Published : Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 11:48 AM
Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theatre of California, announces the cast and creative team for the Los Angeles Premiere of King Charles III by Mike Bartlett, the second production of the 2017/18 Centennial Season of the Pasadena Playhouse, which also serves as Producer Artistic Director Danny Feldman’s inaugural season.
Performances are from November 8 to December 3. Tickets are now on sale at pasadenaplayhouse.org.
King Charles III will be directed by Michael Michetti, who is currently helming three consecutive productions in Pasadena – this production, Mrs. Warren’s Profession at A Noise Within, and in February A Streetcar Named Desire at The Theatre @ Boston Court, where he is co-artistic director.
As in Shakespeare, Bartlett, using both blank verse and prose, speculates on what happens after the Queen is dead. After a lifetime of wanting and waiting, Prince Charles (Jim Abele) ascends to the throne. The characters are a mix of some the audience might expect — Camilla (Laura Gardner), William (Adam Haas Hunter), daughter-in-law Kate (Meghan Andrews) and Harry (Dylan Sanders) – and some they wouldn’t: Harry’s new love interest replete with a past (Sarah Hollis), and the family Ghost (Nike Doukas) whose picture on the cover can still sell a lot of magazines. Then there’s the Prime Minister, Evans (J. Paul Boehmer), publicity counsel Reiss (Mark Capri) and Stevens, the opposition leader (Carie Kawa).
The cast for the Pasadena Playhouse production is completed with Amielynn Abellera, Dileep Rao, Robert Beddall, Eamon Hunt, Bo Foxworth and Abe Martell.
“We thought King Charles III a most fitting play for our Centennial Season,” said Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Danny Feldman. “This Oliver Award winning, Tony nominated play has one foot deeply planted in the Shakespearean tradition and another foot in the future. It’s a great nod to our history as we became the State Theatre of California in 1937 when the Pasadena Playhouse performed the entire canon of Shakespeare’s plays. And thematically, the play feels more contemporary and relevant than when it first premiered just two years ago ”
Director Michael Michetti said, “Bartlett takes these iconic, beloved, and often ridiculed public figures and creates a ‘Future History Play’ in the spirit and style of Shakespeare. The result is a clever, beautifully crafted drama which mixes gorgeous dialogue, humor and tragedy, and the intrigue of a political thriller, while giving us a rare glimpse at what just might be going on at Buckingham Palace when the Royal Family is away from the prying eyes of the public and the press.”
Playwright Mike Bartlett wrote in The Guardian regarding his experience writing the play, “The idea for King Charles III arrived in my imagination with the form and content very clear, and inextricably linked. It would be a play about the moment Charles takes the throne, and how his conscience would lead him to refuse to sign a bill into law. An epic royal family drama, dealing with power and national constitution, was the content, and therefore the form had surely to be Shakespearean. Characters in this form are allowed to use extended imagery to explore psychology and for a writer this is seductive. You can understand why Shakespeare succumbed to it so often.”
“Then in performance audiences seemed to enjoy it. Some of them didn’t realize it was in verse until they saw the text on the page. At first I thought this was a shame, but I quickly understood that it meant they were enjoying it for all the right reasons – meaning, imagery, character – rather than worrying about the technical aspects. I hugely enjoyed the process of writing this play, more than any play I’d written before. I loved what heightened language could do in a scene, and being able to have a character explore inner decision-making and psychology with an audience.”
Receiving almost unanimous raves from both sides of the pond, Ben Brantley in The New York Times said the play is a “dazzlingly presumptuous drama … a flat-out brilliant portrait of a monarchy in crisis … Mr. Bartlett ventures not only into the future but also into the minds of public figures who are notorious for never revealing their thoughts. He opens up these shuttered psyches by means of language, structure and theatrical devices that brazenly imitate those of one (gulp!) William Shakespeare. Mr. Bartlett sails with bravado over every high hurdle he sets up … a splendid, high-reaching and utterly unexpected play.”
Richard Zoglin said in Time Magazine, “It is a gripping evening of theater, a rare contemporary play with real tragic vision, and easily the sharpest, most sophisticated political drama I have ever seen on stage.” David Rooney said in The Hollywood Reporter, “a surprisingly gripping and original political thriller, told with as much compassion as cynicism … despite the entertaining theatricality of its language, the play is ultimately more notable for its depth of character and moral complexity, especially as concerns the key figures of Charles, William, Kate and Harry.”
King Charles III will be performed Wednesday, November 8 to Sunday, December 3, 2017 at The Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena). Wednesday to Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are $25.00 to $96.00. To purchase tickets by phone contact (626) 356-7529 or online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
About the Pasadena Playhouse
Celebrating its centennial this year, Pasadena Playhouse is one of the most prolific theater companies in America. Its legacy includes world premieres by beloved American playwrights Eugene O’Neil and Tennessee Williams and productions that have transferred to Broadway like Sister Act: The Musical. In 1937, the Playhouse was officially recognized as the State Theater of California for its contribution and commitment to the dramatic arts. Today it continues that tradition of excellence under the helm of Producing Artistic Director, Danny Feldman. Dedicated to enriching lives through theater, community programs and learning, Pasadena Playhouse is a living force in the community.