The price of glory. The brutality of war. A lawless free-fire zone brimming with loyalists and revolutionaries.
In February two powerhouses of American theater, The Guthrie Theater and The Acting Company, will join forces to present a pair of adventure classics at Washington University’s Edison Theatre.
Andy Grotelueschen (right) as Captain Lawson and Rick Ford as Mr. Wharton in *The Spy.* Photo by James Culp for The Acting Company.
On Feb. 13 director Davis McCallum will lead a cast of 12 in William Shakespeare’s epic King Henry V. Then, on Feb. 14, John Miller-Stephany, associate artistic director of the Guthrie, will direct Jeffrey Hatcher’s world premiere adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy.
Both performances begin at 8 p.m. and are presented by the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series. Tickets are $32; $28 seniors and Washington University faculty and staff; and $20 for students and children. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
For more information, call (314) 935-6543 or email Edison@wustl.edu.
Based on the life of Henry V (1386-1422), King Henry V follows the young and ambitious English monarch as he attempts to secure his political position at home by turning the country’s attention abroad. Launching a hasty invasion of France, Henry and his ragtag army confront heavy opposition but, following a dramatic stand at the Battle of Agincourt, succeed in uniting the two nations (however briefly). Yet Shakespeare frankly juxtaposes the heroics of battle with its human costs, capturing the pained and complex reactions of men who are sometimes unsure of the justice of their cause.
Carie Kawa as Sarah Wharton and Ron Menzel as Harvey Birch in *The Spy*. Photo by James Culp for The Acting Company.
The Spy, set during the American Revolution, centers on the Wharton family, a prosperous New York clan living on “neutral ground” between British forces in Manhattan and American rebels further north. Though divided in their loyalties — the older daughter, Sarah, is preparing to marry a British colonel while the younger daughter, Frances, is engaged to an American major — the Whartons remain at peace until Henry, the only son, is arrested as a British spy. Yet as he awaits hanging, Henry finds his fate in the hands of mysterious wandering peddler named Harvey Birch, a supposed British loyalist who may or may not be working for George Washington.
The cast of 12 — which performs several dozen roles over the course of the two shows — is comprised of Acting Company alumni as well as graduates of the Guthrie Experience and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. actor training programs. Leading the ensemble are Matthew Amendt as Henry V and Ron Menzel as Harvey Birch, along with Freddy Arsenault, Georgia Cohen, Kelley Curran, Rick Ford, Andy Grotelueschen, Carie Kawa, Robert Michael McClure, William Sturdivant, Samuel Taylor and Sonny Valicenti.
Based in Minneapolis, The Guthrie Theater was founded in 1963 by the great English director Sir Tyrone Guthrie as a center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. In addition to touring mainstage shows, the Guthrie performs contemporary pieces through The Guthrie Lab and runs educational programs that reach more than 90,000 students every year.
The Acting Company, also based in Minneapolis, was founded in 1972 by the late John Houseman and by producing director Margot Harley, who wanted to bring the live experience of classic theater to smaller cities, towns and rural communities that might otherwise go unserved. In the years since, the troupe has performed 131 plays in 48 states and 10 foreign countries. Alumni include major figures ranging from Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone to Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright, Jesse L. Martin, David Ogden Stiers and Rainn Wilson.
Samuel Taylor as Corporal Singleton and Sonny Valicenti as Lt. Geoffrey Wharton. Photo by James Culp for The Acting Company.
Founded in 1973, the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.
Edison Theatre programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS! Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
The production of King Henry V is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national theater initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
WHO: The Guthrie Theater and The Acting Company
WHAT: William Shakespeare’s King Henry V and James Fenimore Cooper’ss The Spy, adapted by Jeffery Hatcher
WHEN: King Henry V: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13; The Spy: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14
WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
TICKETS: OVATIONS!: $32; $28 for seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; $20 for students and children. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets