The Bard and Beyond: 7 Tristate Classical Productions Not to Miss This Fall

Didn't get to the Delacorte to see King Lear or Much Ado this summer? Itching for some classical texts to keep you muttering, paddling palms and pondering your existence on your daily commute as the leaves change colors? The tristate area, including New York City itself, has a wealth of renowned theatres putting on exciting classical work – from Moliére to Marlowe to Chekhov and the Bard himself.

Traditional, intimate, modern, wacky, these productions run the gamut and will certainly satisfy your craving for language that feeds the soul and stories that span the centuries.

And the best part - they're all within commuting distance!

Click through to see what classics are in store.

Christopher Fitzgerald
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The Winter's Tale
by William Shakespeare
Public Works: part of the Public Theater (New York, NY)
Sept. 5-7

Directed by Obie winner Lear deBessonet and with music and lyrics by Todd Almond ( Stage Kiss), The Winter's Tale follows the Public's acclaimed Public Works production of the Bard's The Tempest last year. Isaiah Johnson, Almond, Christopher Fitzgerald and David Turner will lead an enormous ensemble cast comprising dance troupes, community organizations, young artists and even the NY Theatre Ballet in a free event that runs for only three performances. This Winter's Tale is guaranteed to subvert your impression of what Shakespeare "should" be in a way that will bring audience and performers together to tell the hard-won tale of renewal and forgiveness too infrequently told in this day and age.

Visit publictheater.org for details.

Nicole Ari Parker
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Antony and Cleopatra
by William Shakespeare
The McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton, NJ)
Sept. 5-Oct. 5

Artistic director Emily Mann directs this "intimate" staging of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Streamlined and personal, the production will focus on the love story between the two historical figures, played by Esau Pritchett ( Fences) and Nicole Ari Parker ( A Streetcar Named Desire), respectively.

In addition to a well versed and seasoned cast, the production will feature a live percussionist in the McCarter's smaller Berlind Theatre, just one hour away from Penn Station by train.

Visit mccarter.org for details.

Mark Wing-Davey
Photo by Monica Simoes

School for Wives
by Moliére
Two River Theater (Red Bank, NJ)
Sept. 13-Oct. 5

Mark Wing-Davey helms Moliére's classic comedy, translated by Richard Wilbur, with a deliciously-rhyming romp "about a rich, middle-aged man named Arnolphe, whose plan to groom his innocent young ward into the 'perfect' wife goes quickly awry. Can this pompous bachelor really be a match for rival suitors, inept servants, and the wit of his soon-to-be bride?"

The production will come in at a swift two hours and is set in the late 1950's in France – ooh la-la!

Visit tworivertheater.org for details.

Darko Tresnjak
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Hamlet
by Shakespeare
Hartford Stage (Hartford, CT)
Oct. 16-Nov. 16

Fresh off a Tony win for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, director Darko Tresnjak will direct the classic tale of existential questioning, arguably the greatest of the Bard's works, at his home base at Hartford Stage - another renowned regional theatre known for producing classic plays. Last fall he directed Macbeth and La Dispute by Marivaux in repertory for the theatre's 50th Anniversary season – this year he will tackle the sullen Dane in an "opulent production, set in the Elizabethan Era...[and] inspired by James Shapiro's extraordinary book '1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare.'"

Visit hartfordstage.org for details.

John Douglas Thompson
Photo by Kevin Sprague

Tamburlaine, Parts I and II
by Christopher Marlowe
Theatre for a New Audience (Brooklyn, NY)
Nov. 1 - Dec. 21

Michael Boyd, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, will tackle Christopher Marlowe's ruthless, ragged and terrifying story about the "unstoppable and ferocious low-born conqueror who humbles kings and emperors, sweeping methodically across vast territories while gathering ever more strength from his driving will."

Last done in New York 60 years ago, this production will star classical legend and TFANA regular John Douglas Thompson in the title role. A cast of 19 actors will cover sixty roles in this sure-to-be-epic four-hour classical drama marathon.

Visit tfana.org for details.

Tristan & Yseult
Based on the Cornish epic story; written by Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy
Kneehigh at St. Ann's Warehouse (Brooklyn, NY)
Nov. 13 - Dec. 7

Following an acclaimed run at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, adaptor and director Emma Gross will bring Kneehigh's highly physical production of the classic tale to audiences at St. Ann's Warehouse this fall. This production will revel "in forbidden desires, broken hearts, grand passions, and tender truths...[and] marries gorgeous live music and jaw-dropping theatricality for an irresistible night of love." The acclaimed British company Kneehigh, which earned acclaim for Brief Encounter at St. Ann's and on Broadway, will tour the immersive and magical production throughout the country through the coming year. One not to miss for theatre veterans and newbies alike.

Visit stannswarehouse.org for details.

Eric Tucker

The Seagull and Sense & Sensibility
by Chekhov and Jane Austin
Adapted by Anya Reiss and Kate Hamill, respectively
Bedlam Theatre Company (New York, NY)
Oct. 30 - Dec. 22

Repertory has never sounded so uniquely persuasive as when Off-Broadway's acclaimed Bedlam Theatre takes on classic texts with a highly theatrical, intimate and personal cast of ten ferocious actors and does not only one, but two giants of the theatrical canon at one time. Coming off of their critically-lauded repertory of St. Joan and Hamlet (again, no small venture), this season's fall shows will tackle Chekhovian angst and British comedy of manners with an "innovative use of space [to] collapse aesthetic distance and bring the audience into direct contact with the dangers and delicacies of life--inciting laughter and chaos, provoking thought and recreating the thrill of live experience." Actor and director Eric Tucker will helm the beasts, and play in both as well.

Visit theatrebedlam.org for details.