The New York premiere of Tina Packer’s WOMEN OF WILL
– a groundbreaking exploration of Shakespeare’s canon – written by Ms. Packer and directed by Eric Tucker (“Saint Joan”) will begin preview performances on January 29 prior to an official press opening of February 3 and running through June 2 Off-Broadway at The Gym at Judson (55 Washington Square South, NY, NY), it has been announced by the show’s producer Sarah Hancock and its creator/star Tina Packer.
“I am so pleased to finally have the opportunity to perform WOMEN OF WILL in front of NYC audiences,” stated Tina Packer. “It has been a long journey - partly because I spent the last 30-plus years building Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts and partly because WOMEN OF WILL isn’t just one play – its six separate plays, and I – along with my wonderful collaborators Eric Tucker and Nigel Gore – have been working tirelessly to fine-tune the work before our NY debut. There is a special joy for me to be able to play the parts I missed because I was building Shakespeare & Company - parts in plays I have directed, but now can approach again from the inside not looking from the outside.”
A true tour de force performance, WOMEN OF WILL, is the masterful summation of Shakespeare & Company Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer’s 40-plus years spent investigating all things Shakespeare; it is an engrossing exploration of the Bard’s art and psyche through his female characters, and portrayed by two of Shakespeare’s greatest modern interpreters – Ms. Packer and Nigel Gore. If Shakespeare had “bonus content,” this would be it. WOMEN OF WILL explores the Bard’s characters, focusing on the “women of will,” from Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” to Viola in “Twelfth Night” and everyone in between, giving a unique and exciting perspective on some of the most well-known classics in the English language.
Additionally, Ms. Packer’s WOMEN OF WILL: The Complete Journey – her fully-expanded, five part, in-depth exploration of Shakespeare will be presented in marathon weekends, every other week later this season. More details on WOMEN OF WILL: The Complete Journey will be announced at a later date.
Directed by Eric Tucker, WOMEN OF WILL stars Tina Packer and Nigel Gore. The design team for WOMEN OF WILL is: Valerie Bart (Scenic & Costume Design), Les Dickert (Lighting Design), Daniel Kluger (Sound Design), and Josh Parkin-Ring (Production Stage Manager).
WOMEN OF WILL was developed during a 15-year period while Tina Packer was Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, where both WOMEN OF WILL and WOMEN OF WILL: The Compete Journey received their world-premiere productions.
Subsequently, WOMEN OF WILL has been presented in the Boston area, by The Nora Theatre Company; the Denver area, by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; and most recently in Prague, Czech Republic, presented by The Prague Shakespeare Festival.
Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, is arguably one of the foremost leading experts on Shakespeare, not only in America but in the world. For Shakespeare & Company, Ms. Packer has directed over 50 Shakespeare productions, as well as new and contemporary works – some highlights include: THE TASTER, ICE GLEN, KING JOHN, OTHELLO, CORIOLANUS, JULIUS CAESAR, to name a few. As an actor, she has played countless roles, including: Cleopatra in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, Queen Gertrude in HAMLET, Lettice in LETTICE AND LOVAGE, etc. Ms. Packer has received over 20 awards, honors and fellowships – including: the Ronson Award for Most Outstanding Performer from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; a Guggenheim and a Bunting Fellowship; the 1999-2000 Arts Recipient of the Commonwealth Award; etc. She is the subject of the WGBH documentary “Sex, Violence and Poetry: A Portrait of Tina Packer,” and Helen Epstein’s biography “The Companies She Keeps.”
Nigel Gore will be returning to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Summer of 2013 to play the title role in MACBETH and Bottom in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Recent work includes Richard in RICHARD III at Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Claudius in HAMLET at Prague Shakespeare Festival; Jason in MEDEA at ASP in Boston. He received the Eliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actor for his portrayal of George in WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? at Boston's Publick Theatre. Other recent work includes, Squeers, Hawke in NICHOLAS NICKLEBY at Lyric Stage Boston; (Eliot Norton Outstanding actor nomination). Volumnia in CORIOLANUS; at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester UK. Macbeth in MACBETH (Best actor nomination L.A. Weekly Theatre Award); Mark Antony in ANTONY & CLEOPATRA; Sir Toby Belch in TWELFTH NIGHT; with Shakespeare & CO. Mr. Gore is a founding member of AUREA, a performance ensemble whose mission is to explore the relationship between music and the spoken word. Narration work includes: GAIAN VARIATIONS (Avery Fisher Hall); Stravinsky’s THE SOLDIER’S TALE performed with Puppeteer Dan Butterworth; A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Boston’s Jordan Hall. He played “Thurston Twitchell” in season 2 and 3, of “Brotherhood” on Showtime. Mr. Gore recently had 3 poems published: “Grapeseed,” “Missing,” and “Coda.”
Eric Tucker recently directed the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of SAINT JOAN, which will be remounted Off-Broadway in 2013. Other Off and Off-Off directing credits include: THE LIBERTINE, THE BELLE OF BELFAST, 86’d, CLOSER, 16 EAST. Regional directing credits include: HAMLET (with William Hurt and Stella Adler), MATE, MACBETH (LA Weekly nominee for Best Overall Production), URANIUM AND PEACHES (with Ed Asner), THE GOAT (with Campbell Scott), the North American premiere of SANCTUARY, the world-premiere of WATERSHIP DOWN, TWELFTH NIGHT, ROMEO AND JULIET, MAN OF LA MANCHA, ANGELS IN AMERICA Parts I & II, to name a few. Mr. Tucker is Artistic Director of Bedlam Theatre.
Sarah Hancock currently serves on the boards of the American Repertory Theater, Shakespeare & Company, and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. For the A.R.T. board, Sarah is chair of the Conflict of Interest committee and chair of the Compensation committee and member of the Finance and Strategic Planning committees. She passionately shares the A.R.T. mission of expanding the boundaries of theater. She serves as Treasurer of Shakespeare & Company and is chair of the Finance committee for Kripalu. Ms. Hancock began her career as a software engineer for IBM, Wave Systems, and Programart.
Development of WOMEN OF WILL was supported by The Van Waveren Foundation, a Bunting Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Scheduled January 29 through June 2, WOMEN OF WILL performs Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays through Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm at The Gym at Judson (55 Washington Square South). Tickets are $40 during preview performancefrom January 27 through February 2; $75 General Admission post opening. Tickets can be purchased online at www.WomenOfWill.com or by calling TheatreMania at 212-352-3101. There will also be a limited number of $25 student rush tickets available for each performance sold at the Box Office.