The star of AIDA takes on the title role in this searing tale of the dangers of absolute power.
Quintessence Theatre Group, a professional classic theatre company located in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy neighborhood, takes on Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy this spring. KING LEAR, a searing drama about the dangers of absolute power, comes to Quintessence from March 19, 2019 through April 20, 2019. Opening night is Saturday, March 23 at 7:30PM.
An aging king creates a succession plan that divides Britain between his three daughters. Requiring each child to flatter him in order to receive her gift, Lear is publicly embarrassed when his youngest, most beloved child refuses. Indignant, Lear disinherits her and splits the country between his two eldest daughters, setting off a chain of events that leads Britain into civil war and the retired king into exile and madness. KING LEAR examines the often self-destructive relationships between parents and their children, the danger of absolute power to the human psyche, and the universal challenge of senility and providing care for our elders.
Taking on the title role is Robert Jason Jackson, who has starred on Broadway in AIDA and HEDDA GABLER, and has previously appeared at Quintessence in ANTIGONE and MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA. A Temple University graduate, Mr. Jackson’s favorite roles include Othello (DCPA Theatre Company), Polonius in HAMLET (Shakespeare Theatre Company), and Bolingbroke in RICHARD II (NAACP Best Actor nomination, Mark Taper Forum). He has numerous Off-Broadway credits at a variety of companies, including Second Stage Theater, Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre, and more. Television and film credits include guest-starring roles on Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Third Watch, Feds, New York Undercover, New Jersey Drive, and Altamont.
Jackson will be joined with an all-star cast, including Eunice Akinola (Cordelia), Lee Cortopassi (Cornwall), Donnie Hammond (Gonerill), J Hernandez (Edmond), Anita Holland (Regan), Gregory Isaac (Kent), E. Ashley Izard (Gloucester), Michael Liebhauser (Albany), Jake Loewenthal (Edgar), and Ben Salus (Oswald). The ensemble is directed by Quintessence Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Alexander Burns.
Single tickets are currently on sale by visiting quintessencetheatre.org.
Quintessence Theatre Group presents
Directed by Alexander Burns
March 19 through April 20, 2019
Sedgwick Theatre, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Eunice Akinola (Cordelia) Quintessence debut. Regional: Shakespeare’s R&J, Third, Oh Oh You Will Be Sorry, Journey to Oz (Hangar Theatre), Ain’t She Brave, Noble of Munday (The Kitchen). Education: Ithaca College BFA.
Lee Cortopassi (Cornwall) Quintessence: Awake and Sing!, Frankenstein, My Fair Lady, Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Broken Heart, Mother Courage and her Children, The Three Musketeers, As You Like It, Richard II, The Seagull and (as writer/director) Aesop’s Fables. Off Broadway: Imbible; Christmas Carol Cocktails (The Elektra Theater). New York: Dorian Gray The Musical (for NYMF at The Acorn Theater), Juliet & Romeo (The Tank Theater), The Big: A Farce Noir (The People’s Improv Theater & The Sedgwick Theater). Lee is a graduate of the William Esper Acting Studio Conservatory.
Donnie Hammond (Gonerill) Quintessence debut. Regional: In the Heights (Geva Theatre & Hangar Theatre), Hands on a Hardbody (Theatre Under the Stars). Philadelphia: The Color Purple (Theatre Horizon), In the Heights (Walnut Street Theatre) Ghost (Media Theatre), RENT (Bucks County Playhouse), RESPECT: The Musical (Act II Playhouse), Jamaica (Prince Music Theater), For Colored Girls and Black Boys (African American Arts Alliance). Education: Bloomsburg University.
J Hernandez (Edmond) Quintessence: Lucky in Waiting For Godot. Other companies he’s worked around town include Lantern Theater Co, Philadelphia Shakespeare, Commonwealth Classic Theatre, Hedgerow Theater, Revolution Shakespeare, and InterAct Theatre Co. Regional work includes Texas Shakespeare, North Carolina Shakespeare, Ash Lawn Opera, and the Shakespeare Theatre Co out of DC.
Anita Holland (Regan) is an artist, based in Philadelphia. You may have seen our work with theatre, drag, and dance companies such as Applied Mechanics, Quintessence, Interact, Flashpoint, Orbiter 3, Headlong, Swim Pony, Painted Bride, PolyGlamourous, PAPA and more. Upcoming: A People with Orbiter 3. We enjoy digging deep into the layers of language (verbal and non-verbal) and finding pockets of beautiful imperfection to bring to the surface. Check out our website www.theanitaholland.com
Gregory Isaac (Kent) Quintessence: Waiting For Godot, My Fair Lady, The Broken Heart, Love’s Labor’s Lost, Mother Courage and her Children, Happy Days, Doctor Faustus, Saint Joan, Romeo & Juliet, The Mandrake, The Three Musketeers. New York: Oliver! (Secret Theatre), The Short Life of Trouble (Wandering Bark), St. Joan of the Slaughterhouses (Horace Mann Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titan Theatre). Regional: The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Alliance Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Writers’ Theatre, TimeLine Theater, The Georgia Shakespeare Festival, and the Marriott Lincolnshire. Philadelphia: Betrayal, Jefferson in The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord (The Lantern Theatre), Iphigenia at Aulis (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective).www.gregory-isaac.com
E. Ashley Izard (Gloucester) Quintessence: Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Happy Days (Barrymore Award), Romeo and Juliet, The Mandrake, Hamlet, She Stoops to Conquer, Arms and the Man, The Misanthrope. Regional: Macbeth, Beauty and the Beast, All My Sons (Arden Theatre Company); The Glass Menagerie (Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company); True West (Theatre Exile); Crimes of the Heart (Gretna Theatre); Macbeth, King Lear (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre); Beyond Therapy (Barrymore Award), A Doll’s House, Ghosts, All’s Well that Ends Well, King Lear (Lantern Theater Company).
Robert Jason Jackson (King Lear) Quintessence: Mourning Becomes Electra (Ezra Mannon), Antigone (Creon). Broadway: Amonasro in Aida, Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler (starring Kelly McGillis). New York: The Merchant of Venice (Public Theatre); Bubbly Black Girl (Playwrights Horizon). Regional: title role in Othello (Denver Theatre Company and Shakespeare Santa Cruz); Polonius in Hamlet (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Scott Joplin in Tin Pan Alley Rag (Cleveland Playhouse); Richard II–NAACP Best Actor nomination (Mark Taper Forum); Death and the King’s Horseman (Goodman Theatre); The Greeks (Hartford Stage). TV/Film: LAW & ORDER, LAW & ORDER: SVU, THIRD WATCH, NEW YORK UNDERCOVER, NEW JERSEY DRIVE, ALTAMONT HIGH. As a singer: Carman Moore’s Music Ensembleat the Twin Towers Winter Garden, Lincoln Centers’ Out of Doors Festival, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Obie Award winning jazz opera Running Man, You Don’t Miss the Waterwith Lyn Austin’s Music Theatre Group, featured jazz solo vocalist at the Public Theatre’s New Jazz Series. Recordings: “Conjure: Music to the Texts of Ishmael Reed”, “Dancing with Cab Calloway” (Pangaea Records). As director, playwright, and actor: rap-poetry-monologue Word to the Mutha (Urban Griots at MK’s), In Search of Paul Robeson (Sun Media Arts Consortium), staged reading of play with music Hellhound On My Trail (Harold Clurman Theatre), Happy Birthday Madam Alberta (Minetta Lane Theatre). Training: Northwestern University.
Michael Liebhauser (Albany) Quintessence debut. Regional: Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet (Interlochen Shakespeare Festival), Macbeth, Cymbeline, The Lost Prince (Texas Shakespeare Festival), Seeds of Change (Creed Repertory Company), The Heart of Robinhood (Door County Shakespeare), The Nina Variations (Doghouse Ensemble Theater), The Snow Queen (Park Square). Education: University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA.
Jake Loewenthal (Edgar) Quintessence debut. Regional: Macbeth, La Dispute (Hartford Stage), A Christmas Carol (Trinity Rep), The Rocky Horror Show (Short North Stage), Richard III, Dial M For Murder, Henry V, The Illusion (Theater at Monmouth), Cabaret (Playhouse on Park). Education: Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA., Fordham College B.A.
Ben Salus (Oswald) Quintessence debut. New York: Gain (This is Not a Theatre Co), Flower of Iowa (New York New Works), Single Rider (The Players Theatre). Regional: Brigadoon, West Side Story, Don’t Dress For Dinner (New London Barn Playhouse), Victor/Victoria (Ocean State Theatre), Fiddler On The Roof (New Repertory Theatre), Billy Elliot (Wheelock Family Theatre). Education: Boston University BFA, LAMDA.
ABOUT QUINTESSENCE THEATRE GROUP: Quintessence Theatre Group is dedicated to bringing epic works of classic drama and literature to the contemporary stage. As Philadelphia’s text-based actor-focused repertory theatre, Quintessence re-envisions the classics to inspire our community to consider what is essential in theatre and in human nature.