PITTSBURGH - A Roman general and an Egyptian queen, Mark Antony and Cleopatra, are great leaders of their time who share a passion for each other - but at a price. Power, politics and betrayal overshadow their doomed and legendary affair.
"Antony & Cleopatra" runs May 5-21 in the Charity Randall Theatre at the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland.
Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's production of "Antony & Cleopatra" is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest. P.I.C.T. is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate, bringing Shakespeare to thousands of middle and high school students.
Under the direction of James J. Christy, "Antony & Cleopatra" features Sam Tsoutsouvas, Helena Ruoti and Leo Marks, with scenic design by David P. Gordon, lighting design by Cindy Limauro and costume design by Jen Sturm. David Huber designs sound.
"Antony & Cleopatra" is set as Rome emerges from the chaos of the civil wars following the assassination of Julius Caesar. Mark Antony, Caesar's best general, and Octavius Caesar, Caesar's nephew, are locked in a struggle for control of the rising Roman Empire. Cleopatra has ruled Egypt for nearly 20 years.
Christy directed P.I.C.T.'s 2008 production of "King Lear." He has directed more than 20 Shakespeare productions at Utah Shakespearean Festival, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and Villanova University, where he taught theater for 39 years. Christy also worked with Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival in the 1990s, directing "As You Like It" and "The Comedy of Errors." He has garnered seven nominations for directing by the Philadelphia Theatre Alliance Barrymore Awards, winning two Barrymore Awards for directing and a special Barrymore for Lifetime Achievement.
Ruoti plays the passionate and powerful Cleopatra. "Antony & Cleopatra" reunites Ruoti with Sam Tsoutsouvas, after their turn as a couple in P.I.C.T.'s 2009 production of "Rock 'n' Roll," and with Christy, for whom she played Goneril in "King Lear."
Her other P.I.C.T. credits include "What the Butler Saw," "Heartbreak House," "A Woman of No Importance," "Hamlet" and "The Seagull."
Tsoutsouvas plays the Roman general torn between duty to Rome and an intense ambition to rule the world with Cleopatra. Tsoutsouvas recently completed a run in the Red Bull Theatre's production of "The Witch of Edmonton." His credits include "Timon of Athens" and "Antony & Cleopatra" at New York Shakespeare Festival and Petruchio in "Taming of the Shrew" at Theatre for a New Audience.
Other Shakespeare roles include Hamlet, Hotspur, Coriolanus, Berowne, Benedick, Leontes, Brutus, Shylock, Macbeth and Titus Andronicus. Tsoutsouvas' previous P.I.C.T. credits include Pinter Celebration, "Rock 'n' Roll," "Heartbreak House" and the title role in Shakespeare's "Henry IV."
Leo Marks returns to P.I.C.T. to play the supremely political Octavius Caesar. The OBIE award-winning actor was a company member in P.I.C.T.'s Pinter Celebration last season, and he has appeared at South Coast Repertory, Actors Theater of Louisville, the Old Globe and Intiman. He is a founding member of New York's Elevator Repair Service.
Southern California-based actor James Sutorius makes his P.I.C.T. debut as cynical warrior Enobarbus. Sutorius' Broadway credits include "The Farnsworth Invention," "Conversations with My Father," "The Changing Room" and "The Cherry Orchard." His regional credits include Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory and Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Also featured in "Antony & Cleopatra" are David Berry, Ken Bolden, Dan Derks, Jarrod DiGiorgi, James FitzGerald, Parag Gohel, Daina Michelle Griffith, Daniel Krell, Shammen McCune, Michael Mueller, Jim Platania, Sean Sears, Mark Staley, Bria Walker and Aaron White.
Tickets are $20 to $50 and are available by calling ProArtsTickets at (412) 394-3353 or online at www.proartstickets.org.
Special student matinee performances are scheduled for 10 a.m. May 4 and 10. Teachers who are interested in bringing student groups can call Gale McGloin at (412) 561-6000, extension 204, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information, visit the P.I.C.T. website at www.picttheatre.org.