Women Beware Women

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Women Beware Women

Presented by the Red Bull Theater at Theatre at St. Clement's, December 9, 2008--January 18, 2009. Directed by Jesse Berger. Set design David Barber. Masks & Headgear Emily DeCola. Hair & Makeup Erin Kennedy Lunsford. Props Sean McArdle. Sound Jessica Paz. Costumes Clint Ramos. Aerial Effects Patti Rubin. Lighting Peter West. Casting Stuart Howard. Music Scott Killian. Choreography Tracy Bersley. Stage Violence Rick Sordelet. With Jeff Biehl (Sordido), Geraint Wyn Davies (Duke), Al Espinosa (Hippolito), Jacob Fishel (Leantio), Jonathan Fried (Cardinal), Jennifer Ikeda (Bianca), Roberta Maxwell (Mother), Kathryn Meisle (Livia), Alex Morf (Ward), Everett Quinton (Fabrito), Liv Rooth (Isabella), John Douglas Thompson (Guardiano), and others.

The Winter's Tale

Presented by The Bridge Project at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Februrary 10-March 8, 2009. Directed by Sam Mendes. Set design AnthonyWard. Costume design Catherine Zuber. Lighting design Paul Pyant. Sound design Paul Arditti. Hair & wig design Tom Watson. Music Mark Bennet. Music direction Dan Lipton. Casting Nancy Piccione and Maggie Lum. Choreography Josh Prince. Featuring Simon Russell Beale (Leontes), Rebecca Hall (Hermione), Morven Christie (Mamillius), Paul Jesson (Camillo), Dakin Matthews (Antigonus), Sinbad Cusak (Paulina), Hannah Stokely (Emilia), Josh Hamilton (Polixenes), Michael Braun (Florizel), Morven Christie (Perdita), Richard Easton (Shepherd), Tobias Segal (Clown), Ethan Hawke (Autolycus), Mark Nelson (Time), Gary Powell (Bear), and others.

The Merchant of Venice

Presented by Propeller at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, May 6-17, 2009. Directed by Edward Hall. Set design Michael Pavelka. Lighting design Ben Ormerod. Music Propeller and Jon Trenchard. Text adaptation Edward Hall and Roger Warren. Relights on Tour Richard Howell. Production Manager Nick Ferguson. Company Stage Manager Nick Chesterfield. Deputy Stage Manager Claim Henders. Assistant Stage Managers Dawn Maxfield, Bryony Rutter. Costume Supervisor Hannah Lobelson. Wardrobe Mistress Bridget Fell. Production Photographer Nobby Clark. Assistant Director Paul Hart. Sets Built and Painted by Factory Settings. Lighting Equipment supplied by Stage Electrics. With Bob Barrett (Antonio), Sam Swainsbury (Salerio),Jack Tarlton (Bassanio), Richard Frame (Gratiano), Richard Dempsey (Lorenzo), Kelsey Brookfield (Portia), Chris Myles (Nerissa), Richard Clothier (Shylock), Jonathan Livingstone (Morocco), Thomas Padden (Tubal, Aragon), John Dougall (Lancelot Gobbo), Jon Trenchard (Jessica), and others.

Who fills the seats? Whose name sells the most tickets? Who really occupies the center of today's early modern productions in New York City? For many of us, of course, the relevant name is William Shakespeare (or Thomas Middleton), but looking back at major Shakespeare productions over the past few years suggests that having a Big Star may be necessary to secure an audience (and a theatrical venue). That star comes to define the production, and his or her name becomes the most common shorthand for the entire show. Some top-flight directors have marketable names, and surely Trevor Nunn, Rupert Goold, and Robert Falls each provided good publicity for their respective recent productions in New York and Washington, D.C. But most of the publicity (and most reviewers) gave top billing to the lead actors: Ian McKellen's Lear (RSC, 2007-8), Patrick Stewart's Macbeth (Chichester Festival, 2007-8), and Stacy Keach's Lear (Shakespeare Theatre, 2009). These shows and others like them--New Yorkers might recall Denzel Washington as Brutus in Julius Caesar, or Ewan Macgregor's Iago in London, or most recently the "Dr. Who Hamlet" in Stratford--represent one mainstream project in current Shakespeare productions, in which a company leverages a star's power to promote the production, and that decision largely shapes what we see on stage. …