Tour Dates Set For Acting Co's Love's Fire & Romeo and Juliet

News   Tour Dates Set For Acting Co's Love's Fire & Romeo and Juliet
 
The NY-based Acting Company just reached the grand old age of 25 and is celebrating the occasion with an evening of one-act plays and music inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets.

The NY-based Acting Company just reached the grand old age of 25 and is celebrating the occasion with an evening of one-act plays and music inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets.

And who better to adapt the Bard's poetry than some of the leading voices in American theatre? The Acting Company has snared a real A-list of writers -- Eric Bogosian, William Finn, John Guare, Tony Kushner, Marsha Norman, Ntozake Shange, and Wendy Wasserstein -- to update the sonnets and give them a contemporary spin.

The evening of seven one-acts, Love's Fire: Fresh Numbers by Seven American Playwrights, had its world premiere at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, Jan. 3, followed by a 45-city cross-country tour, a stint at the Barbican Center in London from May 20-June 7, and a New York engagement June 12-28 at a theatre to be announced. The director for Love's Fire will be Mark Lamos.

The playlets are as diverse in tone and theme as the playwrights themselves.

Bogosian's Bitter Sauce takes Sonnet 118 and comes up with a story of sexual jealousy and obsessiveness. The three-character play involves a bride, a groom, and the bride's former lover. Starring are Heather Robison and Daniel Pearce. With Painting, composer Finn turns Sonnet 102 into a song about an artist attempting to paint his lover -- and failing miserably at his efforts. Jason Alan Carvell and Stephen DeRosa star.

Guare's contribution, an adaptation of Sonnet 154, focuses on a group of actors who are attempting to do a dramatic adaptation of -- guess what? -- Shakespeare's Sonnet 154. Guare's play includes music by Floyd Collins composer Adam Guettel.

Kushner has adapted Sonnet 75 into a work for four characters: a man, his female psychiatrist, and two people who are figments of their imaginations. Terminating, or Lass Meine Schmertzen Nicht Verloren Sein, or Ambivalence stars Stephen DeRosa and Hamish Linklater.

Norman's contribution, drawn from Sonnet 140, is a La Ronde-like play about betrayal and sexual jealousy.

Shange's one-act, Hydraulics Phat Like Mean based on Sonnet 128, is an exploration of music and dance that begins with a man watching his lover perform a jazz composition. Starring are Lisa Tharps and Jason Alan Carvell. The music is by jazz notable Chico Freeman, with choreography by Dyane Harvey.

Wasserstein's one-act play, Waiting For Philip Glass, inspired by Sonnet 94 , is set in the Hamptons, where a well-to-do couple gets ready to attend a society benefit. Featured are James Farmer, Lisa Tharps and Erika Rolfsrud.

"The intriguing thing about the sonnets is that while they are about romantic and sexual love, they are not bound to any particular setting or even to any particular sex -- male or female," said Lincoln Center Theatre's Anne Cattaneo, the dramaturge who came up with the idea for Love's Fire, in a recent interview.

"Our challenge to the seven writers was to explore the emotional moments of the sonnets," said Cattaneo. Designing all the plays are Michael Yeargan (set), Candice Donnelly (costumes) and Robert Wierzel (lighting).

The Shakespeare project has been inspired by The Acting Company's successful production of Orchards a decade ago, in which seven writers -- including Guare and Wasserstein -- were asked to update the short stories of Chekhov, added Cattaneo.

Rehearsals began December 1997. The first performances of Love's Fire were given at the Guthrie Theatre Lab in Minneapolis, MN, Jan. 3 18.

This season The Acting Company will also present a new production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by James Bundy. Romeo and Juliet is being performed at the New Victory Theatre in New York, Jan. 21- Feb. 8. Hamish Linklater and Heather Robison star as the star-crossed lovers, alongside Daniel Pearce (Mercutio), Clark Scott Carmichael (Tybalt), Christopher Edwards (Benvolio), Lisa Tharps (Nurse) and Erika Raolfsrud & James Farmer (the Capulets).

Designing Romeo & Juliet are Ming Cho Lee (set), Ann Hould-Ward (costumes) and Robert Wierzel (lighting). Felix Ivanov serves as fight director and choreographer.

After the New York engagement of the Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet and Love's Fire will then tour the U.S. in repertory from Feb. 9-May 9. (The show's won't alternate, by the way; different cities will get different shows.) Here's the current tour schedule (subject to change) as of Feb. 3:

Romeo and Juliet

Jan. 21-Feb. 8: NYC, New Victory Theatre
Feb. 10: Schenectady, NY, Proctor's Theatre
Feb. 11-12: Burlington, VT, University of VT
Feb. 14: Stony Brook, NY, SUNY
Feb. 21-22: Clemson, SC, Clemson University
Feb. 26: Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt University
March 1-2: Elyria, OH, Lorain County Community College
March 3: Portsmouth, OH, Shawnee State University
March 6: Akron, OH, University of Akron
March 10: Tecumseh, MI, Tecumseh Civic Auditorium
March 12: Interlochen, MI, Arts Center
March 13-14: Mount Clemens, MI, Macomb Center
March 15-16: Ann Arbor, MI, Michigan Theatre
March 17: Kalamazoo, MI, Western Michigan University
March 18: Vicksburg, MI, Performing Arts Center
March 19: Benton Harbor, MI, Lake Michigan College
March 20: Springfield, IL, University of IL
March 28: Houghton, MI, Michigan Tech University
April 2-3: Lincoln, NE, Lied Center
April 5: Columbia, MO, University of MO
April 6: St. Joseph, MO, Performing Arts Association
April 7: Kirksville, MO, Truman State University
April 8: Baldwin City, KS, Baker University
April 9: Emporia, KS, Emporia Arts Council
April 10: Tulsa, OK, Tulsa Community College
April 16-18: Albuquerque, NM, University of NM
April 22-24: Ogden, UT, Weber State University
April 25-27: Park City, UT, Park City Performing Arts Center
April 30-May 2: Cerritos, CA, Performing Arts Center
May 5: Lancaster Performing Arts Theatre
May 6-7: Palm Desert, CA
May 8-9: Escondido, CA, California Arts Center

Love's Fire

Feb. 13: Fairfield, CT, Fairfield University
Feb. 17-18: Durham, NC, Duke University
Feb. 19: Athens, GA, University of Georgia
Feb. 24-25: Atlanta, GA, Rialto Center
March 5: Tiffin, OH, Ritz Theatre
March 21: Batavia, IL, Fermilab Arts Series
March 24: Glen Ellyn, IL, College of DuPage
April 2-3: Lincoln, NE, Lied Center
April 16-18: Albuquerque, NM, University of NM
April 22-24: Ogden, UT, Weber State University
April 25-27: Park City, UT, Park City Performing Arts Center
May 6-7: Palm Desert, CA, McCallum Theatre
May 8-9: Escondido, CA, California Arts Center
May 20-June 7: London, England, Barbican Centre
June 12-28: NYC, TBA

Following the cross-U.S. tour, the Acting Company travels to London in May to participate in the Barbican's "Inventing America" festival.

The Acting Company was founded in 1972 by Margot Harley and John Houseman from the first graduating class of the Juilliard School's Drama Division, with a mission to take theatre to audiences across the U.S. Its many illustrious alumni include Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Gerald Gutierrez, and David Ogden Stiers.

-- By Rebecca Paller and David Lefkowitz

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