Classic Stage To Explore Hamlet, Moliere, Revenge Tragedies, Goethe and Charles Mee's Take on Sophocles in New Season | Playbill

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News Classic Stage To Explore Hamlet, Moliere, Revenge Tragedies, Goethe and Charles Mee's Take on Sophocles in New Season Classic Stage Company's 2005-06 season Off-Broadway will launch with Michael Cumpsty starring as Hamlet, to be followed by a new Sophocles-inspired work by Charles L. Mee and Goethe's Faust by Target Margin Theatre Company.

As previously reported, CSC artistic director Brian Kulick will direct Hamlet, featuring Cumpsty, the 45-year-old Broadway star of The Constant Wife, Copenhagen and Democracy, as the Melancholy Dane. The Shakespeare classic will run Nov. 2-Dec. 11.

Cumpsty and Kulick last collaborated on the New York Shakespeare Festival's acclaimed production of Timon of Athens in Central Park.

CSC's second mainstage production in the 38th season will be Fragment 174, a new work inspired by Sophocles' lost play The Dolopians, with a text by Obie Award-winning playwright Charles L. Mee (Big Love) and staged by Pavol Liska, the young director who helmed Three Sisters performed at Classic Stage Company.

In it, Mee and Liska use the only remaining words from Sophocles' play – "In my lair, where I would have the home of a runaway" – as the jumping-off point for their "imaginative tale of a rebellious son who is forced by his father to wander the world as an external exile."

Fragment 174 will be performed March 22, 2006-April 9, 2006. CSC's third mainstage presentation of the season will be the Target Margin Theater production of Faust, Part 1 and Faust, Part 2, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Douglas Langworthy and directed by David Herskovits.

"Widely read but rarely seen in its entirety, Herskovits and his company go for broke in this wildly inventive and exhilarating two-part theatrical extravaganza of Goethe's magnum opus," according to CSC.

Faust, Part 1 and Faust, Part 2 will be performed from April 21, 2006 through May 21, 2006.

CSC's 2005-2006 season (overseen by Kulick and CSC executive director Jessica R. Jenen) will also include the return of CSC's popular one-night-only staged readings of rarely seen classics, performed by notable actors. This season First Look series "turns its gaze to the Revenge Tragedies of the Elizabethan Age, during the time of Shakespeare's Hamlet."

Expect The Spanish Tragedy (Nov. 21) by Thomas Kyd, Antonio's Revenge (Nov. 28) by John Marston, The Roman Actor (Dec. 5) by Philip Massinger.

The CSC Young Company, "a new educational program focused on the development of young actors and young audiences in New York City," will present a Moliere Cycle — including Scapin and The Misanthrope — Jan. 3-15, 2006.

"Through a collaboration with Columbia University School of the Arts' prestigious M.F.A. Acting Program, led by theatre legends Andrei Serban and Kristin Linklater, CSC will present a rotating repertory of two of Moliere's most beloved plays, Scapin and The Misanthrope, featuring M.F.A. student actors," CSC announced. "The Young Company's goal is to bridge the gap between the academic and the professional world by showcasing these talented young students in professional productions at CSC. By gearing this work toward young and underserved audiences, we will help enable young artists to inspire young audiences."

Borrowing an idea from last season, one act of a Shakespeare classic will be presented in an "open rehearsal" on Mondays in spring ("one act each evening for four Monday nights"). Last spring it was Hamlet (with different players and directors on different days), and in spring 2006 it will be King Lear. It's billed as "Monday Night Lear," set for May 1, 8, 15, and 21, 2006.

"Become part of the discovery process as you experience different Lears, interpretations and directorial approaches and reconnect with this magisterial work, which reveals more of itself with each encounter," CSC invites.

Almost 40 years old, CSC is the award-winning Off-Broadway theatre "committed to re-imagining the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience."

Memberships to Classic Stage Company productions are available at various price levels. For membership and ticket information, call the theatre's box office at (212) 677-4210, ext. 11, visit the theatre in person at 136 E. 13th Street, or order online at

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