Our 2014-2015 Season of Plays!
Equivocation by Bill Cain
A co-production with Virginia Repertory Theatre at the November Theatre
September 25 – October 19, 2014
It is 1606, and Shakespeare has been commanded to write a propaganda play about the Gunpowder Plot, in service to King James. Will he agree to be a pawn in the cynical gamesmanship of the king’s spymaster, or will he equivocate—lie by telling the truth? The playwright, his acting company, and a variety of historical figures clash in this high-stakes political thriller about the treacherous complexities of the truth and the terrible consequences of compromise. We are thrilled to partner with Virginia Repertory Theatre for this production in the beautiful November Theatre!
6th Annual Bootleg Shakespeare: ANTONY & CLEOPATRA by William Shakespeare
In partnership with Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at the Leslie Cheek Theater
Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 7:30pm
One of the world’s most famous tales of passion and war comes alive in this special performance of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra—Bootleg style! Mark Antony, the Roman military champion, is torn between his love for the volatile, irresistible Cleopatra, and his duty to the vast empire he helped to build. Bootleg Shakespeare brings together some of Richmond’s finest talents for one crazy day of rehearsal, and presents it to our community for a single night, free of charge. This show is first-come first-served and is normally sold out minutes after tickets are released. Avoid standing on line and secure your seats by including a $25 donation with your subscription.
MR. DICKENS’ CHRISTMAS CAROL adapted by Bo Wilson
At VCU’s Grace Street Theater
November 28 – December 20, 2014
The music, joy, and poignant warmth of the season grace our stage in this, the greatest Christmas ghost story of all time. Ebenezer Scrooge faces Christmases past, present and future in his mystical journey of transformation and redemption. Local playwright Bo Wilson’s adaptation glows with inspired theatricality and charm, with four actors portraying all the beloved characters from the novel – including Mr. Charles Dickens himself!
THE LION IN WINTER by James Goldman
February 5 – February 28, 2015
In a family scuffle over succession to England’s throne, King Henry II of England squares off against three malcontented sons and his banished queen, the notorious Eleanor of Aquitaine. The kingdom teeters on the brink of bloody war, but the conniving members of this power-hungry tribe maneuver precariously for power, in this darkly hilarious modern take on medieval royals. Starring David Bridgewater as Henry II and Melissa Johnston Price as Eleanor. We are proud to be the first to bring a full run of a theatrical production back to the Leslie Cheek Theatre at the VMFA after a hiatus of thirteen years.
ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare
SPARC Performances: February 12 – 14, 2015
Touring Performances: February – May, 2015
We are excited to announce that we have been selected as one of forty professional theatre companies in the United States to participate in the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest for a Shakespeare in American Communities grant. This prestigious grant will allow us to perform a touring version of this play in the spring of 2015.
SAM AND CAROL: a play where everything is true by David L. Robbins
At the Gottwald Playhouse at Richmond CenterStage
April 2 – April 25, 2015
In this world premiere of a new work by renowned Richmond novelist, David L. Robbins, the story is at once personal and universal. Based on his own parents’ lives, the story starts during WWII, ends in modern day Richmond, and is a tour-de-force for two actors playing twenty-nine different roles. Beginning with a Pearl Harbor poker game in which Sam “wins” a Pittsburgh girl he’s never met, the play courses across a half-century of American history and celebrates an extraordinary generation, the challenging times that formed them, the Jewish heritage that sustained them, and the legacies they left behind. We are delighted to announce that Eva DeVirgilis, who starred in Henley Street Theatre’s production of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, will be playing the role of Carol. Joining her will be Richmond favorite, Nicklas Aliff as Sam.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING by William Shakespeare|
The Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall
June 4 – June 28, 2015
While young lovers Claudio and Hero have their upcoming wedding sabotaged by the schemes of a resentful soldier, sharp-tongued rivals Beatrice and Benedick fall prey to a prank by their friends; each becomes convinced the other is in love with them. Despite vicious volleys of cynical wit, they somehow manage to find true love in this, one of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies.
HAMLET by William Shakespeare
The Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall
July 9 – August 2, 2015
This summer, we are excited about exploring Hamlet through an alternate lens. Contemporary monarchies are rocked by new generations’ beliefs and desires, eroding all that seems true. Following a 200-year-old tradition of female Hamlets, Richmond’s award-winning actress, Molly Hood, will take on the title role. Shakespeare lays bare his characters’ nobility and fallibility and, in that spirit, this production will investigate the implications of a modern woman as heir to an ancient throne. All the immortal passion, tumult, and force of Shakespeare’s text will shine in this contemporary kingdom, as our 21st century Hamlet contends with a feckless mother, venomous stepfather, and forbidden love.
Historical Play Reading Series
Scandals and Tragedies: Theatre in the Headlines of History
Join us for this thrilling new series of four captivating and entertaining plays rooted in the history of Richmond, the U.S., and the world – from 9/11, to the Richmond theatre fire, to late 19th century riots in Paris, to Lincoln’s assassination! We’ll have RVA’s finest directors and actors bringing these rarely-produced gems alive on our stage, joined by some of the area’s most respected scholars and theatre artists for lively and illuminating talkbacks following each production.
Omnium Gatherum by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Theresa Rebeck. This play was one of three finalists for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. In the shadow of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, a dinner party is held in a lovely Manhattan apartment, with an odd assortment of guests and exquisite food emerging from a smoke-filled kitchen. Their conversation ranges brilliantly over capitalism, terrorism, popular culture, feminism, food, wealth, heroism, morality, Eastern meditation, Star Trek—and justice.
Presented on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at the Gottwald Playhouse at Richmond CenterStage.
The Father, or Family Feuds by Denis Diderot and Raymond and Agness, or The Bleeding Nunby Matthew Gregory Lewis. On December 26th, 1811, an excited crowd of theatergoers had packed themselves into the Richmond Theatre to see a double bill of a play and a pantomime. The play was The Father, or Family Feuds, a translation from French comedy by Diderot, about a young nobleman who falls in love with a poor girl. His family threatens to send her to a convent—and much hilarity ensues. The pantomime that followed it was Raymond and Agness, or The Bleeding Nun—a Gothic story of the Bleeding Nun who haunts the castle of Lindberg.
On that fateful night, 518 adults and 80 children were enjoying the performance in the Richmond Theatre on Broad Street, when a chandelier in the theatre started a fire. The flames were fed by the hanging drops on the stage and soon roared out of control. The audience panicked and stampeded the doors. 72 died in the fire: 54 women and 18 men, including Governor George William Smith, and former Senator Abraham Venable. It was the worst urban disaster of all time in the country. We will present our reading at the Monumental Church, which was built on the grounds of the theatre as a memorial to commemorate the 72 people who died on the site.
Presented on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7pm at Monumental Church.
Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry. In anticipation of Richmond’s French Film Festival, we will bring you Ubu Roi. This play caused a near-riot in the audience on its debut—which was also its closing night—in Paris in 1896. From its first shouted word, “Merdre!”—a very thinly-disguised allusion to a French word for excrement—to its absurd ending, Ubu Roi is a scandalously provocative play that has fascinated audiences for over a hundred years. In it, the childish and uncontrollable Ubu—sometimes referred to as King Turd—leads a revolution and kills the King of Poland, whose ghost appears and cries out for revenge. Ubu responds by attempting to kill most of the population for their money. Chaos erupts, followed by more mayhem, a lot of betrayal, and one very funny dead bear.
Presented on Sunday, March 22 at 1:30pm at the Byrd Theatre.