King Lear, With Sam Waterston, Kelli O'Hara, Bill Irwin and Frank Wood, Begins at the Public Oct. 18

By Adam Hetrick
18 Oct 2011

Sam Waterston and Bill Irwin in rehearsal
Sam Waterston and Bill Irwin in rehearsal
Photo by Nella Vera

The Public Theater production of King Lear, starring Academy Award nominee Sam Waterston as Shakespeare's titular monarch, struggling to maintain his sanity after dividing his kingdom, begins performances Off-Broadway Oct. 18.

James Macdonald (The Book of Grace, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You) directs the classic tragedy that unites a host of veteran stage actors. King Lear will officially open Nov. 8 for a run through Nov. 20 in the Newman Theater.

Lear's daughters are portrayed by Tony Award nominee Kelli O'Hara (South Pacific, Light in the Piazza) as Regan, Tony nominee Enid Graham (Honour, The Constant Wife) as Goneril and Kristen Connolly (Measure for Measure, All's Well That Ends Well) as Cordelia.

Also featured are Tony Award winner Bill Irwin (The Goat, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) as the Fool, Tony Award winner Frank Wood (Side Man, Born Yesterday, August: Osage County) as Cornwall, Michael McKean (Superior Donuts, The Homecoming) as Gloucester, John Douglas Thompson (Julius Caesar, Cyrano de Bergerac) as Kent, Richard Topol (The Normal Heart) as Albany, Seth Gilliam ("Oz," "The Maids") as Edmund, Tony nominee Arian Moayed (Bengal Tiger…) as Edgar, Michael Crane (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Oswald, Herb Foster (The Merchant of Venice, Amy's View) as Old Man/Curan, Che Ayende (Timon of Athens) as Duke of Burgundy/Knight/Servant, Craig Bockhorn (The Seagull, On Golden Pond) as the Doctor and Michael Izquierdo (Mother Courage, The Miracle Worker) as the King of France.



Waterston has had a decades-long relationship with the Public Theater. He appeared in the Public staging of Ergo in 1968 and has gone on to appear in Shakespeare in the Park productions of Hamlet, as Laertes (1972), Polonius (2008) and the title role (1975); as well as Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Cymbeline, As You Like It, and Henry VI Part 1 and Part 2. He earned an Oscar nomination for "The Killing Fields," and is known for roles in "The Great Gatsby," "Serial Mom," "The Glass Menagerie" and his Emmy-nominated work on "Law & Order."

King Lear has scenic design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Gabriel Berry, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind and sound design by Darron L West.

According to the Public, King Lear "is one of the towering works of world literature. In no other play is Shakespeare’s tragic vision more terrifyingly clear – and nowhere in his canon does he create a richer or more complex set of characters. When King Lear divides his kingdom among his three daughters, he sets in motion a cascade of violence that sweeps the civilized world to the brink of chaos, and Lear to the edge of madness."

For tickets and more information, phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.