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Shakespeare Theatre Company announces casting for Kate Hamill’s Adaptation of Vanity Fair

7 min read

Following the success of her Sense and Sensibility at the Folger Theatre in 2016, Wall Street Journal’s Playwright of the Year 2017 Kate Hamill, returns to D.C. with her adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic novel Vanity Fair. Hamill’s vibrant and colorful tale about society’s foibles is a co-production with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. Directed by Jessica Stone and featuring Rebekah Brockman as Becky Sharp, the production will run at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street, NW) from February 26 through March 31, 2019.

Making their STC debut is Rebekah Brockman (Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing) as Becky Sharp, and Maribel Martinez (Julius Caesar) as Amelia Sedley. Playing multiple roles in this unique ensemble production are Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan who won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress in a play for her performance in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof at Roundhouse Theatre, Anthony Michael Lopez (Light Shining in Buckinghamshire) and Vincent Rendazzo  (A Walk on the Moon). Returning to STC following his role in King Charles III in 2016 is Dan Hiatt.

Vanity Fair follows the lives of Becky Sharp, a woman of humble means, and her gentle friend Amelia Sedley, a woman from privilege, who forge a deep friendship as their fortunes intersect. Becky uses romantic entanglements and risky business deals as the rungs to climb from penniless beginnings to the upper crust of Victorian society. A bright dance hall pageant poking fun at all our pretenses, this new adaptation harnesses the frivolity of Thackeray’s novel while recasting its (anti) heroines as complex, vibrant women.

“Vanity Fair is a story about hypocrisy – about the lies we tell to ourselves and to others, and about the many winding paths we take to get what we want,” said Kate Hamill. “Female-centric stories are vitally necessary to tell; now, more than ever. We need to re-examine who drives our narratives. We need to hear stories about how women can come together to break the rules of a society that is often hostile to them – a society that punishes them both for conforming and for rebelling.”

“Kate has produced a witty and distinctly unfussy retelling of a great work of literature and an opportune time to direct a female-centered story, powered by women” said Jessica Stone.

Vanity Fair is supported by Share Fund

The production restaurant partner is Dirty Habit

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Kate Hamill is an actor/playwright. Wall Street Journal’s Playwright of the Year, 2017, her work includes her play Sense and Sensibility (in which she originated the role of Marianne)—Winner, Off-Broadway Alliance Award; Nominee, Drama League Award; 265+ performances off-Broadway. Other plays include Vanity Fair at the Pearl Theatre (in which she originated the role of Becky Sharp; Nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award), Pride & Prejudice at Primary Stages & Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (originated role of Lizzy Bennet; Nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award); Little Women at Jungle Theater and Primary Stages; Mansfield Park at Northlight (originated role of Mary Crawford). Her plays have been produced off-Broadway, at A.R.T., OSF, Guthrie, Seattle Rep, Dallas Theater Center, PlayMaker’s, Folger Theatre, Arvada Center, Trinity Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Dorset Theatre Festival and others; upcoming at Shakespeare Theatre of DC, A.C.T., Dallas Theater Center, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Kansas City Rep, & more. Next up: Little Women at Primary Stages. She is currently developing new adaptations of The OdysseyThe Scarlet Letter, and a revamped version of a Christmas Carol, as well as several original plays (Prostitute Play, In the Mines, The Piper). Kate was one of the top 10 most-produced playwrights in the 2017-2018 season, and one of the top 5 most-produced playwrights nationwide in the 2018-2019 season. Kate-Hamill.com

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Jessica Stone has worked as an actress on and off-Broadway, in television and in film for the last 30 years. Broadway credits include Anything GoesButleyThe Odd CoupleThe Smell of the KillDesign for LivingHow to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Grease. Off Broadway credits include Crimes of the Heart, The Country Club, June Moon, Tenderloin, and Babes in Arms. She has performed in regional theatres across the country including Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Geva Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, and 10 seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Ms. Stone’s television credits include series-regular and guest-starring roles on CBS, NBC, ABC, and Hulu. Film credits include work with Ang Lee, M. Night Shyamalan, and Kevin Bacon, among others.

Concurrently, she was an assistant/associate director on and off-Broadway to Nicholas Martin, Joe Mantello, David Warren, and Christopher Ashley. Ms. Stone’s directing career began in earnest with her all-male 2010 production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She has since been directing all over the country at such theaters as The Old Globe, Huntington Theatre Company, Two River Theatre Company, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival among others.  Productions include Barefoot in the Park, Dancing at Lughnasa, Bad Dates, Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood! (world premiere), Ripcord, Bad Jews, Arms and the ManVanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeCharlotte’s WebJune MoonLast of the Red Hot Lovers,The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Absurd Person Singular. Ms. Stone’s upcoming projects include As You Like It (Old Globe).  She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

ABOUT THE CAST

Making her STC debut is Rebekah Brockman (Becky Sharp). Her NY theatre credits include  A Taste of Honey (Pearl); The Burial at Thebes (Irish Rep). Regional: Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing (Signature Theatre); The Liar (Westport Country Playhouse); Arcadia (Yale Repertory Theater – Connecticut Critics Circle Award-Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play); Our Town (Actors Theater of Louisville); ArcadiaDead Metaphor (world premiere), A Christmas CarolElektra (with Olympia Dukakis), Happy to Stand (American Conservatory Theater); Romeo and Juliet, Blithe Spirit (California Shakespeare Theater); The Children (The Gift Theatre); The Winter’s Tale, The Comedy of Errors (Kingsmen Shakespeare Company) Film: Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg and The Chaperone. Television: “Divorce” “The Knick,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “The Slap,” “Jessica Jones,” Additional Credits: Rince na Tiarna School of Irish Dance, MFA American Conservatory Theater (Sadler Award). LU4TC! RebekahBrockman.com

Returning to STC following his role in King Charles III is Dan Hiatt (Manager, Miss Crawley, Lord Steyne, General Tufto) REGIONAL: STC: King Charles III; American Conservatory Theatre: The Birthday Party, Hamlet, Ah, Wilderness!, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Cherry Orchard, The Rivals; Berkeley Repertory Theatre: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Dinner With Friends; Yale Repertory Theatre: Father Comes Home from the Wars; The Huntington Theatre: The Way of the World, Mary Stuart; California Shakespeare Theatre: As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Man and Superman, Nicholas NicklebyI; Arizona Theatre Company: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Dirty Blonde; San Jose Repertory Theatre: A Flea in Her Ear, This Wonderful Life; Marin Theatre Company: Othello, Anne Boleyn; TheatreWorks, Upright Grand, The Twentieth Century, The 39 Steps; Ford’s Theatre: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, (Helen Hayes Award nomination).

Helen Hayes Award Winner Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan (ACTOR 4George, Lesser Pitt, Miss Briggs, Lady Bareacres, Servant 1, Landlord, German Fairgoer 2, Gentleman 2, Sheriff), BROADWAY: Thomas The Tank Engine Live Onstage; OFF-BROADWAY: La Mama: Agamemnon; REGIONAL: Roundhouse Theatre: How I Learned To Drive, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Helen Hayes winner: Best Lead Actress in a play), Becky Shaw; Woolly Mammoth Theater Company: Gloria, Botticelli In The Fire; Kennedy Center: Digging Up Dessa; Mosaic Theater: The Return; Olney Theater Center: Fickle: A Fancy French FarceBad Dog (Helen Hayes Award nomination Outstanding Ensemble); Ford’s Theater: Come From Away(Helen Hayes Award nomination, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical; Helen Hayes Award winner, Outstanding Ensemble), Imagination Stage: The Night Fairy, Folger Theater: Richard III, No Rules Theater Co.: Late: A Cowboy Song, Stop Kiss; Studio Theater: Contractions; Theater J: The History of Invulnerability, Baltimore Center Stage: The Container; American Shakespeare Center: more than 30 productions including 15 of Shakespeare’s canon, FILM: Kringle Time (2019) TRAINING: M.F.A. Academy for Classical Acting, Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Anthony Michael Lopez (ACTOR 3: Dobbin, Miss Pinkerton, Rose Crawley, Gentleman 1, Servant 2, Servant 3) makes his STC debut. NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (New York Theatre Workshop, dir. Rachel Chavkin), Othello (starring Daniel Craig & David Oyelowo, dir. Sam Gold), Dessert (dir. Whitney White), The Artificial Jungle, Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest(Theatre Row). NATIONAL TOURS: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Doug Panch). REGIONAL: Henry V (Hartford Stage), Nike, or We Don’t Need Another Hero (A.C.T. San Francisco), The Penalty (The Public), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Queens Theatre), All The Rats & Rags (Joe’s Pub). FILM: Mapplethorpe (starring Matt Smith, Tribeca FF), AnomalyPop Meets The Void. TELEVISION: “Broad City,” “Homeland,” “The Knick,” “Half Life” (Pilot).

Adam Magill ( ACTOR 2: Rawdon, Mr. Sedley, Fairgoer, Coachman, German Fairgoer 1) REGIONAL: Berkeley Rep: Macbeth; Marin Theatre Company: Shakespeare in Love, the Legend of Georgia McBride, Native Son, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly, The Whale; SF Playhouse: Stupid Fucking Bird; Shotgun Players: Dry Land; Cutting Ball: Uncle Vanya. TRAINING: Foothill Theatre Conservatory, Seydways Studios.

Maribel Martinez (Amelia Sedley) makes her STC Debut. NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar. REGIONAL: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: Rip Van Winkle or Cut the Old Moon into Stars; Santa Cruz Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of WindsorAs You Like ItThe Beard of Avon; New Swan Shakespeare Festival: HamletAs You Like It. TELEVISION: AmEx Commercial, Ikea Commercial. OTHER: Workshops: JAGFest: the journey between by Korde Arrington Tuttle; Sol Project’s SolFest: Bees and Honey by Guadalís Del Carmen; LAByrinth Barn Series; New Plays Now at Northern Stages: Citrus. TRAINING: University of California, Irvine: MFA in Acting. WEB: www.Maribel-Martinez.com; IG: @instamarbles.

Vincent Rendazzo (ACTOR 5Jos, Sir Pitt, Mr. Osborne, Miss Jemima, Lady Chesterton, Auctioneer, King ) REGIONAL: American Conservatory Theater:  A Walk on the Moon (Irv/Ensemble), Hamlet (Guildenstern), A Christmas Carol (Thomas); San Francisco Playhouse: Washed up on the Potomac (Mark). TRAINING: American Conservatory Theater: MFA in Acting; Le Moyne College: BA in Theatre. OTHER: Orson Welles/Shylock—A Docu-Fantasy Radio Play (Orson Welles) with The Shylock Project in Venice, Italy; Montreal Fringe Fest, Toronto Fringe Fest, and Franklin Stage Company.