The production was adapted from Shakespeare by resident director Brian B. Crowe. This is the world premiere of Crowe's take on the tales.
Performances began Oct. 10 and continue to Nov. 11 at The Shakespeare Theatre's Main Stage, the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre at 36 Madison Avenue in Madison, NJ, on the campus of Drew University.
This premiere is one of the most ambitious productions in the resident Equity troupe's history, a spokesman confirmed. The large cast of 24, the rare look at these Henrys, the three-hour distillation of what would be a nine-hour epic all make this a major event.
The design elements from the earlier Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey production of Henry V are echoed in this new staging, but physical decay has set in to echo the condition of the kingdom. The same design team is on hand. According to production notes, "The great legacy of peace and prosperity left by King Henry V crumbles under the struggle between the House of York and the House of Lancaster during the bloody and devastating War of the Roses. Beginning just a few short years after Henry V ends, at the funeral of King Henry, Henry VI: Blood & Roses spans nearly 50 years as the child-king Henry VI fights for control against the feuding opposition. Even in adulthood, his cause is further weakened by his own shortcomings and doubts. In the course of Shakespeare's trilogy, now condensed into one highly-charged and thrilling evening of theatre, civil war ensues, leading to the rise of the tyrannical and dangerous Richard III."
Leading the large cast of 24 actors is Ryan Farley in his Shakespeare Theatre debut as King Henry VI. Broadway veteran John Hickok (Little Women, Parade) joins The Shakespeare Theatre company for the first time in the role of Gloucester, Henry's uncle and "protector." Young Shakespeare Theatre veteran Derek Wilson returns to The Shakespeare Theatre to play Richard.
Angela Pierce returns to The Shakespeare Theatre to play Queen Margaret. Rufus Collins makes his debut at The Shakespeare Theatre as the Duke of York. William Metzo returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his fourth season to play Winchester.
Rounding out the cast of 24 are Clark Carmichael, Tristan Coltan, Frank Copeland, Jordan Coughtry, Will Davis, Joe Discher, Maurine Evans, Roderick Lapid, Terence MacSweeny, Daniel Marconi, Garth McCardle, Fletcher McTaggart, Jed Peterson, Tom Robenolt, Patricia Skarbinski, Theodore Thurlow, Scott Whitehurst and Jo Williamson.
Director Crowe has been developing and workshopping Shakespeare's Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 and 3 for several years. Now in his 12th season with the theatre, Crowe has directed Julius Caesar, Love's Labour's Lost, The Tempest and The Comedy of Errors on the main stage in addition to Taming of the Shrew on the Outdoor Stage and the world premiere of his original script, Wonderland (…and What was Found There) on the Other Stage.
The creative team includes set designer Michael Schweikardt, lighting designer S. Ryan Schmidt, costume designer Dane Laffrey and sound designer Guy Sherman. Fight choreography is by Doug West, and Kathy Snyder serves as production stage manager.
For tickets or more information call (973) 408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.