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GRAND RAPIDS - In Shakespeare's own lifetime, it was illegal for women to perform on the professional stage in England. Shakespeare wrote his plays for all-male companies of actors in which teenage boys played the women's roles. For the summer of 2011, the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company will return to this tradition with an all-male cast production of Shakespeare's Cymbeline. Pigeon Creek will then follow this production by giving its female actors a turn in an all-female cast production of Henry IV Part 1.
Cymbeline will play at Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson SE in Grand Rapids, on June 23-25 at 8 p.m. and June 26 at 3 p.m. The production will also tour to Spring Lake, Muskegon, Saugatuck and Midland. Henry IV Part 1 will perform at Dog Story Theater Aug. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 20 and 21 at 3 p.m., and will tour to Saugatuck, Muskegon and Spring Lake.
Cymbeline is a dark fairy tale, whose plot revolves around Imogen, a princess who marries against her father's wishes, and disguises herself as a boy to follow her husband when he goes into banishment. Over the course of the play, Imogen crosses paths with her wicked stepmother, unwanted suitors, and long-lost princes. The play's cast features actors Daniel Christmann, Benjamin Cole, Ross Currie, Michael Empson, Bill Iddings, Cordello Jordan, Scott Lange, Andrew McClelland, Owen McIntee, Joel L. Schindlbeck and Joseph Valente. The production will be directed by Bob Jones, who travels from Virginia to work on this production. Jones has previously worked at the American Shakespeare Center, Richmond Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare at Winedale.
Henry IV Part 1 is an epic history play which follows the exploits of Prince Hal, who rebels against his father Henry IV, preferring the company of Sir John Falstaff and London's criminal element to his duties as heir to the throne. When the famed soldier Henry "Hotspur" Percy leads a revolt against the king, Hal must choose between his friends and his duty to his father. The cast of Henry IV Part 1 features Kathleen Bode, Heather Folkvord, Lindsey Hansen, Kat Hermes, Claire Mahave, Amy McFadden, Katherine Mayberry, Janna Rosencrantz and Sarah Stark. Frequent Pigeon Creek actor Scott Lange directors the production.
Tickets to the Dog Story performances are $12 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors. Tickets for these productions can be purchased at the Dog Story Theater Web site, www.dogstorytheater.com.
For information about Pigeon Creek's other summer venues and dates, visit www.pcshakespeare.com.