The Folger Theatre celebrates its 25th anniversary season by adding an intoxicating dose of Jane Austen to its Shakespeare lineup and brings back one of its most accomplished actors to play Timon of Athens.
The 2016–2017 season begins in September with a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel Sense and Sensibility. Adapted for the stage by Kate Hamill, this timeless tale of passions—those smoldering and those more restrained—is directed by Eric Tucker, artistic director and co-founder of New York’s Bedlam Theater, which successfully developed and ingeniously staged the adaptation that has been a critical hit in New York. This new production of Sense and Sensibility marks the first time a Jane Austen title will be produced on the Folger stage, but it is running in conjunction with the Folger exhibition Will and Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity.
Banishing winter, Folger Theatre will enter the Forest of Arden in January, staging one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies, As You Like It, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. The production is in association with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.
The season concludes with Timon of Athens, Shakespeare’s examination of generosity and greed. Directed by Robert Richmond (Othello, Henry V at Folger Theatre), the production will star Ian Merrill Peakes in the title role of Timon. Peakes has graced this stage often, most memorably as Macbeth in the 2009 Teller-Aaron Posner production, Iago and Henry VIII in Richmond-helmed productions, and last year as The Player in the Posner-directed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
For a limited run during the holiday season, Folger Theatre, in collaboration with the Folger Consort early music ensemble, will present a blend of music and theater in The Second Shepherds’ Play. Developed as a holiday production by the Folger in 2007, this telling of the Nativity story is adapted and directed by Helen Hayes Award-winner Mary Hall Surface.
“Producing Shakespeare and other terrific plays in this peerless theater at the Folger—the first Elizabethan-styled theatre built in North America—has been an absolute joy," Folger Artistic Producer Janet Alexander Griffin said in the press release announcing the season. "The space itself is inspiring and has inspired 25 years of performances of plays—works among the greatest the English language has to offer. In this anniversary season, we’ll not only stage Shakespeare, but another literary icon—Jane Austen—and in a smart, sharp adaptation by an American woman. And it will be wonderful to welcome another American woman, Gaye Taylor Upchurch, for the first time to direct one of the great Shakespearean comedies. Closing our season, we’re excited to have Robert Richmond back to tackle Timon of Athens, Shakespeare’s pointed play about the uses and abuses of money.”
Subscriptions are currently on sale. Single tickets will go on sale in August. Visit www.folger.edu/folger-theatre for more information or call the Folger Box Office at 202-544-7077. For the season schedule, visit Bard on the Boards.
May 12, 2016