Brian McEleney directs the Adrian Hall adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's novel, and has cast African-American actor Joe Wilson Jr. as the corrupt Southern governor thirsting for power. It opens in Providence, RI, Sept. 19 for a run through Oct. 21.
Of his casting choice, director McEleney said in a statement, "Of course, there could never have been an African-American politician of Stark's stature at that time. However, the play shows us how politics affects people without money, class or station. It's even more intriguing to talk about those issues when race is part of the conversation."
Penned by author Warren in 1946, the story of All the King's Men follows "Willie Stark [who] rises from poverty to become the governor of his state and its most powerful political figure," according to press materials. "He blackmails and bullies his enemies into submission, and institutes a radical series of liberal reforms designed to tax the rich and ease the burden of the state's poor farmers. Stark's transformation from an idealistic man of the people to a corrupt politician lusting for power is seen through the eyes of a young writer, Jack Burden."
The 1930s-set Deep South drama won Warren the Pulitzer Prize in 1947. Trinity Rep first staged Hall's adaptation in 1987. (Hall was a founder and former artistic director of the company.)
Mauro Hantman (Cyrano de Bergerac, Cherry Orchard) plays Jack Burden. Also featured in the cast are actors and musicians Stephen Berenson, Angela Brazil, Janice Duclos, Phyllis Kay, Mauro Hantman, Barbara Meek, Anne Scurria, Stephen Thorne, Kevin Fallon, Charlie Hudson III, David Tessier and Fred Sullivan, Jr. Brown. Trinity Rep Consortium student actors Kelby Akin, Jill Knox, Alan McNaney, Scott Raker and Jessa Sherman round out the ensemble.
The design team includes Michael McGarty (set), William Lane (costumes), John Ambrosone (lighting) and Peter Sasha Hurowitz (sound). The production also features music by Randy Newman. David Tessier serves as musical director. Barbara Reo is stage manager.
Director McEleney — who appeared in Adrian Hall's original production — has previously staged Our Town, Hamlet, Stones in His Pockets, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Dinner with Friends, Master Class, Proof, Mrs. Warren's Profession and A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep.
Every performance of All the King's Men will include a post-show talkback session.
Hall's adaptation will also be seen this season at the Intiman Theatre, the Seattle company recently announced.
For tickets to All the King's Men at Trinity Rep, 201 Washington Street, in Providence, RI, call (401) 351-4242 or visit trinityrep.com.