British director Michael Attenborough, the former artistic director of London’s Almeida Theatre and an honorary associate artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will head to Washington in the 2014-15 season to direct As You Like It at Shakespeare Theatre.
“I have been trying to bring Michael Attenborough to Washington for a very long time,” writes Shakespeare artistic director Michael Kahn in a letter to subscribers. “He sees [As You Like It] as a very personal and intimate play, and I’m looking forward to what is sure to be a beautiful production of one of Shakespeare’s most warm-spirited and light-hearted comedies.”
In addition to Attenborough, Shakespeare’s upcoming season will feature French director Dominique Serrand, who helms a production of Molière’s Tartuffe starring actor Steven Epp. Epp—most recently in Washington with his Helen Hayes Award-winning performance as Truffaldino in The Servant of Two Masters—and Serrand are cofounders and artistic directors of the Moving Company, a Minneapolis-based theater group, and former artistic directors of Theatre de la Jeune Lune, which won the 2005 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre Company.
Washingtonian Ethan McSweeny also returns to direct a production of The Tempest. The show will be McSweeny’s first in Washington since his acclaimed 2012 holiday production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And playwright David Ives (Venus in Fur) returns to the theater with a third translation of a French comedy to follow his adaptations of The Liar and The Heir Apparent. The new show is based on Alexis Piron’s The Metromaniacs, an obscure work from the 17th century that satirizes Voltaire’s addiction to poetry and has never previously been translated into English.
Michael Kahn directs The Metromaniacs, as well as a second play, Pirandello’s Enrico IV (Henry IV), adapted by Tom Stoppard. It’s the Washington premiere of this particular show, coming ten years after it debuted in London’s West End. Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Alan Paul, who recently helmed the company’s holiday production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, directs another musical this season: Man of La Mancha, based on Cervantes’s Don Quixote, with music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, and a book by Dale Wasserman. The show won five Tony Awards upon its debut in 1965, including one for Best Musical, and was most recently revived on Broadway in 2002 in a production starring Brian Stokes Mitchell.
One thing that’s missing from Shakespeare’s upcoming season is women: All of the productions that have currently been announced are written and directed by male artists. According to a recent story in the Washington Post, Kahn was one of six artistic directors in Washington to conceive the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, in which 44 local companies will stage world-premiere plays by female writers. That event is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2015.