Full casting has been announced for Arena Stage's music-filled adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. The production will star Academy Award and two-time Tony nominee Kathleen Turner (High, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), who will make her professional singing debut in this production as the strong-handed matriarch Mother Courage. Turner returns to the Washington, D.C. theater following a sold-out run of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins in 2012. Artistic Director Molly Smith will direct the innovative production in the round, set to run on the Fichlander Stage January 31-March 9, 2014.
Written in 1939, Mother Courage and Her Children is one of nine plays that Brecht penned to protest the rise of Fascism and Nazism. The play follows Mother Courage and her three children (Eilif, Kattrin, and Swiss Cheese) over the course of 12 years during the Thirty Years' War (1624-1636), depicted in 12 scenes. Using David Hare's translation, the show fuses politics and satire to paint a provocative portrait of war. This adaptation will incorporate more than 10 pieces of original music, composed in a gypsy-punk style by Musical Supervisor James Sugg, that will be performed by the cast members themselves. The actors will carry their instruments on their backs throughout the performance as they double as the show's musicians.
Mother Courage's children will be played by Nehal Joshi (The Music Man) as youngest son, Swiss Cheese, Nicholas Rodriguez (My Fair Lady) as eldest son, Eilif, and Erin Weaver (Romeo and Juliet) in her Arena Stage debut as daughter Kattrin. The cast also features Rick Foucheux (Ah, Wilderness!) as The Chaplain, Meg Gillentine (Cabaret) as Yvette, and Broadway alum Jack Willis (Julius Caesar) as The Cook. Nathan Koci leads the ensemble as music coordinator along with Monalisa Arias, Lise Bruneau, Jed Feder, Rayanne Gonzales, Jacobi Howard, Dan Istrate, James Konicek, Jesse Terrill, and John Leslie Wolfe.
The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (set design), Joseph P. Salasovich (costume design), Nancy Schertler (lighting design), Timothy M. Thompson (sound design), Anne Nesmith (wig design), Mark Bly (dramaturg), David Leong (movement director), and Brad Willcuts (assistant fight and movement consultant).
"To stage Mother Courage and Her Children with Kathleen Turner and this host of artists is a galvanizing experience," Artistic Director Smithsaid. "People who believe that they've seen Mother Courage before should forget everything that they've ever known about this show…We are creating something that will be absolutely vital and exhilarating and terrifying."