Will (Not Smith) on the Hill (not Clinton) Set for May 7 in DC


If you think Julius Caesar was full of political intrigue, get a load of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, which puts politicians, lobbyists, journalists (and the occasional West Wing alum) on stage within spitting distance of the Capitol.

But don’t think this is all a comedy. Over the past 25 years, the Shakespeare Theatre Company has become “the nation’s foremost Shakespeare company” (Wall Street Journal) and the “region’s most dynamic theatre” (The Washington Post), and received more Helen Hayes Awards for producing than any other theatre.

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From their press release:

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Washington, D.C.-This May marks the Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s 10th year of celebrating the enduring power of Shakespeare’s words with the aid of Washington’s politicians, lobbyists and journalists. This year’s Will on the Hill is marked by a performance of Speak the Speech, I Pray You!, an original play by Peter Byrne with assistance from The West Wing Writers Group. Will on the Hill will take place on Monday, May 7, 2012, in Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW). The evening begins with a VIP cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the performance at 7:30 p.m. and a buffet dinner at 8:30 p.m.

Performance-only tickets to this popular annual event have already sold out, however patrons may enter their names on the wait list by calling the Box Office at 202.547.1122. A select number of VIP tickets are still available for purchase, and include a pre-performance cocktail reception and a buffet dinner with the opportunity to meet and dine with members of the cast and event sponsors. VIP tickets can be purchased for $250 by emailing WillontheHill@ShakespeareTheatre.org.

Speak the Speech, I Pray You! tells the tale of a director and stage manager tasked with corralling a cast of Washington luminaries for a benefit performance of Romeo and Juliet. This year’s cast includes Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Schiff, best known for his role as Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, and Tony Award nominee and STC Affiliated Artist Veanne Cox. Many Senators and members of Congress will take the stage as well, including Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Shelly Berkley (D-NV), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Theodore Deutch (D-FL), Donna Edwards (D-MD),Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Thomas Petri (R-WI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT). In addition, STC welcomes an international government representative, The Honourable Ian Liddell-Granger MP(Member of Parliament for Bridgewater and West Somerset). Other illustrious cast members includeRobin Bronk (CEO, Creative Coalition), Dr. Natwar Gandhi (CEO, District of Columbia), Major Garrett(Congressional Correspondent, National Journal), Rick Klein (ABC News’ Senior Washington Editor, World News with Diane Sawyer), William Kristol (Political Analyst, Founder and Editor, The Weekly Standard),Scott Simon (NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday) and Susan Stamberg (Special Correspondent, NPR’sMorning Edition).

Proceeds from this event support STC’s many education, artistic and community engagement programs including in-school workshops and online learning resources that inspire new and diverse audiences and deepen the connection to classical theatre in learners of all ages.

Please note: Cast members subject to change.

Will on the Hill is made possible in part by its Executive Sponsors: CoStar Group, Inc.; Intuit Inc.; MapHook, Inc.; McDermott, Will & Emery LLP; and Patton Boggs LLP, as well as The Hill.

During the 2011-2012 Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is set to celebrate! Not only is it the 25th year of Michael Kahn’s leadership, vision and artistic direction but, over the past quarter of a century, STC has become one of the nation’s leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation’s premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company’s artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

In its 2007-2008 Season, the company opened the Harman Center for the Arts, consisting of the new 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall and the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre, both located in downtown Washington’s Penn Quarter neighborhood. A dynamic hub of activity, the Harman Center showcases the company as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC’s annual Free For All performance, a re-creation of a production from seasons past staged for free in August and September, is now held at Sidney Harman Hall. Sidney Harman Hall is located at 610 F Street NW. The Lansburgh Theatre also plays host to a number of different performing arts organizations and several of STC’s mainstage productions. The Lansburgh Theatre is located at 450 7th Street NW.