Gary Shakespear Co. Debuts with King Lear in Gary

29 Jul

Who knew? Shakespeare LIVES in Gary! Well you might ponder that statement, for it rings true!!

ImageThe Gary Shakespeare Company is proud to announce the formation of the company and, in collaboration with Indiana University Northwest’s Department of Performing Arts and Artistic Partners, its first production: King Lear by William Shakespeare.

Directed by founder Norman Caplan , the play boasts a cast of over 20 professionals, semi-professionals, community theatre stalwarts and intermediate and beginning student actors. Auditions were held in May and the company has been rehearsing every night, all summer long. The Opening Night performance will take place on Friday, August 16 at 7:30pm at IUN’s Theatre Northwest, 3660 Grant St., Gary, IN 46408. Additional performances take place on Saturday, August 17 at 7:30pm; Sunday, August 18 at 2:30pm. The final two performances will be on Friday, August 23 at 7:30pm and Sunday, August 24 at 7:30pm. There will be one free performance for students of IUN, PUC and Emerson Visual and Performing Arts High Achievement Academy on Thursday, Aug 22 at 7:30pm. Reservations will be accepted for all performances and are highly recommended.

All tickets are $10, available at the door, cash only. Call 219 980 6808 or go to to reserve seats.

King Lear tells the story of a king of ancient Britain who decides to divide his wealth, land and power amongst his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. The two eldest profess their love for their father, while the youngest will say nothing to appease him. “Old gold” gives way to “new silver” as formidable family patterns play out on the battlefields of the heath and in the hovels of the mind. Raging, unraveling forces factor in, leading to ultimate distress, destruction, madness and murder.

Often described as Shakespeare’s most difficult play, Mr. Caplan had tackled this play some years ago, producing Act One of the tragedy in the Miller Beach community. Many of the actors from that original cast are in the fully-mounted current production.

Mr. Caplan recently made the following comments about the play: King Lear is invariably a daunting challenge to any who attempt to produce it, and no less of a challenge to the audience who watches it. It is not a typical “hero” tragedy, like Hamlet or Macbeth, in which one main character is the focus of the attention. The part of King Lear presents the actor with over 700 lines to memorize and recite in modes that range from the feared and magisterial head of state, to an angry skulking father, to a playful gander full of high jinx, to a sage-like philosopher, to a stark raving lunatic who shouts back at the thunder and lightning. But Lear appears in only 10 of the play’s 26 scenes. Beyond the tale of Lear’s travails is an intricate power struggle among a whole assembly of people who struggle to reestablish, or reorder and master, the peaceable kingdom that is shattered by his abdication. Besides Lear, there are ten other major characters who interact, struggle and compete. And, as is true in all of Shakespeare’s plays, each character is a fully realized person. Consequently, each actor has to determine from a whole universe of choices how they will portray their character, and at the same time be part of an ensemble realizing a shattered world in the midst of a vicious and deadly power struggle. Daunting, indeed.”

Corya Channing, currently Director of the Purdue Theatre Co., and producer for King Lear, says, “Starting the Gary Shakespeare Co., working on this initial production, and planning our next move feels very exciting to me. To learn about the Bard’s great works and to be involved in a creative project of this magnitude is the culmination of all my years in theatre. I am truly blessed to be a part of the Gary Shakespeare Co. Yes, I know Shakespeare lives in Gary and this play is living proof!”


Cast members represent all areas of Northwest Indiana and Illinois and include Steve Rohe of Porter, IN in the part of King Lear; Morgan McCabe of New Chicago as Goneril; Kloe Brady of Gary as Regan; Robyn Rutar of Valparaiso and Jennifer Mead of Merrillville as Cordelia; Jim Nowacki of Gary as Kent; Kelly Denise Horton of Gary as Gloucester; Anne Paradise of Gary as the Fool; Mario Dongu of Hammond as Cornwall; Matthew Walsh of Villa Park, IL playing Edgar; Kelechukwu Brnfre of Glenwood, IL is Edmund; Barry Rapoport of Gary plays Oswald; Nick Brummet of Griffith, IN will play multiple parts including the Doctor; Curtis Lewis, Lansing, IL and Mark Baer of Lake of the Four Seasons will share the roles of King of France and Duke of Albany; Mahdee Iqbal of Hammond will play multiple parts, as will Brandon Hearne of Gary. John Abbassi of Munster will appear as Duke of Burgundy and other roles. Ben Perkins, playing multiple parts, rounds out the cast.

Lighting and Sound Design is by Tim O’Donnell of IUN Theatre Northwest, assisted by P.J. Culbertson. Stage Manager is Kim Perz of Crown Point. Set design and construction by James Severa with assistance from Omar Villalobos, both of Hammond; Costumes are designed and created by Donna Barrier of LaPorte, IN with assistance from Daryl Ritchie of Lansing, IL. Photography and other video special effects are by Tony V. Martin (New Chicago) and Tony Lenzo of Hammond. Other photography is by Larry Lapidus of Gary.

Mr. Norman Caplan of Gary is the Director and Ms. Corya Channing of Gary is the Producer.

The Gary Shakespeare Company is a repertory theater company that will produce and present, in local venues, quality performances of plays by Shakespeare as well as other current and classical dramatists.   


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