Obie Award winner Whitney White's Macbeth in Stride officially opens at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University's Loeb Drama Center October 28 following previews that began October 23.
Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky and Taibi Magar, the 90-minute production continues through November 14.
Creator White stars in the theatrical event, joined by Charlie Thurston as Man, Phoenix Best (Dear Evan Hansen, The Color Purple) as Witch, Kira Helper as Witch, and Reggie D. White (The Inheritance) as Witch. Understudies are Billy Finn and Yewande Odetoyinbo. The band features Steven Cuevas, Joran Carter, Chris Hanford II, and Bobhartley “Boushe” Etienne.
Macbeth in Stride, the first of White’s five-part series commissioned by A.R.T. excavating the women from Shakespeare’s canon, examines what it means to be an ambitious Black woman through the lens of one of Shakespeare’s most well-known characters. The production uses pop, rock, gospel, and R&B to trace the arc of Lady Macbeth while lifting up contemporary Black female power, femininity, and desire.
“Live music has always felt liberating to me,” said White in an earlier statement, “and I am in love with the words of Shakespeare. I am a Black woman from Chicago, and I always saw my experience reflected in Shakespeare’s world. When I read Shakespeare, I totally hear my world. I hear my friends and family, and I see the world that I live in. However, often live productions wouldn’t represent my experience or even a world I recognized. So I wondered how I could unite all these worlds that I love to make a production that any person could hear and understand. I’m working to construct the show so that every person in the audience can understand it and feel a part of it.”
The creative team also includes music director and co-orchestrator Steven Cuevas, choreographer Raja Feather Kelly, scenic designer Dan Soule, costume designer Qween Jean, lighting designer Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, sound designer Alex Giorgetti, and wig, hair, and makeup designer Rachel Padula-Shufelt.