Incoming Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Simon Godwin, at a special press and subscriber event at the theatre’s Harman Hall, announced the company’s 2019-2020 Season to much fanfare. Taking over from Michael Kahn, whom he described as “mighty,” Godwin explained that structuring his first season was both a “source of huge excitement, a journey, and transition,” which he likened to opening a restaurant in London — then opening the same restaurant in D.C. — and “finding some dishes don’t go down so well.”
Godwin’s debut season will highlight his artistic aspirations for the company to create “high quality, exciting, inclusive theatre,” and he assures that Shakespeare will “remain a cornerstone [of this theatre] under my direction.”
To demonstrate that Shakespeare remains at the center of STC’s mission, two of his works make their way into the six play season, both of which will be directed by Godwin: A reimagining of his acclaimed production of Timon of Athens starring Kathryn Hunter, and a new production of Much Ado About Nothing, which Godwin has surprisingly never directed before, but that he chose in part as an acknowledgment of the leadership of current Artistic Director Michael Kahn who will be retiring at the end of the 2018-19 season: “Michael inaugurated the Lansburgh Theatre with a production of Much Ado and I think it’s fitting, for my first season to begin here too with this celebration of love and hope and humor.”
The remaining four shows in the season are by playwrights that will be produced for the first time on STC’s stages:
Everybody is a rework of Everyman by DC native Brandon Jacob-Jenkins that Godwin says will be seen differently at every performance. A lottery will inform the actors who will be playing the lead character at each performance, making it “not just a play, but also an experience” for all involved.
A new adapted version of Peter Pan by Lauren Gunderson will hope to have “people flying” and audiences packing in over the holiday season.
The gospel singing The Amen Corner is a poignant choice for Godwin and current audiences, who may appreciate its focus on African American, female, and religious themes. Besides that, its world premiere was at Howard in 1955, so it has unique ties to D.C.
And for a sweet dessert at that fancy London “restaurant” Godwin likened to first DC season, he plans to offer entertainment in the form of a musical, Romantics Anonymous, where lovers bond over as shared passion for chocolate.
And don’t forget STC’s tradition of its Free For All performances! Godwin again pays tribute to Michael Kahn with a reprise of one of the Company’s Top Ten performances under his direction, Hamlet.