Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal Will Conjure Midsummer Night's Dream in TFANA's New Brooklyn Home

By Kenneth Jones
January 23, 2013

Tony Award winner Julie Taymor (The Lion King) will direct and longtime collaborator Elliot Goldenthal (The Green Bird) will compose original music for a new fall 2013 production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, to be the inaugural production in Theatre for a New Audience's new permanent home in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District.



Performances at TFANA at 262 Ashland Place between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Streets will begin Oct. 19. Opening night is Nov. 2.

TFANA announced the news on Jan. 23. It had been known that Taymor would direct a classic for the not-for-profit's new home. Shakespeare's romantic comedy-fantasy is set in the woods outside of Athens, where sprites and fairies meddle with the affairs of men and women.

If history teaches us anything, this Midsummer should be visually potent: In 1998, Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical — and also won a Tony for Best Costumes — for her production of The Lion King, acknowledged as a masterstroke of design, direction, movement and mask work.

For Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Taymor served as director, co-book writer and mask-designer.

TFANA founding artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz said in a statement, "Julie and Elliot are bold, innovative, adventurous artists. We first worked together in 1984 on a 60-minute version for Theatre for a New Audience's A Midsummer Night's Dream presented at the Public Theater. Twenty-nine years later, it's thrilling they are directing and composing the first full production of A Midsummer Night's Dream we are mounting as the inaugural presentation in our first permanent home."

According to TFANA, in 1986, Horowitz invited Taymor to stage The Tempest for Theatre for a New Audience. It was the first play by Shakespeare she directed. Goldenthal composed the original music. Taymor and Goldenthal later directed and composed Theatre for a New Audience's productions of The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus and in 1996, Carlo Gozzi's The Green Bird, which transferred to Broadway in 2000.

Composer Goldenthal creates works for orchestra, theater, opera, ballet and film (including Taymor's films "The Tempest," "Titus" and "Frida." In 2003, he was honored with the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for the score to "Frida."

*

Theatre for a New Audience's first permanent home is designed by world-renowned architect Hugh Hardy and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. It includes the Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage (299 seats) and the Theodore C. Rogers Studio (50 seats).

The Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage, the first stage built for Shakespeare and classic drama in New York City since Lincoln Center's 1965 Vivian Beaumont, is inspired by the Royal National Theatre's Cottesloe. According to TFANA, "It is a uniquely flexible space which combines an Elizabethan courtyard theatre with modern technology. The relationship between the stage and audience can be shaped for each production into different configurations. "

Since its founding in 1979, Theatre for a New Audience has played in more than 20 different venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Theatre for a New Audience is near the BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building, Harvey Theater and Fisher Building as well as the Mark Morris Dance Center and BRIC ARTS | Media House and UrbanGlass ReNEWal Project currently under construction in the former Strand Theatre.

For more about TFANA's season leading up to its Brooklyn life, visit TFANA.org.