Shakespeare-inspired ISLAND; OR, TO BE OR NOT TO BE receives NYC Premiere Courtesy of New York Shakespeare Exchange
New York Shakespeare Exchange is thrilled to announce the NYC Premiere of ISLAND; OR, TO BE OR NOT TO BE, written by Kevin Brewer and directed by Ross Williams. ISLAND; OR, TO BE OR NOT TO BE begins performances on Tuesday, September 25 for a limited engagement through Saturday, October 13. Press Opening is Sunday, September 30 at 7 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 PM; and Wednesday– Saturday at 8 PM. Please note there are 7 PM performances on Wednesday, September 26 and Sunday, September 30. Performances are at The Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B). The regular ticket price is $18. For tickets, call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com. For more information, visit www.IslandThePlay.com.
A ferocious tempest brings a pair of shipwrecked young women to a bewildering kingdom brimming with star-crossed lovers, bumbling constables, an exiled king, an usurping brother, sinister witches, daring duels, potent poison and merciless murder. The girls’ arrival creates a chaos that threatens to change the island and all its inhabitants forever… In the spirit of Shakespeare’s fanciful comedies, Kevin Brewer creates an enchanting ISLAND where reality is relative and comedy reigns supreme.
Called a young company that is “not just promising: It’s delivering” by Time Out NY, ISLAND; OR, TO BE OR NOT TO BE marks the third full production for New York Shakespeare Exchange.
The cast of includes Eric Percival (King John II); Brad Lewandowski (Prince Palamon); Zac Hoogendyk (Lord Richard); Michael E. Lopez (Lord Escalus); Erik Olson (Arcite); Melissa Carlile-Price (Rosaline); Michael Shattner (Sir Pompey Martext); Harry Barandes (Major-Major Echo); Anna Paratore (Major Bellows); Brian Cheng (Minor-Half-Deputy Silence); Leigh Williams (Asnath); Virginia Donohoe (Timandra); Elizabeth Neptune (Phrynia); Ryan Wilson (Balthasar); Amy Stringer (Jessica); Katelin Wilcox (Julia); Evelyn Spahr (K); and Adam Patterson (Aaron).
The design team includes: G. Warren Stiles (Scenic Design); Kristine Koury (Costume Design); Daniel Winters (Lighting Design); and Marissa Bergman (Props Design). Alicia Rodis is Fight Choreographer. Paige Blansfield is Dance Choreographer. David Hoffman is Composer. Sophia Vastek is Music Director. The Dramaturg is Shane Breaux.
Ross Williams (director) founded New York Shakespeare Exchange in 2009 as a vehicle for engaging new audiences with classical theater. He is a director, teacher and performer committed to the development of highly theatrical work. Onstage, he most notably originated the role of Gimli the battle axe-wielding dwarf in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings musical extravaganza in Toronto.
Kevin Brewer (playwright) is an award-winning playwright and actor based in New York City. In 2010 he collaborated with NY Shakespeare Exchange to bring his multi-media The One Man (Two Man (not quite)) Hamlet to the stage. His 5-act Shakespearean comedy, Island, received the Peterson Emerging Playwright Award at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C and was selected as Catawba’s American College Theatre Festival entry for 2003. In New York his work has been showcased with Judith Shakespeare Company (Island, staged reading) and Sonnet Repertory Theatre (an evening of Kevin Brewer short plays). In 2004 his play Jinx, took first place at Riant Theatre’s 2004 Strawberry One-Act Festival. Acting credits include NYSX (Cardinal Pandulf, King John); N.C. Shakespeare Festival (Caliban, The Tempest), Great Lakes Theatre Festival (Rosencrantz, Hamlet), Cleveland Shakespeare (Brutus, Julius Caesar) and the Cleveland Play House (Angelo, Measure for Measure). Education: BFA (English), Michigan State University; MFA (acting), Case University.
New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX) offers innovative theatrical programming that explores what happens when contemporary culture is infused with Shakespearean poetry and themes in unexpected ways. Providing fresh points of entry to the work so that modern audiences will be exposed to the intrinsic power of Shakespeare, NYSX’s goal is to encourage an enthusiastic appreciation of classical theater and to expand the reach of the art form within new and existing audiences. New York Shakespeare Exchange premiered in spring 2010 as part of the HEREstay residency program at HEREArts with The One Man (Two Man (not quite)) Hamlet by Kevin Brewer, followed by the critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s rarely performed The Life and Death of King John, adapted and directed by Ross Williams, in 2011.
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