In 1661 the most famous portrayer of female roles on the London stage was a performer named Kynaston. Like every other player permitted to enact such roles, Kynaston was a man. A celebrity artist shining bright at the crest of the Restoration, Ned or Mr. K, as he’s called, is applauded onstage and off for his interpretations of Shakespeare’s tragic ladies: Ophelia, Cleopatra, especially his Desdemona and his famous “death scene.” He’s the toast of the town and the very secret “mistress” of the powerful Duke of Buckingham.
But when an unknown named Margaret Hughes plays Desdemona one night at an illegal theater, instead of stopping the show, the ever-game King Charles II changes the law to allow women to act. By the stroke of a pen, Kynaston’s world is turned upside-down. He loses his cachet, his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self. And while the king’s own courtesan, Nell Gwynn, and Kynaston’s former dresser, Maria, become stars, his own light disappears—until fate and his desire for revenge give him a chance to take the stage again.
Directed by Cara Peterson, the production stars Dave Durbin as Kynaston, Jamie England as Margaret Hughes, and a talented ensemble cast. Click here for a complete cast list..
The show, which is for mature audiences only, opens on Friday, April 11th and runs for 3 weeks. There are performances at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. All performances will be in The Drury at The Bartell Theatre, located at 113 East Mifflin Street, just off the Capitol Square in Madison.
Seating is general admission. Tickets cost $15.00 ($10.00 for students, seniors, or members of groups of 10 or more) and can be purchased in advance through brownpapertickets.com. Tickets can also be reserved by calling (608) 661-9696, extension 5.
It is a very fun show. I hope to see you all there!