Shakespeare & Company Kicks Off Outdoor 2021 Season with King Lear Starring Christopher Lloyd


Shakespeare & Company will launch its 2021 season with a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, featuring acclaimed actor and three-time Emmy winner Christopher Lloyd. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, King Lear will run July 2 through August 29.

Widely regarded as one of Shakespeare’s most moving tragedies, King Lear tells the tale of the once-powerful king as he chooses to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, setting in motion one of Shakespeare’s most challenging and notable pieces of work.

During a career spanning more than four decades, Lloyd made movie history with his iconic portrayal of “Doc Brown” in the Back to the Future trilogy. His wide-ranging credits include the films The Addams Family, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Dennis The Menace, Angels in the Outfield, To Be or Not to Be, Clue, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, as well as the beloved television series, Taxi. Among his many theatre credits, Lloyd has appeared in Broadway productions of Morning’s at Seven, Happy End, and Red, White and Maddox and off-Broadway in The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Happy End. Lloyd has won three Primetime Emmy Awards (two for Taxi, one for Road to Avonlea) and an Independent Spirit Award. He has also been nominated for two Saturn Awards and a Daytime Emmy Award.

A director, actor, producer, and instructor, Ricciardi has created work for Primary Stages, Youngblood/Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea Theater, the Drama Book Shop, Chelsea Repertory Lab, Two River Theater Company, Shadow Lawn Stage, Circle East Theatre Company, Bushwick Arts, Irish Repertory Theater, Central Square Theatre (Boston), and New Century Theatre. At Shakespeare & Company, Ricciardi has directed productions of Time Stands Still, Creditors, and 4000 Miles.

King Lear will be the first production in The New Spruce Theatre, a new outdoor amphitheater situated underneath the towering spruce trees on the Shakespeare & Company campus. King Lear will also mark a triumphant return to live, in-person performances after the originally-scheduled 2020 season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shakespeare & Company will also offer two powerful productions in the Roman Garden Theatre. BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey, an autobiographical solo show written and performed by Debra Ann Byrd and directed by Tina Packer, runs July 16 to 25 in the Roman Garden Theatre. A workshop production of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, directed by Alice Reagan, runs September 1 to September 5. In addition, the Company will feature a lineup of contemporary productions to be announced soon!

Shakespeare & Company believes live theatre connects us all in the universal pursuit of a purposeful existence and reveals through storytelling the meaning of our humanity. The Company approaches its forthcoming season with a renewed and continuing commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.

In addition, Shakespeare & Company takes the safety of its guests, artists, and staff seriously. At all performances, audiences will be required to wear masks, socially distance, adhere to state public health recommendations, and abide by all rules outlined in the COVID-19 Code of Courtesy.

Shakespeare & Company donors of $100 or more are able to purchase tickets early! Tickets for donors go on sale on April 22. Tickets for FLEXpass holders will be available for purchase on April 27. General ticket sales begin April 29.

Note: FLEXpasses purchased this year may be redeemed through 2022. Those who received a credit for their 2020 season FLEXpasses will also be eligible to redeem them through 2022. Please check the Shakespeare & Company website for rain policy information once tickets go on sale.


For more information on Shakespeare & Company, the upcoming season, or to find out how to become a donor, please visit


King Lear

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Nicole Ricciardi

Featuring Christopher Lloyd

July 2 to August 29

The New Spruce Theatre

“Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.” —King Lear

The once-powerful King Lear chooses to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, and so begins one of Shakespeare’s most moving tragedies. At the crucial point of relinquishing his realm, Lear demands to know which of his daughters loves him the most. His ambitious older daughters answer with false praise and lavish flattery, however his youngest daughter, who does truly love him, answers with honesty. Wildly unsatisfied with her response, Lear’s rage sets in motion catastrophic consequences. Ultimately stripped of his privilege and its trappings, Lear must reckon with his own humanity.


BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey

Written and performed by Debra Ann Byrd

Directed by Tina Packer 

July 16 to July 25

The Roman Garden Theatre 

Described as a living memoir, BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey is a multimedia theatrical production with lyrical language, soulful songs and the music that shaped the life of a resilient little girl growing up in Spanish Harlem. This choreopoem chronicles the life of classical actress Debra Ann Byrd.

The solo show flows from Debra Ann’s recounting of her ancestral lineage to her arrival at a crossroad in life, while taking us through her joy-filled and tumultuous youth; a fateful encounter with a company of Shakespearean actors and her remarkable, gender-flipped journey on the road to becoming Othello. We share in Debra Ann’s struggle with self-esteem and how, against all odds, she manages to make it through foster care, teenage pregnancy and single parenting, to become the person she always dreamed she could be. It is a deeply personal, poignant and powerful story of perseverance, tragedy, triumph and ultimately, unconditional love.


Measure For Measure (a workshop production)

Directed by Alice Reagan

September 1 to 5

The Roman Garden Theatre

“The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?” – Angelo

When Angelo is abruptly appointed to rule over a chaotic and debauched city, he restores order with repressive laws and an iron fist over licentiousness. The object of his own twisted desire is a young nun, whom he puts in an unthinkable position. “To whom should I complain?” is all that young Isabella can utter when she finds herself the target of his abuse of power. Justice can never come soon enough.

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