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Tina Packer Can Make It There — New York

Women of Will

Tina Packer and Nigel Gore in “Women of Will.” Photo, Kevin Sprague

Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, is taking her show on the road. New York City will be the beneficiary of “Women of Will,” at least the condensed version of Packer’s enjoyable investigation into feminist Bardography. (It was presented locally by the Nora Theatre Company in Cambridge, as well as in the Berkshires.)

New York’s gain is Boston’s loss in one respect. Nigel Gore, an excellent actor who’s been gracing local stages in recent years, will again be joining Packer as the Shakespearean menfolk, so we won’t be seeing him around here this season. It also looks as if Shakespeare & Company has lost Gore to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, where he’ll be playing Macbeth and Bottom this summer. Not good news for New Englanders. Eric Tucker, a former member of Trinity Repertory Company, directs “Women of Will.”

Here’s the press release. I’m kind of partial to what that former Boston Globe guy had to say:

“Lively and illuminating,”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“When Tina Packer talks, people listen. When Tina Packer acts, people watch. When Tina Packer directs,
people flock. In other words, when Tina Packer does anything it’s worth our attention,”
– Ed Siegel, Boston Globe

The New York premiere of Tina Packer’s WOMEN OF WILL – a groundbreaking exploration of Shakespeare’s canon – written by Ms. Packer and directed by Eric Tucker (“Saint Joan”) will begin preview performances on January 27 prior to an official press opening of February 3 and running through June 2 Off-Broadway at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street), it has been announced by the show’s producer Sarah Hancock and its creator/star Tina Packer.

“I am so pleased to finally have the opportunity to perform WOMEN OF WILL in front of NYC audiences,” stated Tina Packer. “It has been a long journey – partly because I spent the last 30-plus years building Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts and partly because WOMEN OF WILL isn’t just one play – its six separate plays, and I – along with my wonderful collaborators Eric Tucker and Nigel Gore – have been working tirelessly to fine-tune the work before our NY debut. There is a special joy for me to be able to play the parts I missed because I was building Shakespeare & Company – parts in plays I have directed, but now can approach again from the inside not looking from the outside.”

A true tour de force performance, WOMEN OF WILL, is the masterful summation of Shakespeare & Company Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer’s 40-plus years spent investigating all things Shakespeare; it is an engrossing exploration of the Bard’s art and psyche through his female characters, and portrayed by two of Shakespeare’s greatest modern interpreters – Ms. Packer and Nigel Gore. If Shakespeare had “bonus content,” this would be it. WOMEN OF WILL explores the Bard’s characters, focusing on the “women of will,” from Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” to Viola in “Twelfth Night” and everyone in between, giving a unique and exciting perspective on some of the most well-known classics in the English language.

Additionally, Ms. Packer’s WOMEN OF WILL: The Complete Journey – her fully-expanded, five part, in-depth exploration of Shakespeare will be presented in marathon weekends, every other week later this season. More details on WOMEN OF WILL: The Complete Journey will be announced at a later date.

Scheduled January 27 through June 2, WOMEN OF WILL performs Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays through Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street). Tickets are $40 during previews performance from January 27 through February 2; $75 General Admission post opening. Tickets can be purchased online at www.WomenOfWill.com or by calling TheatreMania at 212-352-3101. There will also be a limited number of $25 student rush tickets available for each performance sold at the Box Office.

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