October 22, 2012 (Milwaukee, WI) - Shakespeare & Company, Artistic Director Tony Simotes and the Peck School of the Arts are pleased to announce that Dennis Krausnick, Shakespeare & Company Director of Training and star of this summer's acclaimed main stage production of The Tragedy of King Lear, will reprise the role of the aging monarch in a production at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). This production of The Tragedy of King Lear will also be directed by Rebecca Holderness, a professor at the Peck School, and is part of the university's "Year of the Arts" celebration, which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Peck School of the Arts.
The Tragedy of King Lear will be presented November 14-18 at the UWM Mainstage Theatre (2400 E. Kenwood Boulevard, Milwaukee, WI). The performances will be at 7:30pm Wednesday through Saturday, with a final performance Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets are available from the Peck School of the Arts box office, (414) 229-4308 or arts.uwm.edu/tickets. Tickets are $17 for adults; $12 for seniors, UWM faculty, staff and alumni; $10 for Peck School faculty, staff and other university students; $5 for ages 13-18 and Peck School students; free for under 12 and Peck School Theatre majors.
Shakespeare's profound tale of regret, and the crowning masterpiece of the world's greatest dramatist, details Lear's regression into sickness and strife over his biggest mistake - unwittingly severing the unity within his family. The UWM production, like the production at Shakespeare & Company this past summer, sets this precisely crafted and heartbreaking tale in 1906 Russia, as the last monarchy crumbled, the country verged on revolution and chaos moved to war.
"Remarkable in both productions is a theme of generational conflict," continues Holderness. "Both productions also feature the work of master artists and young ones, working side by side. So the production brings the story of Lear's nation and the responsibility of leadership to the front." In January 2013, Holderness will direct a production of Kafka in Washington D.C. followed by a production of Ruined in March in Raleigh, N.C.
Krausnick has an extensive history with the play, which began in 1997 when he directed Olympia Dukakis in The Lear Project at Shakespeare & Company with his wife, Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, as The Fool. This year, after playing Lear at several venues across the United States, Krausnick took on the title role for the first time on Shakespeare & Company's main stage, the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Krausnick will be in Milwaukee for a month-long residency to rehearse and ultimately reprise the role of Lear. He will be joined on stage by Associate Professor Bill Watson, who appeared in Shakespeare & Company's production of Lear as Cornwall and will play Gloucester in the UWM production. Professor James Tasse, a participant in last winter's Month-long Intensive workshop at Shakespeare & Company, will play Kent. UWM students will portray the other roles, providing a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to work alongside professional actors.
Costumes designed by Govane Lohbauer, Shakespeare & Company's Costume Director, will be used for the production. This semester, Lohbauer has worked with UWM students in the costume production curriculum to enhance their experience. Associate Professor Christopher Guse will work on scene and audio production and composer Peter Bayne will score the production.
Shakespeare & Company Artistic Director Tony Simotes also has a connection to the University of Wisconsin system. Prior to assuming the role of Artistic Director, Simotes was the Director of the University Theater at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a co-founder of the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Project.
"The University of Wisconsin system has had a tremendous impact on me as a professional artist and professor," says Simotes. "I'm elated that the connection with Shakespeare & Company will persist in Milwaukee this fall with the hugely successful collaboration between Dennis and Rebecca. Looking at my own position, the University of Wisconsin has been heavily integrated into the success of the Company in recent years. From Josh Aaron McCabe to Ryan Winkles, Wisconsin has produced some of our finest Company artists.
"I'm also excited that Bill Watson, my assistant director on our production of The Tempest with Olympia Dukakis, will also be involved. He was hugely instrumental in helping me - every step of the way - to achieve my vision for the production. Rebecca Holderness was on my artistic team for our 2011 production of As You Like It, and we found incredible success together. Shakespeare & Company's synchronicity with our friends in Milwaukee has created extraordinary contributions to our Company's success in recent years."
Year of the Arts at UWM
In the 2012-13 academic year (July 2012-June 2013), UWM will celebrate the Year of the Arts through a series of events, programs and activities taking place on campus and in collaboration with a wide-variety of community partners. The Year of the Arts will recognize the 50th anniversary of the Peck School of the Arts, its influence in the Wisconsin arts community, and the impact that the arts has in every discipline.
To date, more than 50 on-campus and community partners are working together on Year of the Arts activities that will touch every student and showcase several world-premiere and signature programs for UWM and the general community. And all of this is in addition to the 350+ dance, music and theater performances, art and design exhibitions, film screenings, and events that the Peck School hosts every year, along with stellar exhibits at the Institute for Visual Arts (INOVA) and world-class performances by the Fine Arts Quartet.
REBECCA HOLDERNESS (Director of King Lear): S&Co: Director Glimpses of the Moon, Valley of Decision, Choreographer As You Like It, Olivia in Twelfth Night. Director, choreographer, producer and professor, Holderness has directed or choreographed for Lincoln Center Theater and Institute, The Public Theater and Joe's Pub, The Culture Project 45Bleeker, TheaterTweed/Ohio Theater, Juilliard, and her own company in NYC, Burning Coal Theater, NC, Spooky Action, DC, and The Choregies D'Orange in France. Associate Professor at UWM, she is known for innovative and integrated pedagogical research, and exciting teaching.
DENNIS KRAUSNICK (title role in King Lear): Krausnick played the title role in King Lear in other theaters on three previous occasions. He teaches and directs in theater programs across the country as well as designing and leading the actor-training programs for S&Co; long-time audience members will remember his adaptations of the fiction of Edith Wharton performed over two decades in the Salon of The Mount during Shakespeare & Company's time there. Mr. Krausnick's journey toward the role of Lear began nearly 15 years ago when he worked as a director on The Lear Project with Olympia Dukakis. He is dedicating this production to the memory of his friend and colleague, Clare Reidy, who worked with him on the role for more than two years.
BILL WATSON (Gloucester in King Lear): International/National Credits: Our Town, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Seagull, Intiman, Picnic, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Broadway; The Empty Space, Nickel and Dimed; (Director), Axis Theatre Ireland, Measure For Measure, Richard III; Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Comedy of Errors; Montana Shakespeare, Equus, The Chosen; In Tandem Theatre, Best Christmas Pageant Ever; Seattle Children's Theatre, Esperanza Rising; First Stage, toured nationally with his entire family as the Keller family in The Miracle Worker with Montana Repertory Theatre. He is currently head of the Acting Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he teaches acting and movement. Degrees and training: MFA, The University of Washington; B.S., Northwestern University.
For media inquiries, please contact Ellen Friebert Schupper, Director of Marketing and Community Relations at the UWM Peck School of the Arts at (414) 229-6771 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For inquires related to Shakespeare & Company, please contact Greg Hughes, Associate Director of Communications at (413) 637-1199 ext. 145 or email@example.com. For production photos from Shakespeare & Company's production of The Tragedy of King Lear, click here.