Brooks, Acton, Lorette, O'Donnell, Long, Dorn Will Christen DC's New Shakespeare Theatre

By Kenneth Jones
14 Sep 2007

The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, has confirmed the names of some of the actors whose voices will be the first to echo in the resident company's new Sidney Harriman Hall this fall.



The new venue for the resident Equity company lights in October with two Christopher Marlowe plays in rep: Edward II directed by Gale Edwards, and Tamburlaine adapted and directed by artistic director Michael Kahn.

In Edward II (Oct. 27-Jan. 6, 2008) Wallace Acton will play the title monarch, Deanne Lorette is Queen Isabella, Vayu O'Donnell is Gaveston and Andrew Long is Mortimer.

In Tamburlaine (Oct. 28-Jan. 6, 2008), the title character will be played by Avery Brooks, with Franchelle Stewart Dorn as empress Zabina.

Additional casting will be announced for both productions.

"Deemed by many to be Marlowe's crowning achievement, Edward II features the playwright's most nuanced characters and some of his finest language," according to STC notes. "In the weak, stubborn character of Edward II, Marlowe created a compelling portrait of a flawed monarch. Though the son of a great general, Edward is an ineffectual king, and, in the grips of a romantic obsession, he fails to recognize the threats to his crown. As the play unfolds, Marlowe turns the doomed Edward into a more tragic figure, contrasting his plight with the ruthless nobles who depose him.

Gale Edwards staged the troupe's Titus Andronicus, Richard III and Hamlet.

Wallace Acton returns to the company for the first time since his 2003 performance as Richard III.

Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine "chronicles its hero's meteoric rise from humble origins to fearsome warrior and emperor of thousands," according to STC. "Tamburlaine desolates his adversaries, growing so ruthless that he marches on his beloved's native country. With ravishing poetry, Marlowe ruminates on the corrupting influence of ambition and one man's overwhelming desire for immortality. Tamburlaine exemplifies Marlowe's extravagant style, immense sense of pageantry and bold characters."

Avery Brooks returns to play the title role after his acclaimed portrayals of Othello and Oedipus. Franchelle Stewart Dorn returns for the first time since 2000 to play the Empress of Turkey.

For more information about Shakespeare Theatre Company, its season and its new home, visit www.shakespearetheatre.org.