Arena Stage presents Lookingglass's Metamorphoses

Dec 14, 2012

Following its acclaimed 16-week run at the Lookingglass Theatre Company this fall, Metamorphoses brings the mythical tales of Ovid to life at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, 10 years after the Broadway premiere. Written and directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman, Metamorphoses is based on David Slavitt's translation and marks the first time Zimmerman will direct the production since its Broadway run. This is also the first time Zimmerman will stage Metamorphoses in the round, and a custom set will be designed with the largest pool of water ever created for this production. Hailed by Chicago Sun-Times as "a work of pure poetry in motion-a seamless, visually gorgeous act of storytelling," Metamorphoses dives onto the Fichandler Stage February 8-March 17, 2013.

"Mary Zimmerman's work touches deep truths about what it means to be human. Her productions are visual and poetic and she is a master of unusual stagecraft," says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "How exciting to build the muscular world of Metamorphoses in the Fichandler space."

Zimmerman originally created Metamorphoses with students at Northwestern University under the name Six Myths. Its first professional production was at Lookingglass in 1998, and what was originally a five-week run extended to nearly eight months, receiving vast critical acclaim and earning Jeff Awards for New Adaptation and Lighting Design. The production then toured to several regional theater companies and landed at New York's Second Stage Theatre in 2001, where Time magazine named it "Best Play of the Year" and Zimmerman received the Obie Award for Direction.

Metamorphoses opened on Broadway in 2002 at Circle in the Square Theatre and ran for nearly a year, earning Zimmerman the Tony Award for Best Direction. While in New York, Metamorphoses also won Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Music in a Play, as well as the Drama League Award for Best Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. The production and its evolving journey was such a touchstone for many of the original artists involved that three marriages and four children have resulted from the creative relationships formed.

The Arena Stage cast features several actors who have been with Metamorphoses since its earliest stages. Chris Kipiniack (Cinyras) and Louise Lamson (Alcyon) first worked with Zimmerman on Metamorphoses at Northwestern and continued with it through its Broadway production. Raymond Fox (Midas), Doug Hara (Phaeton) and Lisa Tejero (Therapist) will also reprise their roles from Chicago and Broadway. Joining them are Ashleigh Lathrop (Myrrha), Lauren Orkus (Eurydice) and Tempe Thomas (Aphrodite) from the recent Chicago production. Joining the cast in D.C. are Geoff Packard (playing Ceyx, recently seen as the title role in Candide) and Derek Hasenstab (Hermes), who has been part of several Metamorphoses productions across the country.

"Whenever and wherever we have done this show, audiences immediately connect to the stories because metamorphoses-change, unlooked for and often unwanted-is an inescapable fact of our lives; it binds us together," remarks Zimmerman. "These myths give a kind of comfort in that they assert that it was ever thus-that change is the only constant-and yet, out of any destruction, something new is born. And aside from all this, the stories are gripping because they have a kind of wit, an unexpected humor that is born from both their strangeness and their familiarity. I'm really looking forward to revisiting the production after all these years."

The creative team of Metamorphoses who will remount their work in the round includes Set Designer Dan Ostling, Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld, Lighting Designer T.J. Gerckens, Sound Designer Andre Pluess, Original Music Composer Willy Schwarz, Stage Manager Cynthia Cahill and Assistant Stage Manager Marne Anderson.