Theatre For a New Audience celebrates the official opening of the Shana Cooper-helmed The Tragedy of Julius Caesar March 28. The production, which was first seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, plays a limited Off-Broadway engagement at Polonsky Shakespeare Center through April 28.
The cast is led by three-time Obie winner Rocco Sisto as Julius Caesar, Matthew Amendt as Cassius, Brandon J. Dirden as Brutus, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart as Calpurnia, Michelle Hurst as Soothsayer, Jordan Barbour as Mark Antony, Benjamin Bonenfant as Octavius Caesar, Liam Craig as Lepidus, and Merritt Janson as Portia.
Cooper, who makes her Off-Broadway directorial debut, says her production is not set in a specific historic moment, so as to show the timelessness of violence and political upheaval.
“In Julius Caesar, the world is on fire—there are natural disasters happening at the beginning of the play that culminate in Caesar’s assassination—and Shakespeare mirrors human actions with supernatural events as if to say,‘This has happened before,and it will happen again...a cycle that plays out again and again,’" says the director. "Initially, the violence in the play is a choice and then it becomes like a disease; a contagion; and then a conflagration.”
Rounding out the cast Off-Broadway are Mark Bedard, Ted Deasy, Emily Dorsch, Armando McClain, Galen Molk, Barret O'Brian, Julian Remulla, Juliana Sass, and Stephen M. Spencer.
The creative team includes Sibyl Wickersheimer (scenic designer), Raquel Barreto (costume designer), Christopher Akerlind (lighting designer), Paul James Prendergast (composer and sound designer), Erika Chong Shuch (choreographer), Alison Bomber (voice and text Coach), Jack Doulin (casting director), Jonathan Kalb (dramaturg), U.Jonathan Toppo (fight director), Andrew Diaz (properties supervisor), and Shane Schnetzler (stage manager).
For tickets and more information visit TFANAt.org.