A long delayed dream for Tina Packer has been to settle into an extended run of her Shakespeare tour-de-force, Women of Will which she premiered in the Berkshires and has taken to numerous one night and one week stands over the past couple of years. Of course, having spent four decades as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company she had few opportunities to leave that company for an extended period of time. Since she stepped down, specifically to nurture her own artistic endeavors, anything is possible.
And so it is that the new year will see January 27 begin preview performances of the New York premiere of her seminal work – a groundbreaking exploration of Shakespeare’s canon – written by Ms. Packer and directed by Eric Tucker. The official press opening is slated for February 3 and current plans are to run the production through June 2. It will take place Off-Broadway at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street). The announcement was made by the show’s producer Sarah Hancock and its creator/star Tina Packer. Ticket prices and performance times are not yet known.
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Other Tickets, Performance Schedule
Scheduled January 29 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.
For more information, please visit www.WomenOfWill.com.
Critic and writer Gail Burns has followed Ms. Packer’s career for a long time, and wrote about Women of Will here (link).
Tina Talks About the Performance
“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.
Directed by Eric Tucker, Women of Will stars Tina Packer and Nigel Gore. The design team for Women of Will is: Valerie Bart (Scenic & Costume Design), Les Dickert (Lighting Design), and Daniel Kluger (Sound Design).
Women of Will was developed during a 15-year period while Tina Packer was Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, where both Women of Will and Women of Will: The Compete Journey received their world-premiere productions.
Subsequently, Women of Will has been presented in the Boston area, by The Nora Theatre Company; the Denver area, by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; and most recently in Prague, Czech Republic, presented by The Prague Shakespeare Festival.
Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, is arguably one of the foremost leading experts on Shakespeare, not only in America but in the world. For Shakespeare & Company, Ms. Packer has directed over 50 Shakespeare productions, as well as new and contemporary works – some highlights include: The Taster, Ice Glen, King John, Othello, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar among others. As an actor, she has played countless Shakespearean roles, including Cleopatra and Queen Gertrude as well as Lettice in LETTICE AND LOVAGE. Ms. Packer has received over 20 awards, honors and fellowships – including: the Ronson Award for Most Outstanding Performer from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; a Guggenheim and a Bunting Fellowship; the 1999-2000 Arts Recipient of The Commonwealth Award; etc. She is the subject of the WGBH documentary “Sex, Violence and Poetry: A Portrait of Tina Packer,” and Helen Epstein’s biography “The Companies She Keeps.”