Born With Teeth, Contemporary Take on Shakespeare's Richard III, Begins Off-Broadway Run April 16 | Playbill

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News Born With Teeth, Contemporary Take on Shakespeare's Richard III, Begins Off-Broadway Run April 16 Epic Theatre Ensemble presents Richard III : Born With Teeth, a contemporary take on William Shakespeare's Richard III, beginning April 16, prior to an official opening April 21, at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

The Off-Broadway production, part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest, is directed by Ron Russell and continues through May 4.

James Wallert (Othello Off-Broadway) stars in the title role with Peter Jay Fernandez (Luz at La Mama) as Hastings, Melissa Friedman (Much Ado About Nothing Off-Broadway) as Elizabeth, Devin E. Haqq (Epic's Macbeth) as Catesby, Rhett Henckel (Epic's Macbeth) as Clarence, Lanna Joffrey (Measure for Measure at the Public) as Margaret, Michael Kirby (Epic's Macbeth) as Rivers, James Joseph O'Neil (Present Laughter) as Buckingham, Carra Patterson (Wit) as Lady Anne and Godfrey L. Simmons (Two Trains Running at Syracuse Stage) as Edward.

In Richard III : Born With Teeth, according to press notes, "Epic Theatre Ensemble wraps Shakespeare's words in a contemporary setting where you’ll enter the world along side and through the eyes of Shakespeare’s most charming, funny and seductively evil actors: Richard III, himself."

Other members of the creative team include Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams (sets), Cat Tate Starmer (lighting), Margaret E. Weedon (costumes) and Ron Russell (sound).

Every performance of Born With Teeth is followed by a post-performance forum that is sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities and led by scholars, authors and thinkers connected to the content of the show. Speakers confirmed for the series include journalist and author Jonathan Alter (April 18, "Political Manipulation"), playwright and producer Keith Josef Adkins (April 19, "Diversity in the American Theatre") and author John McWhorter (April 26, "The Language of Political Manipulation"). Founded in 2001, Epic Theatre Ensemble is a company of artists and activists dedicated to "creating socially minded Off-Broadway productions, and to connecting these theatrical events to NYC Public Schools through rigorous in school and after-school residencies. Epic aims to inspire vital dialogue about social, ethical, and political issues and to build thoughtful citizenship in local communities."

The Pershing Square Signature Center is located at 480 West 42nd Street. For tickets, visit or call (212) 270-4200. For more information, visit

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