King Lear, Shakespeare's masterpiece about wisdom arising from whirlwind change, comes to the Sondheim stage on August 23rd for two weeks only. In a new two-hour production by Andrew Edlin, a great cast brings us the classic tragedy (although a tragedy with many comedic moments. King Lear is funny - who knew?). With several edge-of-your-seat sword fights, produced by professional fight arranger and co-director Steve White, the seventeen strong cast bring this gripping human story to life. You'll laugh, you'll gasp, you'll cry as the classic story of love, betrayal, ambition, loyalty, villainy, madness and the battle of good and evil unfolds. Some of Shakespeare's most beautiful and powerful words have made this drama a direct accessible experience for audiences for 400 years.
King Lear (Andrew Edlin) has decided to abdicate, and divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters. The two elder scheming daughters Goneril (Tena Nelson) and Regan (Margaret Clair) flatter Lear. But his favorite young Cordelia (Madeline Sloat) refuses. Lear banishes her. Lear's right hand man Kent (Ed Hipp) protests. In rising rage, Lear banishes him too. Only the Fool (Patrick Bosold) has the license to tell the King how poor his judgment has become. In a parallel plot the Earl of Gloucester (Steve White) is fooled by his villainous but attractive bastard son Edmund (Jesse Bailey) into a manhunt against his true son Edgar (Matt Speer). The evil sisters turn on the screws on a now powerless Lear. Driven to madness he runs out into a storm on the heath, aided only by the Fool, Kent loyally in disguise as Lear's servant, Gloucester, and Edgar disguised as the beggar 'Poor Tom'. Once out in the violent cold, wind and rain, with no warmth or shelter, Lear the fallen king is shocked into understanding what poverty and misery really are:
'Poor naked wretches, wheresoever you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have taken
Too little care of this!'
And that's just the first half!
The cast also includes the mild Duke of Albany (George Kelley), the cruel Duke of Cornwall (David Patterson), Goneril's oily servant Oswald (Brendan Thomas), the King of France, Herald and Old Man (Fred Hucke), the Duke of Burgundy (Eli Place), the Doctor (Patrick Bosold), with Luca Papp, Duncan Phipps and Jimmy Simmons. Carol Negro composes original music, to be played live. Fred Hucke plays herald trumpet. Donna Nelson plays cello. Bob Hoerlein supervises special effects. Franca Bator designs the graphics. Irene Murphy is costume designer. Rick Donhauser takes the Lear photos. Gay Chapman supervises costumes and props. Noel Wotherspoon designs make-up. Randy West designs the lighting. Geof Northridge stage manages.