But it was fun to watch the work of those two real pros, Donna and Bobby. I've seen them both onstage many times, and actually worked with Donna years ago during a staged reading of a new musical. I've never met Bobby, but he is always good, as I wrote a while back, and Donna doesn't need kudos from me: she is headed to Broadway in the upcoming revival of Ragtime. Matt Anderson and Janine Gulisano-Sunday rounded out the cast, and special support was given by musical director and pianist Doug Lawler, who has a comic timing as precise as any of the actors.
From the ridiculous to the sublime: it's been a month or more since I caught the final weekend of King Lear at The Shakespeare Theatre Company. The show is long gone, but I'm still thinking about it.
His principle cast from Chicago was almost intact, led by Stacy Keach and Ed Gero as Lear and Gloucester. More on them in a mo'. The supporting cast here was pretty swell, with some terrific surprises. Lear's wicked daughters were wicked indeed: Kate Arrington's Regan came across as a blond bimbo with a decidedly vicious streak (think Paris Hilton by way of Lucretia Borgia) and Lise Bruneau's Goneril was the most nympho-maniacal royal since Catherine the Great did it with that horse. She worked that fur coat like nobody's bizness. (BTW, kudos to Bruneau, who stepped into the role with minimal rehearsal, and ran with it.) You had to love Dieterich Gray's skateboarding Oswald, and Chris Genebach's coked-out Cornwall provided the most brutal death scene in an evening full of death scenes. Getting the picture? Edgar wore a diaper and Edmund wore a suit, and somehow, it all made sense here.
As for Keach and Gero, well, I've admired these two gents since I worked with them at The Shakes in the mid-90s. Macbeth was my first show in DC, and though I thought I had lots of Shakespearean experience before I arrived (Feste, Pompey, Cassio, and Dogberry, among others), I learned daily lessons in the muscular attack, language-wise, necessary to make Shakespeare sing. (I wrote about my admiration for our Lady M, Helen Carey, a long while back.) Anyway, I was so glad to see these two experts onstage together again, and this production of Lear deserves a further life. (I have no inside info regarding this, though someone told me the set pieces and costumes were all boxed up for storage, which means there may be hope it will resurface one day. I think this particular production would succeed in New York.)
So, though I haven't seen everything DC had to offer this summer, the shows I did see were terrifically handled by seasoned pros. Happy September!