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Next Season

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William Shakespeare’s
As You Like It
directed by Michael Attenborough
Lansburgh Theatre

William Shakespeare’s
The Tempest
directed by Ethan McSweeny
Sidney Harman Hall

directed by Dominique Serrand
Lansburgh Theatre
Miguel de Cervantes’
Man of La Mancha
directed by Alan Paul
Sidney Harman Hall

Alexis Piron’s
The Metromaniacs
adapted by David Ives
directed by Michael Kahn
Lansburgh Theatre

Luigi Pirandello’s
Enrico IV
adapted by Tom Stoppard
directed by Michael Kahn
Sidney Harman Hall

A letter from Michael Kahn announcing the season.

Dear Friends,

This coming season at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, we welcome internationally renowned directors Michael Attenborough and Dominique Serrand, who respectively share between them a Commander of the British Empire and a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government. Also returning are beloved familiar faces such as David Ives—the most produced playwright in America, sharing with us the world premiere of his newest adaptation—as well as past and present STC Associate Directors Ethan McSweeny and Alan Paul.

From vivid reimaginings of timeless classics to brand new adaptations of plays almost lost to history, our 2014–2015 Season has a little bit of something for everyone.

Put simply, I have been trying to bring Michael Attenborough to Washington for a very long time. He has been the Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre in London for the past 10 years, and before that he was Principal Associate Director at the RSC. When discussing projects with me, Michael suggested that he direct As You Like It in the Lansburgh. He sees it as a very personal and intimate play, and I’m looking forward to what is sure to be a beautiful production of one of Shakespeare’s most warm-spirited and light-hearted comedies.

For the holiday season of 2012, Ethan McSweeny mounted a truly magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It seems perfectly fitting, then, that he is returning to direct Shakespeare’s most explicitly magical and final play, The Tempest. It will be our first Tempest in many years, and I am very excited for Ethan to be at the helm. Ethan’s signature wizardry is sure to be at hand in this production. Saying anything more would only be spoiling the magic.

At the Lansburgh, we are devoting two shows to the unimaginable wealth of the French comic tradition as our third offering in the Clarice Smith Repertory Series. First off, we are taking a fresh look at Molière’s masterpiece of religious hypocrisy, Tartuffe. The legendary Dominique Serrand, co-founder of the Tony Award-winning Théâtre de la Jeune Lune, will be directing. Steven Epp, who was an outstanding, Helen Hayes Award-winning Truffaldino in The Servant of Two Masters two seasons ago, also happily returns to play the title role, a perfect part for his brand of inspired comic genius.

In concert with Tartuffe, we are thrilled to round out David Ives’ trilogy of French verse comedies with Alexis Piron’s The Metromaniacs. After David’s tremendous success with The Liar and The Heir Apparent, two works from the mid and late 17th century, we enter the 18th with this play, never before translated into English. A huge success in 1738, Piron’s play is an uproarious lampoon of his famous real-life rival Voltaire’s infatuation with an anonymous poetess. Like David’s other adaptations of Corneille and Regnard, this one will be a compact marvel of rhymed couplets, mistaken identities and theatrical ingenuity. I will be directing, and David and I are planning on having a lot of fun together. All three of our commissions for David Ives, including The Metromaniacs, have been funded by the Beech Street Foundation, and we are most grateful to them for allowing us to bring important new adaptations of the classics to our stage.

One of the great joys of this season was seeing STC Associate Director Alan Paul’s success with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. It was one of the most purely entertaining productions we have ever done, and an exciting glimpse of how classically-inspired musicals can function in Sidney Harman Hall. Next season, Alan will be directing Man of La Mancha, one of the best musicals ever adapted from a great classic, and by my reckoning, the best adaptation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote in any medium. By the way, Miguel de Cervantes was a near exact contemporary of Shakespeare’s, and they died one day apart, in April of 1616. We honor them both this coming season.

I will be directing the sixth play in the season, Pirandello’s Enrico IV, in a new version by Tom Stoppard. I think everyone will agree that Pirandello is one of the seminal playwrights of the 20th century, ahead of his time. This play is really a surprise: you don’t have any idea how it’s going to end. It’s a question of what’s real and what’s not real, who’s mad and who isn’t mad. One of the greatest modern writers in the English language, Tom Stoppard, did the translation and adaptation of the play for the Donmar Warehouse in London, and we’re going to do the Washington premiere. It’s Stoppard and Pirandello and a little bit of Michael Kahn.

See you at the theatres,
Michael Kahn
Artistic Director