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September 9, 2004

The Scottish Play Tours To 13 Military Bases As Part Of NEA's Massive Shakespeare In American Communities Project

Opens Friday, September 10 at Maxwell Air Force Base

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, a renowned Equity LORT company, will kick off the NEA-US Department of Defense funded Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour of the Scottish Play, on Friday, September 10, 2004, at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

The tour is made possible through a unique partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Department of Defense. In announcing the program, NEA Chairman Dana Gioia stated: “If we are truly going to fulfill our charge of bringing art of indisputable excellence to all Americans, we have to reach into communities where we’ve never gone before. As our country now has the best-educated, best-trained military in our nation’s history, the Endowment has made a conscious effort to extend programs of artistic excellence, including Shakespeare in American Communities, to the men, women and families in our nation’s armed forces.”

Equity President Patrick Quinn concurred: “The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is one of America’s premiere theater companies and a terrific choice to kick off this exciting program. Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant today because (as I borrow extensively from HAMLET ) they hold up a mirror to nature and are the brief chronicles of our time.”

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival was selected for the program because of its reputation for producing exciting, high quality productions of Shakespeare. ASF received a $ 750,000 grant for the seven-week, eleven-state tour, which is being managed in cooperation with Arts Midwest, based in Minneapolis. Additional support for Shakespeare in American Communities is being provided by The Sallie Mae Fund.

ASF Artistic Director Kent Thompson believes the spectacle and the story of the Scottish Play will thrill the troops. “MACBETH deals with the issues confronting military leadership today – what happens when the greatest warrior a country has decides he will be King at any price. It’s also a fascinating study in the self-creation of a tyrant. It suggests that moral principles must never be compromised for power or ambition.”

The cast includes William Brock, Aaron Cabell, Rodney Clark, Suzanne Curtis, Paul Hebron, Jennifer Hunt, Warren Jackson, James Knight, Alex Knold, Joe Kolbow, Sonja Lanzener, Mark D. Leslie, Kathleen S. McCall (Lady Macbeth), Howard W. Overshown, Philip Pleasants, Remi Sandri (Macbeth) and Frederick Snyder.

After Maxwell Air Force Base (Montgomery, AL), the tour continues to three Army, three Navy, two Marine and four Air Force bases in venues ranging from theatres and gymnasiums, to an airplane hanger: Kings Bay Submarine Base, Kings Bay GA (Sep 15); Charleston Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, SC (Sep 17-18); Camp Lejeune Marine Base, Jacksonville, NC (Sep 21-22); Quantico Marine Base, Quantico VA (Sep 24); Selfridge Air National Guard Base/TACOM Army Base, Mt. Clemens, MI (Sep 28); Naval Support Activity Mid-South, Millington, TN (Oct 1); Scott Air Force Base, O’Fallon, IL (Oct 3); Ft. Riley Army Base, Manhattan, Kansas (Oct 6); Ft. Leavenworth Army Base, Ft. Leavenworth, KS (Oct 9); Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, CO (Oct 15); Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, NM (Oct 18); Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, NM (Oct 21-22).

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