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Announcing Our 2015-2016 Season

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Free For All

A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ethan McSweeny

We kick off the season with the 25th Anniversary of the annual Washington tradition, Free For All, bringing back Ethan McSweeny’s stunning production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Love, magic, and wonder fill the air as dreams blend with reality in this must-see Shakespeare classic. Under McSweeny’s direction, theatre, magic, ghosts, and fairies become one in the ruins of an abandoned theatre, setting the stage for a feast for the imagination.


Adapted and directed by Yaël Farber

“They say that love has a bitter taste … But what of that?”

“I do not believe in miracles. I’ve seen too many.”

Internationally acclaimed adaptor/director Yaël Farber infuses this raw New Testament tale with evocative sound and physicality, drawing on ancient biblical and pagan texts, as well as Oscar Wilde’s landmark mystery play, to spin a tale as provocative as the Dance of the Seven Veils. Salomé marks STC’s entry in the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival with a world premiere adaptation by Farber, returning to STC after her Helen Hayes Award nominated Mies Julie. Salomé was commissioned through a grant from the Beech Street Foundation.

Women’s Voices Theater Festival
More than 50 of the Washington, D.C. region’s professional theatres are joining together to produce, in the fall of 2015, the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. The companies will each represent a world premiere production of a work by one or more female playwrights, highlighting both the scope of plays being written by women, and the range of professional theatre being produced in and around the nation’s capital. The Women’s Voices Theater Festival will be the largest collaboration of theatre companies working simultaneously to produce original works by female writers in history.


Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Samuel and Bella Spewack
Directed by Alan Paul

“Kiss me, Kate, we shall be married o’Sunday.”

It’s “another opening of another show” with Kiss Me, Kate, American musical theatre’s greatest tribute to the Bard. As they try to stage a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, sparks fly on and off stage between Fred Graham, the show's director and star, and Lilli Vanessi, his leading lady—and ex-wife. Add to the mix a pair of passionate young lovers and a few musically inclined gangsters’ heavies, all under the direction of STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul, Helen Hayes Award winner for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The result is a sharp and witty night with Cole Porter’s biggest hit and the winner of the first ever Tony Award® for Best Musical.


The Critic
By Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher

“The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villainous — licentious — abominable — infernal — Not that I ever read them — no — I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper.” 

The Real Inspector Hound
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Michael Kahn

“ I mean it’s sort of a thriller, isn’t it?”

“I suppose so. Underneath.”

“ Underneath?!? It’s a whodunit, man!”

Experience a madcap night of life in the theatre with two classic behind-the-scenes comedies under the direction of STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. Playwright and adaptor Jeffrey Hatcher (The Government Inspector) returns with a fresh take on Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 18th-century romp The Critic, a whirlwind comedy about bad theatre, worse playwrights…and, worst of all, the critics. The antics continue with Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound, an ingenious play-within-a-play in which two critics find themselves caught up as unsuspecting suspects while they watch a classic 1950s-style whodunit. The Critic was commissioned through a grant from the Beech Street Foundation.


By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ron Daniels

“It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul…”

Internationally acclaimed director Ron Daniels joins STC to helm Othello, Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, duplicity, and destruction. Among the exotic airs and mysterious shadows of Cyprus, newly married and promoted Moorish general Othello finds himself the pawn in the manipulative games of his right-hand man, Iago. As his imagination is poisoned, Othello rapidly spirals from hero to murderer in one of Shakespeare’s most haunting tragedies.


By George Orwell
A new adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan

“Big Brother is watching.”

April, 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is watching him—and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye. George Orwell’s chilling vision of a dystopian future is brought to life in a radical multimedia production by the U.K.’s acclaimed Headlong theatre company. Called “a brilliant retelling” by the Guardian, Headlong’s production of 1984 explores surveillance, identity, and the security state. See why Orwell’s 1949 novel of a totalitarian world—the definitive book of the 20th century—is as relevant now as ever, and particularly resonant in the political environment of Washington, D.C.


By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar

“Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth …

But that our soft conditions and our hearts

Should well agree with our external parts?”

Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar brings his unique, interactive style to D.C. with a provocative new approach to The Taming of the Shrew. This all-male, gender-blurred production explores the complex machinations of Kate and Petruchio’s relationship. Known for his epic and immersive works, Iskandar examines identity, authenticity, and gender roles within one of Shakespeare’s most notorious texts.

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With the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s current season underway, Artistic Director Michael Kahn has announced the Company’s 2015-2016 Season.

The season begins with Salomé, infusing evocative sound and physicality into the New Testament tale with its legendary Dance of the Seven Veils, and drawing on ancient texts as well as Oscar Wilde’s landmark play in this new adaptation by acclaimed adaptor/director Yaël Farber. “We are honored to have Yaël return, after her compelling production of Mies Julie last season, to stage this premiere production for Washington audiences as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival,” says Michael Kahn. “We are thrilled to be part of the Theater Festival, where we join with more than 50 of the Washington, D.C. region’s theatres to present world premiere works by female playwrights.” Salomé was commissioned through a grant from the Beech Street Foundation.

Next, STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul brings American musical theatre’s greatest tribute to the Bard, Kiss Me, Kate, to our stages for the holidays. “Alan has a great flair with beloved musicals, from the Helen Hayes Award-winning production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to this spring’s upcoming Man of La Mancha with Anthony Warlow, and I am excited to see his take on Cole Porter.”

“In the winter I will be directing a double bill of one-acts about life in the theatre with two classic behind-the-scenes comedies. One cast will take on both shows in a night of theatrical antics, featuring Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Critic in a new adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher—who was a delight to work with on The Government Inspector—and Tom Stoppard’s play-within-a-play whodunit, The Real Inspector Hound.” The Critic was commissioned through a grant from the Beech Street Foundation.

Internationally acclaimed director Ron Daniels joins STC to helm the first of the season’s two dramatically different productions of the Bard with Othello, an exploration of the manipulation of a hero-turned-murderer as his imagination is slowly poisoned. “Ron brings to us a lifetime of extraordinary experience in theatre. His many credits include serving as the artistic director of The Other Place Theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as an RSC honorary associate director, and as the associate artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre and director of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University,” says Kahn. “It is an honor to have him here, and I look forward to his version of this great tragedy of jealousy and duplicity.”

“This year we moved the international presentation of Dunsinane into our mainstage season, and will continue to do so with the Headlong’s adaptation of George Orwell’s chilling dystopian vision, 1984. This multimedia production exploring surveillance and identity was hailed by critics and audiences in the U.K. and we feel it is a story that is still relevant—particularly to our Washington audiences.” This new adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan was originally produced as a co-production by Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse, and Almeida Theatre.

“We end the season with a return to Shakespeare with The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Ed brings his edgy alternative style to D.C. with this provocative, all-male production,” says Kahn. “It is my goal to give fresh voices in directing an opportunity to tackle STC productions, and to bring the talent of those emerging artists to our stage. Ed is known for his epic, immersive performance-style productions, which I am pleased to share with our audiences with his examination of identity and gender roles.”

“Of course, the season will kick off with the Free For All in August, and I am delighted after this season’s stunning production of The Tempest to bring Ethan McSweeny’s beautiful A Midsummer Night’s Dream back to Sidney Harman Hall for the 25th Anniversary of this annual Washington tradition.”

*Plays, artists and dates are subject to change.