King Lear, Starring Michael Pennington, Opens at Polonsky Shakespeare Center March 27

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27 Mar 2014

Michael Pennington
Michael Pennington
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Theatre for a New Audience's production of King Lear, starring two-time Olivier Award nominee Michael Pennington, officially opens March 27 following previews that began March 14 on the Scripps Mainstage at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center.

The production continues through May 4.

Directed by Arin Arbus, King Lear marks the 32nd of Shakespeare's 37 plays that Theatre for a New Audience has produced.

Pennington is an Honorary Associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company and has performed in Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet and Troilus and Cressida. His screen credits include "The Iron Lady," "The War of the Roses," "Royal Shakespeare Company: Richard II" and "Cymbeline."

The cast also includes Bianca Amato (Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia) as Regan, Ryan Quinn as King of France, Mark H. Dold (Freud's Last Session, Romeo and Juliet) as Oswald, Lilly Englert (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice) as Cordelia, Jacob Fishel (Fiddler on the Roof, The Broken Heart) as Edgar, Jake Horowitz (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Our Town) as Fool, Robert Langdon Lloyd (The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing) as Old Man and Doctor, Christopher McCann (Richard III, Pericles) as Gloucester, Saxon Palmer (Three Sisters, Design for Living) as Cornwall, Rachel Pickup (The Explorers Club, Dancing at Lughnasa) as Goneril, Jon Stewart, Jr. as Burgundy, Timothy D. Stickney (Hamlet, Othello) as Kent, Chandler Williams (The Winslow Boy, In the Next Room) as Edmund and Graham Winton (Cyrano de Bergerac, A Man For All Seasons) as Albany.



The ensemble features Benjamin Cole (The Tempest, A Christmas Carol), Jason Gray (Ivanov, unbidden), Jonathan Hooks (Julius Caesar, Richard's Rampage), Patrick McAndrew (Twelfth Night, Titus Andronicus), Ryan McCarthy, Ian Temple and Ariel Zuckerman (Home with TE'A, The Merchant of Venice).

"What does it say about us culturally that there are these many productions?" artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz said in a previous statement. "This is a play about a King; written for a King that investigates what is a King. King Lear is most often directed by men. Of the current six productions, Arin Arbus is the only female director and it is the first time she will direct the play."

"I'd been asked to play Lear before in the U.K. If you've played Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard II and others, people expect you'll be getting ready for Lear," Pennington added. "But, you have to be careful and not do it because it's there. Only when it sets your blood running. About four years ago, I realized that I was probably ready for it. Most decisions in the theatre are based on hunches. I had the strongest intuition that I wanted to work with Arin. And, I love working with American artists on Shakespeare. For all sorts of reasons, he gives both sides a great meeting ground."

The production has scenery by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Susan Hilferty and lighting by Marcus Doshi. The composer is Michael Attias, fights are by B.H. Barry and company voice work is by Andrew Wade. Renee Lutz is production stage manager.

Visit tfana.org for more information.

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Lilly Englert and Michael Pennington
Photo by Carol Rosegg