2012-2013 Season Preview: An Interview with Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Michael Kahn by Joel Markowitz

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Michael Kahn schmoozed with me about the exciting 2012-2013 season at STC.

Michael Kahn. Photo by Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post.

Joel: You have a very exciting schedule for 2012-2013. 

Michael: We are producing six shows this season and we have some shows that we are ‘presenting.’

I noticed that you will be hosting two shows – Coriolanus and Friedrich Schiller’s Wallenstein – called The Hero/Traitor Repertory which is part of the Clarice Smith Repertory Series.

Clarice made a gift to the theatre in order for us to do repertory. And because it’s so expensive to do this she made a gift to the theatre for three years to do it. You know in the past that we did Richard III and Henry V among others. It’s a major undertaking and she generously gave us a grant.

Take us through your 2012-2013 season.

Well, we are in rehearsals for The Government Inspector and we haven’t done it before, and I am really pleased about that. And it’s a really funny adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher. Derek Smith is the lead and there is a slew of Washington favorites in the cast – including Tom Story, Harry A. Winter, Craig Wallace, Lawrence Redmond, Nancy Robinette, Sarah Marshall, Rick Foucheux, and Floyd King. And it’s going to open on September 13th.

I am always happy when local actors are being hired. Do you think there’s a problem that they keep bringing in too many actors from out of town?

No. I think the good actors in Washington tend to work quite a bit. There have always been some people from other places and I hire who the best actor is for the role. And in our case, you will see a lot of local actors on our stage.

You are bringing back Black Watch to STC. It was one of the most moving theatrical experiences I have ever had in the theatre. Why are you bringing it back?

Well we ran it for a limited number of performances because of the National Theatre of Scotland‘s schedule and ours. It was all sold out and we were aware that there were a lot of people who didn’t see it – and there were those who did see it who felt exactly how you did. So, we had the opportunity because they are again touring the United States and they have the opportunity to open their tour here again. It’s a complicated thing because we have to turn the theatre around. We are so glad that we could schedule it again when we are not producing our own show.

Let’s talk about the production that you yourself are directing and why you wanted to direct them.

They are all great plays and when The Government Inspector came to me I knew it gave me the opportunity to get a lot of actors to be in it. Coriolanus, which is being performed in repertory with Wallenstein, gives us the opportunity to bring Davis Muse back to direct it. Wallenstein, by Friedrich Schiller, is a play I don’t think anyone has seen in our area. It’s about General Albrecht von Wallenstein during the Thirty Years War and he’s such an interesting character. It’s been adapted by Robert Pinsky who was a Poet Laureate here in the States, and it’s now a one evening play.

It’s about a great military leader –  General Albrecht von Wallenstein during the Thirty Years War and he’s such an interesting character. I think for political and moral reasons he turns against the leadership of his country. Coriolanus is also about a military leader who also falls because he also turns against his own country. So I thought it would be interesting to contrast both plays. And we will have some discussions with guests who will talk about what is a military leader’s responsibilities for his country.

A lot of people don’t know that STC also hosts National Theatre Live.

Well, the people who do know about it come and the performances are usually sold out. It’s from The National Theatre in London and it’s their productions which they stream live from the theatre. We are the only people in town who do that, and we show it on a large screen and they are very popular. But they are only one night, so people need to know about it early to get in there and buy tickets.

Congratulations again on STC winning the Regional Theatre Tony Award. 

Thanks so much! Winning the award has been great for everyone who works at Shakespeare Theatre Company, and our subscribers are pleased that the theatre has received that kind of recognition. I think it’s more an honor than helping you in other ways. and at the Tonys it showed the other theatres how the not-for-profit theatres contribute to the theatre community.

Why should local theatregoers buy a subscription to Shakespeare Theatre Company’s 2012-2-13 season?  

There are several reasons: (1) You get the seats you want. You get the best seats and priority seating. (2) If you can’t come we will arrange for you to come on another night or performance, and (3) It’s very helpful to the theatre so we know there is an audience that is going to come early in the run and who we can rely on. We will continue to produce challenging plays because our subscribers don’t want us to do the same plays over and over again. We will continue to bring new plays into the repertoire which gives us the courage to continue what we do.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s 2012-2013 Schedule:  

Discover a season of dreams, heroism versus treachery and a wintery tale.

Free For All
William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well Heroine Helena overcomes one obstacle after another in this romantic season opener, which is a remounting of Michael Kahn’s 2010 production.

Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie

THE HERO/TRAITOR REPERTORY – The Clarice Smith Repertory Series William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus

Friedrich Schiller’s Wallenstein

William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale

The National Theatre of Scotland’s  Black Watch

The National Theatre of Scotland’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Theatre de Atelier’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Have you already renewed or purchased your subscription for the 2012-2013 Season and would like to purchase these presentations? Click here.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s website.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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