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‘King Richard II’ features talented cast

Robert Sean Leonard appears in the title role of “King Richard II,” by William Shakespeare, directed by Erica Schmidt, running through July 15. (Photo by Jim Cox)

‘King Richard II’ features talented cast

The Old Globe’s 2017 Summer Shakespeare Festival features William Shakespeare’s epic “King Richard II,” helmed by award-winning director Erica Schmidt (Off Broadway’s “A Month in the Country,” “All the Fine Boys,” “Humor Abuse”) in her Globe debut. The play will run through July 15 in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Opening night is tonight, Sunday, June 18 at 8 p.m.

Convinced of his divine right to rule, King Richard acts recklessly and provides the canny Henry Bolingbroke an opening to seize the crown. Filled with magnificent verse and memorable characters, the exciting and dramatic “King Richard II” is a moving and insightful portrait of how the forces of history collide and combust to shape a nation’s political landscape.

Tony Award winner Robert Sean Leonard takes on the title role of “King Richard II.” Globe audiences will remember him from his memorable roles as Henry Higgins in “Pygmalion” in 2011 and Edgar in Jack O’Brien’s “King Lear” in 1993 opposite Hal Holbrook. Leonard is probably best known for playing Dr. James Wilson for eight seasons on the hit television series “House” and for playing Neil Perry in “Dead Poets Society,” his film debut. He also has more than a dozen Broadway credits.

Joining him in the cast are John Ahlin (Broadway’s “Waiting for Godot,” “Journey’s End,” “Macbeth”) as Earl of Northumberland; Jake Horowitz (“King Lear,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” David Cromer’s “Our Town” Off Broadway) as Duke of Aumerle; Old Globe Associate Artist Charles Janasz (32 productions at The Old Globe, most recently 2013 Shakespeare Festival) as John of Gaunt and Gardener; Patrick Kerr (Globe’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” and “Twelfth Night,” “Frasier,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Duke of York; Tory Kittles (“Colony,” “True Detective,” “Sons of Anarchy”) as Henry Bolingbroke; Ian Lassiter (“The Cherry Orchard” and “War Horse” on Broadway) as Thomas Mowbray, Welsh Captain, and Keeper; Lizabeth Mackay (Globe’s “Faith Healer,” Broadway’s “Crimes of the Heart”) as Duchess of York and Servingwoman; James Joseph O’Neill (a dozen Globe credits, include “Macbeth” last year) as Bishop of Carlisle; and San Diego local Connor Sullivan (Globe’s “Sense and Sensibility,” “The Metromaniacs”) as Lord Willoughby. The cast also includes students in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

“It’s been five years since we’ve produced one of Shakespeare’s history plays in our renowned Summer Festival, and I’m thrilled to put ‘King Richard II,’ one of my favorites, on center stage,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “It’s a rich and exciting work, full of great poetry and pageantry, and it asks pointed and resonant questions about patriotism, leadership, and how politics shape a nation’s destiny. Robert Sean Leonard, one of the most gifted actors of his generation, is perfect for the title role, a potent monarch with the soul of a poet, and Erica Schmidt’s smart and vibrant production will make for a wonderful night in the theater.”

Additional events taking place during the run of “King Richard II” include:
Post show forums: Tuesday, June 20; Wednesday, June 21; and Tuesday, June 27. These are informal and enlightening question-and-answer sessions with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. Free.
Shakespeare in the Garden: Tuesday, June 20; Wednesday, June 21; Thursday, June 22; Friday, June 23; and Saturday, June 24; all at 7 p.m. This is a series of informal presentations that enhance the Summer Shakespeare Festival experience. These seminars feature members of the festival creative team and take place in the Craig Noel Garden before each performance. Free.

Tickets to “King Richard II” start at $30 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623). Opening night is tonight, June 18. Regular performances: Tuesdays through Sundays. There is an added performance on Monday, July 3. There are no performances on Saturday, June 17; Tuesday, July 4; or Sunday, July 16.

Director Erica Schmidt (center) with the cast of “King Richard II,” by William Shakespeare. (Photo by Jim Cox)

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theaters. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theater’s artistic and arts engagement programs.

The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Visit theoldglobe.org.

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