Associate Artistic Director Josh Morrison will direct the regional premiere of David Davalos' Wittenberg, a play set in 1517 in the university town that was home to the legendary Dr. Faustus, Martin Luther, and Shakespeare's fictional tragic-hero Hamlet. Supposing the characters are there at the same moment in time, Davalos creates a playground on which Faustus and Luther volley for influence on young (undecided major) undergrad Hamlet.
First time director at Stages, Morrison brings other new talent to Stages with actors Luis Galindo, playing Dr. Faustus, and Molly Searcy, playing the Virgin Mary and many women, and returning favorite Ryan Schabach will play Hamlet. During auditions, inspiration to have Kenn McLaughlin read for the role of Martin Luther led to a brilliant chemistry.
For Morrison, "Kenn balanced the intensity of Luis' Faustus. Kenn has a fantastic grasp of the inner conflict of Luther, a man who never waivers in his belief, but never ceases to question the vehicle that delivers the message of that belief. They balance each other beautifully." McLaughlin returns to his roots as an actor in his first role at Stages. His theatre career began with his acting degree from the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, and includes roles in Angels in America, All My Sons, Dividing the Estate and Hamlet.
Morrison is the second director in this season's innovative Director's Lab, following Life Could Be A Dream director and choreographer Mitchell Greco last fall. The Director's Lab is an artistic initiative created to foster new talent in the field, a core value of Stages, and includes four directors selected from the core of Stages artistic staff.
The Lab began meeting early in spring of 2012, reading and debating texts on directing and scripts, and includes first-time Stages directors Mitchell Greco (Life Could Be A Dream by Roger Bean), Sally Edmundson (The Language Archive by Julia Cho) and Eva Laporte (Dollhouse by Rebecca Gilman).
When selecting the season, Producing Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin matched the director specifically to each play. "They are four very, smart, very diverse and very instinctive individuals. They get theatre in their bones and they are intellectually hungry so they are the best combo for this adventure. Add to this the fact that the plays of the season were selected for their tastes and you have something unique and fresh. In every way, this is a winning project for Stages."
Wittenberg will preview January 23 and 24, and opens Friday January 25, running through February 17, 2013. Patrons can purchase tickets ($21 - $45) at the box office, by phone 713.527.0123 or www.stagestheatre.com.