The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, is scheduled to open on March 22 at Union College, in what will be the final production for local theater icon Rebecca Pettys, who is scheduled to retire in this spring.
This play also marks the beginning of a new era for Rector Little Theatre visitors, who will be among the first to view the stage from a renovated floor plan that includes new seats.
Performances continue on March 23, 24, 30 and 31. Curtain for all performances is 8PM and tickets are $7. Due to the new seating layout, latecomers will not be admitted. This play is not suitable for children.
Set in 1183, this play has everything: laughter, tears, and chills. Henry II, King of England, lets his wife, Eleanor, out of prison and gathers his three sons to celebrate the Christmas season. The chess game commences. All three sons, Richard, Geoffrey, John, want to become the next king of England. Henry and Eleanor each with a favorite son's plot, embrace, and go for the jugular in a series of battles, both verbal and physical.
Playing Eleanor of Aquitaine is Rebecca Ansary who appeared in leading roles in many plays before arriving at Union to take the helm at the Rector Little Theatre as Dr. Pettys. Some of her favorite characters are the title role in Hedda Gabler, Miss Alma in Summer and Smoke, and Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Muse Watson.
Dan Covington is playing Henry II. His extensive acting experience is familiar to Union College Theatre audiences who have enjoyed seeing him in a variety of challenging roles such as Creon in Antigone, Sloane in A Case of Libel, and, most memorably, as Juror Three in Twelve Angry Jurors.
These two have clashed onstage twice before: as the murderous couple in Iphigeneia at Aulisand as rival siblings in The Little Foxes.
Ansary and Covington are supported by an exciting group of Union students, some Union College Theatre veterans and some astonishing newcomers.
Emily Baker, who has broken hearts as fragile characters in such plays as The Little Foxes andCharley's Aunt, takes on the role of Alais. She is a French princess who was sent to England at a very young age to become the future bride of Richard, the Lionheart. Now at twenty three, she is in love with Henry, the man, rather than Henry, the powerful king. This makes her vulnerable.
In the past, Chris Adams has been seen in very different roles: as the lecherous, self-centered Leo in The Little Foxes and the shy nerd who can interact with others only through his puppet in Amateurs. Now, he takes on the role of young Phillip, the new king of France who joins the Christmas festivities to present ultimatums and to plot and plan.
Making his second appearance on the Union College Theatre stage is Samson Anderson. InAmateurs, he portrayed an aging lothario with buried vulnerabilities. Now he is Geoffrey, the middle son whose parentsâ€š indifference has forced him to become a calculating kingmaker.
Newcomers Brad Fulton and Allen Cole play the oldest and youngest sons, respectively. A member of the football team who won the brass lantern back from the University of the Cumberlands, Brad is a perfect fit for Richard the Lionheart. Over and above looking the part, Brad is able to handle the softer side of this military hero with good heart.
Allen Cole, on the injured list, is on loan from the baseball team. He brings energy, enthusiasm, as well as a touching sincerity to the part of John, a spoiled brat of sixteen. Henry's favorite, John will grow up to be the infamous King John of Robin Hood legend.
The cast is supported by an able crew of Union students. Heading the Technical staff is Cortni Thrasher as stage manager. She is joined by veterans JoAnna Ezell, Alexandra Estes, Erin Cooper, Samantha Caldwell, Rebekah Seifu, Krystal Webb, Keith Parker, and Steven Rodriguez. Newcomers on the crew are Kaitie Crawford and Lauren Stage.