Shakespeare Theatre Company Announces ‘Michael Kahn and Friends: Off the Record’

The series of intimate conversations between Michael Kahn and invited speakers begins on March 11, 2019.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Michael Kahn invites theatre-lovers to a series of intimate conversations about life in the D.C. theatre scene as he prepares to retire from the STC stage. Open, unrehearsed, and off the record, invited speakers will swap anecdotes and share memories about Michael Kahn’s 33-years at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Following his career trajectory, the discussions will focus on three distinct eras in STC’s history by mapping D.C.’s changing theatre scene. The first Michael Kahn and Friends: Off the Record will focus on the formation of The Shakespeare Theatre Company in its first location: Folger Theatre (1986-1992).

Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn. Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn. Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Company.

On March 11, audiences are invited to join Michael and STC Affiliated Artists Edward Gero, Stacy Keach, Derek Smith, and Franchelle Stewart Dorn as they discuss their favorite performances onstage, backstage antics, and offstage tales. In 1986, shortly after The Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger was formed as a newly incorporated, not-for-profit institution separate from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Kahn became Artistic Director and guided the theatre into national prominence. The first three seasons included several landmark productions and garnered many Helen Hayes nominations. STC changed the cultural landscape of the nation’s capital with its first Free For All in 1991. More than 2,500 theatergoers watched each performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor under the stars at Carter Barron Amphitheatre. This annual tradition of free Shakespeare continues to this day and over 630,000 people have attended a performance during Free For All.

Future Michael Kahn and Friends: Off the Record events will focus on the Lansburgh Years (May 15) and the Harman Years (June 5). More details will be released soon.

ABOUT THE INVITED SPEAKERS

EDWARD GERO
EDWARD GERO has starred in over 70 productions at Shakespeare Theatre Company including The Bastard in King John, Banquo in Macbeth, Hotspur in Henry IV (Helen Hayes Award), Bolingbroke in Richard II (Helen Hayes Award), Macduff in Macbeth (Helen Hayes Award), Master Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, and Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera. A 14 time Helen Hayes Award nominee and four-time recipient, Gero is an Associate Professor of Theater at George Mason University. He was named an associate artist at Center Stage in Baltimore, MD. He appears regularly at many others regional theaters including The Goodman Theater in Chicago, Ford’s Theatre, The Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, Arena Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Theater J and George Mason’s own Theatre of the First Amendment.

STACY KEACH
Golden Globe winner (Hemingway) STACY KEACH received Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Millennium Recognition Award in 2000 for such performances as Macbeth, Richard III, and King Lear (winning a Helen Hayes award for the latter). A star of over fifty films (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Gotti) and screen (A Man with a Plan, Titus), Keach popularly portrayed Mickey Spillane’s hardboiled detective Mike Hammer in several made-for-TV movies (Murder Me, Murder You; More than Murder; Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All) and television series in the 1980s (Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer; The New Mike Hammer; Mike Hammer, Private Eye). Keach is one of America’s most acknowledged Shakespearean actors from his debut with the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1964, and including his career-defining performances at STC. A New York Time’s review dubbed him “The Finest American classical actor since John Barrymore.”

DEREK SMITH
Tony-nominated (The Green Bird) DEREK SMITH performed in many STC productions, including The Government Inspector, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (earning a Helen Hayes nomination for his lead role as Prince Hal), The School for Scandal and as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Free For All). On Broadway, he played Scar in The Lion King for several years, and also performed in The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, Jackie: An American Life, Ring Round the Moon, and Getting and Spending. He has been awarded an Obie Award (The Green Bird), Los Angeles Ovation Award (Sylvia) and the Calloway Award (The Witch of Edmonton). He is currently performing in John Webster’s The White Devil at the Red Bull Theater (Off-Broadway).

FRANCHELLE STEWART DORN
Winner of three Helen Hayes Awards, FRANCHELLE STEWART DORN has appeared in over 30 Shakespeare Theatre Company productions, including Gertrude in Hamlet, Mistress Quickly in Henry IV, Part 1 and 2, and Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra. A Distinguished Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, she has received the Austin Critics’ Circle Award three times for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Mrs. Warren’s Profession and Medea. Dorn is returning to the Shakespeare Theatre Company stage for the upcoming production of The Oresteia, written by Ellen McLaughlin, adapted from Aeschylus’ tragedy and directed by Michael Kahn.

MICHAEL KAHN
Since the start of his tenure as Artistic Director in 1986, MICHAEL KAHN has directed 65 productions at STC, received 28 awards for his artistry and leadership and steered the Company to the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award. In 1991 he inaugurated the Free For All, which brings an STC production to audiences completely free of charge each year and has reached 690,000 patrons. He also created the Academy for Classical Acting, an MFA program in partnership with The George Washington University. Since the 1960s Kahn’s work has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in theatres around the United States, in addition to Athens, Cairo, Stratford upon-Avon and Adelaide. He has directed productions for the Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington National and New York City Center Opera companies. Previously Artistic Director of the McCarter Theatre Center, the American Shakespeare Festival, the Acting Company and Chautauqua Theatre and Conservatory, he was a founding faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School and served as the Richard Rodgers Director of Drama for 15 years. He has also been on the faculties of New York University and the Circle in the Square Theatre School. Honored by numerous awards, including a Tony Award Nomination for Show Boat, Kahn was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and was recognized as an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 2013.

Michael Kahn and Friends: Off the Record takes place at the Lansburgh Theatre – 450 7th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. Tickets can be purchased online.

Event Dates:
March 11 (The Folger Years)
May 15 (The Lansburgh Years)
June 5 (The Harman Years)

General Admission Tickets: $20
Student Tickets: $10