Aaron Posner’s JQA, recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, will begin performances March 1 at Arena Stage. Also directed by Posner, the production will continue through April 14 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle.
JQA shines a spotlight on an ineffectual presidency, the idea of government, and how a society lives in relationship to it.
Each member of the four-person cast will embody the persona of the title character at some point and also perform the roles of several other historical American figures: Jacqueline Correa (Arena and Guthrie Theater’s Native Gardens) as JQA/Abraham Lincoln/Louisa Adams, Eric Hissom (Arena’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) as JQA/John Adams/Henry Clay, Phyllis Kay (Trinity Repertory’s Macbeth, Lend Me a Tenor) as JQA/George Washington/Abigail Adams/John C. Calhoun, and Joshua David Robinson (Off-Broadway’s X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation, The Convent of Pleasure) as JQA/Frederick Douglass/Andrew Jackson.
“John Quincy Adams is a fascinating figure who has only recently become more understood and appreciated,” said Posner. “He was a unique and complicated figure—a truly brilliant man and yet a largely ineffective politician whose political life pre- and post-presidency was far more distinguished than his time as president. Our sixth president, he knew and worked with every president and important American from Washington to Lincoln. His life and times have a lot to tell us about where we are today—and how we got here.”
The creative team also includes set designer Meghan Raham, costume designer Helen Huang, lighting designer Jesse Belsky, sound designer Karin Graybash, dialect and vocal coach Lisa Nathans, casting directors Kate Murray and Victor Vazquez, stage manager Hethyr (Red) Verhoef, and assistant stage manager Emily Ann Mellon.