Septuagenarian Stage Star Takes to Houston Shakespeare Festival in The Tempest, July 29

News   Septuagenarian Stage Star Takes to Houston Shakespeare Festival in The Tempest, July 29
Broadway star Ken Ruta headlines in the role of Prospero in William Shakespeare's The Tempest for the Houston Shakespeare Festival.
Ken Ruta and Bree Welch in The Tempest.
Ken Ruta and Bree Welch in The Tempest. Photo by George Hixson

Sidney Berger directs The Tempest to play in repertory with Titus Andronicus through Aug. 11 at the Texas troupe's 1500-seat Miller Outdoor Theatre (the only fully air-conditioned open-air theatre in the U.S.). This year marks the 32nd season for the company.

At age 72, Ruta has enjoyed a stage career that spans almost half a century from his Broadway debut in Duel of Angels (opposite Vivien Leigh) to his recent turn in the world premiere of David Mamet's adaptation of The Voysey Inheritance at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre.

Titus Andronicus will star Houston Shakespeare Festival veteran Rutherford "Ruddy" Cravens (The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, As You Like It) in the title role. Carolyn Boone, an associate professor of theatre at University of Houston directs that production.

Joining Ruta and Cravens in the 2006 HSF repertory company are Brady Alland, Natalie Arneson, Jessica Boone, Bob Boudreaux, Matt Carter, Greg Dean, Justin Doran, Martin Estridge, Scotty Fults, Bill Hardy, Kelly Harkins, Brandon Hearnsberger, Kent Johnson, JJ Johnston, Erin Kidwell, Kory Kilgore, Earl Latchley, Matt Lusk, August Oliver, Mimi Martinez, Celeste Roberts, Joel Sandel, David Wald, Bree Welch, Josh Wright and Laura Yosowitz.

Ruta's other credits include Broadway's Ross and the 1969 revival of The Three Sisters, Off-Broadway's The Tragical Historie of Doctor Faustus and Under Milk Wood as well as regional stagings of Hamlet, King Lear, The Elephant Man among others. The HSF is a collaboration of the City of Houston with University of Houston School of Theatre (where playwrights Edward Albee and Lanford Wilson are Distinguished Professors of Theatre). The free annual summer event, which features a professional company (with Equity actors), runs a two-production season.

For tickets to The Tempest or Titus Andronicus, at the Miller Theatre in Hermann Park, call the box office at (713) 284-8352. For more information about HSF, visit

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