Actors’ Renaissance Season

January 19 - April 8

The American Shakespeare Center is in its third decade of going “back to the future.” We’ve shown that Shakespeare knew what he was doing 400 years ago, and we’ve learned from him how to create fresh, engaging theatre for 21st-century audiences.

From January 19 to April 8, we dive deeper into Shakespeare’s Staging Conditions. Join us in the Blackfriars Playhouse as we embrace the magic and mayhem of the rehearsal process of early modern theatre companies. It’s one wild ride.

Veteran ASC actors mount these shows in a matter of days, gathering costumes and props with the help of our designers, and feverishly memorizing lines, often using cue scripts that contain only their own lines and cues. But the Actors’ Renaissance Season is not some academic experiment in antiquated theatre — it’s intelligent, passionate, and exceptional.

This season we’re combining shows you love to quote and shows you need to know into one cohesive season, filled with murder, love, laughs, revenge, and rediscovery. Get a taste of what you can expect from Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries and see our trio of shows by playwrights exploring similar themes and characters with Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Antonio’s Revenge.

All of the hallmarks of ASC productions are still here: lights on the stage and the audience, a troupe of actors performing multiple roles in repertory, minimal sets, acoustic music before and during the show, cross-gender casting, and brisk pacing. The focus is still on luminous language delivered by charismatic actors who invite you into the world of each play.

By daring to throw away a few more of our 21st-century theatrical norms, we hope to create a bond between performer and audience and an even greater level of fun and excitement for an audience experiencing the raw energy of the Renaissance stage.

Special Events
  • Pay-What-You-Will previews and openings for each play
  • Talkbacks after Thursday performances
  • Special lectures and workshops for each play
  • April 8: Benefit Concert

Shows

January 19 - April 7

josh innerst hamlet american shakespeare center

Hamlet struggles to discern reality from illusion in the rotten state of Denmark as he copes with the loss of his father, his mother's remarriage, and life's biggest questions. For centuries, audiences have seen themselves in the remarkable, troubled prince at the center of this ghost story, comedy, seven-murder revenge thriller, and philosopher's gold mine.

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Performance Dates

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January 20 - April 7

sarah fallon richard ii american shakespeare center

Shakespeare's magnificent exploration of the lives and deaths of England's kings is one of his crowning linguistic achievements. Pitting Richard II, a man of words, against Bullingbrook, a man of action, Shakespeare raises the art of language to new heights, while reminding us that rulers "feel want, taste grief, and need friends." ASC veteran Sarah Fallon wears (and gives away) the crown as Richard.

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February 8 - April 8

john harrell and chris johnston rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead american shakespeare center

From the Oscar winner who gave us Shakespeare in Love, this wickedly funny companion piece to Hamlet turns Shakespeare inside out and shows the Dane's story from the point of view of Hamlet's school chums. Tom Stoppard serves up a feast of wordplay, wit, and slapstick while exploring the timeless questions about identity, illusion, and toe-nail growing.

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March 1 - April 6

shunte lofton the way of the world american shakespeare center

Brimming with sharp and elegant wit, The Way of the World, which critics largely consider the greatest of the Restoration comedies, pits a pair of lovers against a host of manipulative characters, including the underhanded (and unhappily-aging) Lady Wishfort, and the villainous Fainall. Rife with satire, this scathing comedy uncovers the over-the-top, and inner-workings of the idle upper-class.

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March 21 - April 5

benjamin reed antonios revenge american shakespeare center

Antonio's Revenge proves that happily-ever-afters don't always remain so. Breaking from his supposed reformation, the evil Duke Piero resolves again to destroy the relationship of his daughter, Mellida, and her future husband, Antonio - by any means necessary. Writing around the same time as Hamlet, Marston echoes (or foreshadows) Shakespeare's great work with themes of familial betrayal, hauntings, and existential questions that rock us to the core.

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Performance Dates

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Cast

* indicates member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)