Duke of Florence. Cuccioli most recently appeared in the title role of Macbeth at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Cuccioli received a Tony nomination for his performance in the title role of Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde.

"A standard of the French repertoire rarely performed in the United States, Lorenzaccio is a gripping drama of political intrigue, moral dilemmas and individual heroism," according to production notes. "The production is part of 'Paris on the Potomac,' a citywide celebration that honors the longstanding cultural ties between two world capitals: Washington, D.C. and Paris." Set against the backdrop of 16th-century Florence, Lorenzaccio "centers on the complex character of Lorenzo de Medici, friend and cousin to the notorious Alessandro de Medici, Duke of Florence. At the price of his moral and physical integrity, Lorenzo allies himself to the Duke in order to kill him, hoping to liberate Florence from the Duke's tyrannical rule. As Lorenzo's friends and family become ensnared in the Duke's corrupted web, he questions how far a man must go to see freedom and justice prevail."

John Strand's adaptations and original work have been produced at theatres across the country. His translations and adaptations include Moliére's The Miser, Lovers and Executioners (based on a play by Montfleury, a rival of Moliére), Tom Walker (based on the folk tale by Washington Irving), and Charity Royal (an adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel "Summer" ) — all for Arena Stage. His original plays include the book for the musical The Highest Yellow, Three Nights in Tehran, The Cockburn Rituals, The Diaries, Otabenga and Lincolnesque, a new play about contemporary politics to be presented by South Coast Repertory. Nominated several times for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play, Strand won the award in 1999 for Lovers and Executioners.

The production's creative team includes Ming Cho Lee, Blythe R.D. Quinlan and Evonne Paik (scenic), Murrell Horton (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting), Scott Kilian (music and sound) and Brad Waller (fight choreography).

The visual backdrop of the production includes a larger-than-life reproduction of Carlo Crivelli's painting "Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine."

The Shakespeare Theatre is at 450 7th St. NW, between D and E streets, just off Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Capitol and the White House.

Tickets are $12.75-$68. For information, call (202) 547-1122 or (877) 487-8849 or visit www.shakespearedc.org.

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"The play begins at time when the Republic of Florence has failed, and the de Medicis have taken power," artistic director Michael Kahn explained in production notes. "Florence is no longer free, no longer democratic. The play takes a good and hard look at people's response to this change. Do people allow themselves to become corrupted? Does politics become more important than morality? Does the end justify the means?"

He continued, "All of the characters are caught up in this maelstrom of politics, and—like in Shakespeare—their personal politics are entangled in that. Lorenzo is inspired by this idea of democratic government, but in order to make that idea reality, he must commit questionable acts. The play doesn't answer all the questions it asks, but it does leave you thinking about what makes good leadership, what makes good government."

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