How 50 RSC Actors Play 100 Roles in 5 Productions

Special Features   How 50 RSC Actors Play 100 Roles in 5 Productions
ON THE ROAD -- June 1998
RSC On The Move:  Presenting (clockwise from top) Henry VIII, Cymbeline, and Hamlet
RSC On The Move: Presenting (clockwise from top) Henry VIII, Cymbeline, and Hamlet Photo by Photos by Ivan Kyncl and John Haynes (<i>Cymbeline</i>)

ON THE ROAD -- June 1998

While the Royal Shakespeare Company has appeared many times in the United States since the 1920's, the distinguished British troupe has not often presented a repertory of works. This spring, the classic repertory company comes to the U.S. with a troupe of 50 actors appearing in nearly 100 roles in five productions -- Shakespeare's Hamlet, Cymbeline and Henry VIII; Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape; and Everyman, the medieval morality play. The tour outside of Britain is of unprecedented scope, playing New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music from May 21 to June 7 before playing the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. from June 9 to July 5.

Generating as many as 30 productions per year at their home base of Stratford on-Avon and two stages at London's Barbican Centre, the company has recently been restructured by its artistic director, Adrian Noble, to facilitate more international touring, which is high on its agenda. A variety of styles will be on view in this American tour, from director Matthew Warchus's streamlined modern-dress version of Hamlet (starring Alex Jennings) to the sumptuous court life re-created for Gregory Doran's production of Henry VIII, starring Paul Jesson in the title role and Jane Lapotaire (of Piaf fame) as the star crossed Katherine of Aragon. Noble is represented with his production of the rarely performed Cymbeline, starring Joanne Pearce, with designs by Anthony Ward inspired by the look and style of Japanese Kabuki.

The actor Edward Petherbridge (who was nominated for a Tony for Nicholas Nickleby) captures the poignancy and absurdity of a man reviewing his life in Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape in a production he has co-directed with David Hunt. Rounding out the repertory is Everyman, which stars American actor Joseph Mydell in the morality tale that has been directed by Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni of the Theatre de Complicite, represented on Broadway this season by The Chairs.

New Osmond Generation Tours Dreamcoat

If you liked Donny Osmond in a loincloth in the recent tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, chances are you'll love his nephew David in the same role. The 18-year-old actor stars in a new touring production that opened last month in Dallas and will play Ontario, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Houston before moving on to Milwaukee and Atlanta. Joining him as his brothers in the production are his six real-life siblings -- Michael, Nathan, Scott, Jon, Alex and Tyler -- with whom he's been performing as The Osmond 2nd Generation, a pop group they formed in 1990. "We have a rapport and are very comfortable with each other, which makes this a particularly pleasurable piece to work together on," says Osmond, adding that everyone keeps their sibling rivalry under control. "We don't care who's out in front as long as their last name is Osmond."

-- By Patrick Pacheco

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