Shakespeare Heads West
At Huntington Theatre

The world premiere of Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright Richard Nelson's “How Shakespeare Won the West” will be presented by the Huntington Theatre from September 5 – October 5. Directed by California Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, this production kicks off Artistic Director Peter DuBois’ inaugural season at the Huntington.

Inspired by actual accounts, “How Shakespeare Won the West” tells the story of an eccentric but enterprising troupe of New York actors that travels west to attain fame and fortune by performing Shakespeare for entertainment-starved California ’49ers. Stiff competition, complicated romantic entanglements and Indian attacks make their cross-country trek more than they bargained for.

“How Shakespeare Won the West” embraces the greatest elements of Shakespearean comedy and American vaudeville in its storytelling, while the epic tale of the troupe’s journey across the United States reveals the communal impact of creating and attending theatre, as well as the sustaining power of the artistic spirit.

DuBois commented, “I wanted to kick off the season with something that is a celebration of ambition, that has a strong exuberant quality, and that celebrates the art form of theatre. It is an honor to be premiering a new work of Richard [Nelson’s], one of the theatre’s great masters of language. His incorporation of text from Shakespeare’s plays into his script not only enhances his storytelling – it allows us to hear Shakespeare’s beautiful language in new and enlightening ways.”

He added, “I asked Jonathan [Moscone] to direct this production because of his great facility with Shakespeare and with comedy. I’m thrilled to count him as a collaborator this season.”

The San Francisco Chronicle named Moscone’s productions of “Man and Superman,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” “Twelfth Night,” and “The Seagull,” all for CalShakes, among the ten best productions of their respective years.

Elliot Norton Award-winner and long time A.R.T. company member Will LeBow (from the Huntington's “The Cherry Orchard,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “The Rivals,” and “Sonia Flew") plays Thomas Jefferson Calhoun, the head of the pioneering acting troupe. Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nominee Mary Beth Fisher, most recently seen in the Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” plays Alice Calhoun, his wife.

Elliot Norton Award-winner Jeremiah Kissel, previously seen at the Huntington in “The Cherry Orchard,” “The Sisters Rosensweig” and “Betty’s Summer Vacation,” among others, plays Edward Oldfield, a “utility player” who masquerades as a renowned British actor, despite actually being from Albany, NY.

The cast also includes John DeVries, Ron Campbell, Chris Henry Coffey, Kelly Hutchinson, Erik Lochtefeld, Sarah Nealis, Susannah Schulman, Joe Tapper, Marc Harpin and Curt Klump.

Related pre- and post-show events
(free with ticket purchase to any performance)

Playwright’s Forum
Tues, September 9, at 6:30 p.m. (prior to the 7:30 performance)

Boston University Community reception with Peter DuBois
Wed, September 10, at 6 p.m. (prior to the 7:30 performance)

Out & About Club reception for GLBT community with Peter DuBois
Thurs, September 11 at 6 p.m. (prior to the 7:30 performance)

Educators’ Reception with Peter DuBois
Sat, September 13, at 6:30 p.m. (prior to the 7:30 performance)

Hospitality Industry Reception with Peter DuBois
Wed, September 17, at 6 p.m. (prior to the 7:30 performance)

Post-show Actors Forum with cast members
Thurs, September 18, following the 7:30 p.m. performance

Post-show Humanities Forum
Sun, September 28, following the 2 p.m. performance
Tues, September 30 @ 7:30pm

Actors Forum with cast members
Wed, October 1, following the 2 p.m. performance

College Night with post-show event
Fri, October 3, following the 8 p.m. performance

For information and tickets, stop by the box office, call 617-266-0800, or visit

-- OnStage Boston




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