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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lifetime Lear—A pass to every King Lear produced at BAM and Theatre for a New Audience, forever

Limited quantity available beginning April 2, 10am
April 1, 2014, Brooklyn—Brooklyn Academy of Music and Theatre for a New Audience will offer a special pass that includes a pair of seats to every production of William Shakespeare's King Lear presented by the Fort Greene cultural neighbors, beginning January 2015 until the end of time. Additional Brooklyn venues to be announced.
BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo said, "We are thrilled at the prospect of offering true 'Learheads' guaranteed access to the many future productions of this essential tragedy." Added TFANA Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz, "The Bard would surely approve of this profound pledge of loyalty to one of his finest works. Now and forever!"

This current season, each presenter will have had a run of King Lear. BAM's, in January/February, by Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Angus Jackson, and starred Frank Langella. TFANA's, which runs through May 4, is directed by Arin Arbus and stars Michael Pennington. (This production is not included in Lifetime Lear.) The enduring popularity and relevance of this play catalyzed the idea of creating Lifetime Lear. Other notable King Lear productions at BAM, approaching 20 in number since 1862, include portrayals by Edwin Booth, Ian McKellen, and Derek Jacobi.


Future productions will be announced with each upcoming season, but pass holders can already look forward to BAM’s 2045 Winter/Spring Season, which will feature Ryan Gosling as Lear. Other popular actors being considered for the legendarily physically demanding role include Taylor Kitsch, whose brooding Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights was undeniably practice for the dark king, and Girls' Adam Driver, whose tempestuousness and animal magnetism will no doubt serve him well. Also high on the list is new Brooklynite Patrick Stewart, whose Macbeth (2008, also with Chichester Festival Theatre) will be remembered fondly among Shakespeare's lengthy canon at BAM, in addition to his legacy as Captain Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Kathryn Hunter, who portrayed Puck in Julie Taymor's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the inaugural show at TFANA last fall, would be a natural to reprise the role of King Lear, which she has performed previously. It is hoped that other actresses with the right stuff will also take on the role, such as Oscar winners Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep, and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence.
A comprehensive, tailor-made humanities curriculum is currently being designed. Events will include On Truth (and Lies) in Monarchy, which will examine the vexing issues of absolute rule and unruly heirs, and a series of once-a-decade (ad infinitum) gatherings for Lifetime Lear patrons to discuss the shifting precepts of the play as viewed through the actual aging process.

Lifetime Lear goes on sale to Friends of BAM on Wednesday, April 2 at 10am, and to the general public on Monday, April 5 at 10am. The price of a pass is $16,060, in acknowledgement of 1606, the year of the play's writing; an installment plan is available. A total of 26 Lifetime Lear passes will be sold—the number of scenes in King Lear. And two scholarship passes will be donated to patrons whose names will be drawn; you must enter to be considered.

The pass, good for a pair of premium location seats to each and every future performance, comes in the form of a braided crown of reeds to be designed by a Brooklyn artisanal milliner, custom fitted to each Learhead's pate. (The reeds are symbolic of nettles, thorns, and hemlock, which will not be used in order to avoid poisoning.) The bearer will also receive a throne crafted of recycled materials from Hurricane Sandy's wreckage, that—like Lear's eroding grasp on his facilities and throne—disintegrates with the inexorable passage of time; plus a crystal ball containing a miniature tempest that flares up on performance dates as a handy calendar reminder.
Note: Lifetime Lear passes are non-transferable, even between generations. BAM cannot be responsible for Acts of God or by decree of the King. BAM employees and their relatives may not enter to win the scholarship passes, but may purchase one pass at the standard employee discount.

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