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Washington, D.C. — Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC), in association with Seattle Repertory Theatre and San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, will present Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, a modern history play, at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street) from February 7–March 12, 2017. The co-production is directed by David Muse, Artistic Director at Studio Theatre and formerly Associate Artistic Director at STC.
Mike Bartlett’s Olivier Award-winning play originated at London’s Almeida Theatre in 2014. It continued on to London’s West End and Broadway and was nominated for five Tony Awards®. Though it is a new play, King Charles III employs the structure and language of a Shakespearean history play, fusing the national scope and poetic grandeur of the histories with shrewd commentary on the modern world of politics and press. Written primarily in Shakespearean blank verse, Bartlett constructs a contemporary Shakespearean drama in our immediate future.
King Charles III tells the story of Prince Charles’ accession to the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Having waited a lifetime to become king, Charles prepares for the future of power that lies before him…but what kind of ruler will he make? While spinning a tale of modern royalty, the play balances an exploration of the political—regime change, partisan upheaval, press intrusion—with the personal—integrity, the people underneath the crowns and the allure of power—making the play’s arrival in Washington, D.C. rather timely.
STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn said: “Though audiences and critics were initially dazzled simply by Bartlett’s poetic achievement, recent events have underscored his keen political insight, as well. As Bartlett notes, observing a favorite Shakespearean paradox: the more power one attempts to exercise, the more chaos is sure to follow. In a time of Brexit and Trump, the play feels ever more prophetic. And I can think of few directors more capable of bringing such a challenging, entertaining, ultimately Shakespearean work to life than David Muse.” As the Artistic Director across town at Studio Theatre, David has helmed productions of Bartlett’s other plays including Cock, which won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Play for 2014.
Director David Muse said: “It’s wonderful to return to STC and to direct a Bartlett play again. Like any great Shakespeare play, the themes in King Charles III are bigger than the specifics of history. This play is about a particular moment but also about more universal concerns: the gap between our private and public selves; how we deal with beloved national traditions when they become outmoded and what role principle plays in politics. Those themes will continue to hold our attention for decades.”
Acclaimed stage and screen actor Robert Joy will assume the title role. Prior to joining the cast of King Charles III, he starred in the Broadway revival of the musical Side Show.
He has performed at some of the nations most renowned theaters including The Old Globe in San Diego, The Public Theater in New York, Williamstown Festival and the New York Shakespeare Festival. He will be joined by first-class performers including Christopher McLinden as Prince William, Jeanne Paulsen as Camilla, Ian Merrill Peakes as Prime Minister Evans, Allison Jean White as Kate and Harry Smith as Prince Harry. Michelle Beck, previously seen at STC as Ophelia in the 2007 production of Hamlet, will play Jessica. Rounding out the company are Bradford Farwell (Mr. Stevens), Jefferson Farber (Cootsy/Sir Michael), Dan Hiatt (James Reiss), Tim Getman (Ensemble) Yesenia Iglesias (Ensemble), Rafael Jordan (Spencer/Kebab Seller), Matthew Aldwin McGee (Ensemble), and Chiara Motley (Ghost/Newspaper Woman).
Scenic Designer and Tony Award® nominee Daniel Ostling, STC Affiliated Artist and Costume Designer Jennifer Moeller, and Lighting Designer Lap Chi Chu will transport the audience to the quintessentially British splendor of the nation’s most majestic and powerful houses, along with Sound Designer Mark Bennett and Movement Director Lisa Townsend. Rounding out the artistic team are Carter C. Wooddell (Resident Casting Director), Lisa Beley (Head of Voice & Text), Sivan Battat (Associate Director), Joseph Smelser (Production Stage Manager) and Elizabeth Clewley (Assistant Stage Manager).
David Muse was STC Associate Artistic Director from 2005–2010 and is now an Affiliated Artist. At STC, Muse has directed Coriolanus, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew (Free For All), Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, On the Eve of Friday Morning, Pericles (Free For All). He was also the Assistant Director on 5 STC productions, a master acting class instructor, and the director of numerous readings, galas, and special events. Muse has been Artistic Director of The Studio Theatre since 2010, where he has directed 17 productions, including Chimerica, Tribes, The Real Thing, The Habit of Art, Frozen, Blackbird, and Mike Bartlett’s Cock, which received a Helen Hayes award for Outstanding Resident Production. Other credits include: Arena Stage: Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune; Theatre Alliance: The Bluest Eye; New York Summer Play Festival: Patrick Page’s Swansong. He has taught acting and directing at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting, Georgetown University, and Yale University. Muse has developed new plays at numerous theatres including New York Theatre Workshop, Arena Stage, Geva Theatre, Kennedy Center, and Ford’s Theatre. He is a six-time Helen Hayes Award nominee for outstanding direction and the recepient of a D.C. Mayor’s Arts Award. He received a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Yale Drama.
Mike Bartlett is a multi-award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose most recent plays include Wild (Hampstead Theatre); Game (Almeida Theatre); King Charles III (Almeida Theatre, the West End, and Broadway; Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play, Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, and Tony Award® nomination for Best Play); An Intervention (Paines Plough and Watford Palace Theatre); Bull (Sheffield Theatres and off Broadway; TMA Award for Best New Play and Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre); Medea (Citizens Theatre and Headlong); a stage adaptation of Chariots of Fire (Hampstead Theatre and the West End); 13 (National Theatre); Love, Love, Love (Paines Plough, The Drum at Theatre Royal Plymouth, and Royal Court Theatre; TMA Award for Best New Play); Earthquakes in London (Headlong and National Theatre); Cock (Royal Court Theatre and off Broadway; Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre); Artefacts (Nabokov and Bush Theatre); Contractions; and My Child (Royal Court Theatre). Bartlett has also written award-winning works for radio, received BAFTA nominations for two television series, and recently won Outstanding Newcomer for British Television Writing at the 2016 British Screenwriters Awards for his TV series Doctor Foster.
Support provided by Dr. Paul and Mrs. Rose Carter.