Ted van Griethuysen starring as the tragic King Lear will kick off Washington D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre 1999-2000 season, Aug. 31 - Oct. 24. One of the greatest tragedies ever written, King Lear tells the story of the division of a kingdom and the banishment of a daughter. Artistic director Michael Kahn will direct.
In "Asides," a folio put out by the Shakespeare Theatre, van Griethuysen wrote, "I know that Charles Lamb wrote in one of his essays that the play was `unstageable' and that Lear was `uplayable,'...I thought it was an interesting thing to say, but I had an idea that Lamb wasn't right... I think that Lear is like Hamlet in that no one person's interpretation is going to satisfy everyone. It's not possible because the character is so big."
Another highlight of the season is Michael Hayden (Carousel, Far East) playing the title role in Shakespeare's political drama, Coriolanus, which will be directed by artistic director Michael Kahn and will run Jan. 18-March 12, 2000. Hayden will also play Kilroy, the doomed boxer in Tennessee Williams' expressionistic classic Camino Real (May 30-July 23, 2000), also piloted by Kahn. Supporting Hayden will be Franchelle Stewart Dorn as the Gypsy and Philip Goodwin as Lord Byron.
Hayden got a taste of life in D.C. last season when he appeared as Chance Wayne in Shakespeare Theatre's Sweet Bird of Youth, opposite Elizabeth Ashley.
Also on the company's agenda are:
* A Midsummer Night's Dream (Nov. 9, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000), directed by Joe Calarco.
* The Country Wife (Mar. 28-May 14, 2000), the William Wycherly Restoration comedy, director TBA.
For information on Lear or the rest of the 99-00 season at D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre, call (202) 547-1122.
-- By Sean McGrath and David Lefkowitz