Thoko Ntshinga, Bongile Mantsai, Hilda Cronje and Tandiwe Nofirst in Yaël Farber's "Mies Julie," at Shakespeare Theatre in 2013. (Photo by Murdo MacLeod)

Shakespeare Theatre Co. Season Includes Gender-Bent ‘Shrew,’ Remixed ‘Salomé’

The D.C.-based classical theatre’s 2015-16 slate will strip down ‘Salomé’ and put a dress on Billy Porter, who’ll play Kate in ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Shakespeare Theatre Company has announced its 2015-16 season, featuring a host of international directors and adaptors with a wide variety of approaches to classics both Bard-written and otherwise.

The season begins in August with “free for all” production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Ethan McSweeney, then kicks into high gear with a reimagining of Salomé by South African auteur Yaël Farber, who last did a number on Mies Julie. Farber’s new take on one of the New Testament’s most provocative tales will draw on ancient texts as well as Oscar Wilde’s landmark play. Salomé was commissioned through a grant from the Beech Street Foundation.

Next is STC associate artistic director Alan Paul’s staging of Cole Porter’s Shakespeare-inspired musical Kiss Me, Kate. In the winter, STC artistic director Michael Kahn will direct a double bill of one-acts about life in the theatre: Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Critic, in a new adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher, and Tom Stoppard’s whodunit The Real Inspector Hound The Critic was commissioned through a grant from the Beech Street Foundation.

The first play by Shakespeare in the season will be Othello , helmed by Brazilian-born, London-trained director Ron Daniels, who ran the Other Place Theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has also worked as a director with the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Next is a play with a British source that has nevertheless become an ageless global icon, 1984, in an acclaimed multmedia adaptation by the British company Headlong.

Rounding out the season is a gender-bending take on The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Exit Pursued by a Bear‘s Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. The innovation here is the Broadway star Billy Porter, of Kinky Boots fame, will star as Kate.

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