Arizona Theatre Company opens 50th season with ‘King Charles III’

What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies?  Is Prince Charles ready to ascend to the throne?  Is England ready for him?

A bracingly provocative and outrageously entertaining new play makes its regional premiere when Arizona Theatre Company opens its 50th anniversary season with Mike Bartlett’s award-winning exploration of the people underneath the crowns, “King Charles III,” Oct. 6-23 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.

ATC semicentennial – Esser FINAL

The 2016-17 season is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser.

Drawing on the style and structure of a Shakespearean history play, but with a modern verve, a comic subplot and even the occasional appearance of a significant ghost, the story follows Charles after the death of current Queen Elizabeth.

In his first official act on the throne, Charles refuses to sign a bill already passed by Parliament limiting the rights of the press in invading personal privacy. An ironic action in light of his first wife’s death fleeing paparazzi, Charles stands his ground and political firestorm ensues.

Described by Ben Brantley in The New York Times as a “dazzling presumptuous drama, set in and around Buckingham Palace in a highly foreseeable future,” “King Charles III” won the 2014 Critic’s Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play and earned five 2016 Tony Award and three Drama Desk Award nominations, including Best Play (Tony) and Outstanding Play (Drama Desk).

ATC’s production will be the first of a number of American productions of this recent Broadway hit.

ATC’s production of “King Charles III” brings back director Matt August (“The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson,Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord”). It stars Peter Van Norden (“The Sunshine Boys” and “Inventing Van Gogh”) returning to the ATC stage to play Charles. The rest of actors playing the Royal Family include Dylan Saunders as Harry, Adam Haas Hunter as William, Kate Maher Hyland as Kate and Cathy Dresbach, one of the state’s most acclaimed performers, making her ATC debut as Camilla.

Ticket prices are $25-$100 and are available in-person at the Temple of Music and Art box office, via phone at 520-622-2823 or online at www.arizonatheatre.org.

“King Charles III” will be followed by “Act of God” (Nov. 17-Dec. 4); “Fiddler on the Roof” (Jan. 1-29, 2017); “The River Bride” (Feb. 2-26); “Ring of Fire” (March 30-April 16); “Holmes and Watson,” a new Jeffrey Hatcher play commissioned by ATC (April 11-28).

For more information call 602-256-6995 or visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

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