King Lear opens at the American Shakespeare Center

shakespeare-newThe American Shakespeare Center is getting ready to open the third show in its Summer/Fall Season, William Shakespeare’s King Lear, an exploration of family betrayal, human frailty, and the meaning of life.

Following her direction of last year’s The Winter’s Tale, the ASC was delighted to welcome back Jenny Bennett to guest direct King Lear.  The story, which traces the collapse of King Lear’s kingdom, his family, and his own mind, can seem unnervingly contemporary. “Our world’s also full of wise fools, men and women of astonishing service, and radiant moments of quiet peace with our dearly beloved ”  notes Bennett, finding in King Lear a “lifting of burdens in a mad 2016 world.”

For ASC Artistic Director Jim Warren King Lear is the perfect companion piece to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Rise of Queen Margaret (Henry VI, Part 2) this election year.  “These plays about power-hungry politicos can offer insight on current events and provide a cathartic outlet for election year angst.”

“Fortune, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel.”  As the characters of King Lear find their way through storms both political and meteorological, they also discover the necessity, sanctity, and strength of human love.  Redemption, reunion, and reconciliation make for a stunning counterpoint to the play’s bloody resolution.  René Thornton Jr. plays the fallen King; Lauren Ballard, Allison Glenzer, and Jessika Williams his daughters; and Chris Johnston is the King’s fool.

The American Shakespeare Center has four shows as part of their 2016 Summer/Fall Season. Shakespeare’s heartwarming comedy Twelfth Night, and the rock’n’roll epic Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, are currently playing at the Blackfriars Playhouse. The politically-charged second installment of the Wars of the Roses Ride, The Rise of Queen Margaret (Henry VI Part 2) opens later this summer on September 9.

Audience members may “Pay What You Will” for King Lear tickets to the 7:30pm opening performances onThursday, July 7th and Friday, July 8th by arriving at the theatre, choosing any previously unreserved seat, and making a donation after the show (for more information on Pay What You Will, please call 1.877.Much.Ado).

Tickets for King Lear can be purchased by calling 1.877.Much.Ado (540.682.4236), at the Blackfriars Playhouse Box Office on 10 South Market Street in Staunton, or online at

Best seats start at $49.  Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Student, Senior, Military and AAA discounts also are available.