HENRY IV, Part 1
As it turns out, just prior to coming to Marin Shakespeare to work on these plays, Rob served as a text coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company on their productions of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. The trans-Atlantic collaboration had its challenges, but the pay off of having Rob’s keen insightfulness brought to bear on the productions was vast.
Casting the productions was extremely important. It would have been great to have chosen these plays with a Falstaff in mind. But we didn’t. Instead, we cast a wide net, calling many of the Bay Area’s leading Falstaffian actors (who were all booked or not interested in working at our payscale), conducting auditions in New York, and publicizing our search in Los Angeles.
Imagine our delight when – after months of Bay Area and New York searching – on the final day of our auditions, through the door walked Stephen Reynolds, who had driven up from L.A. to audition.
Stephen looked perfect for the role, but as we chatted we wondered if this gentle, soft-spoken musical theatre actor had the chops to create the boisterous, bigger-than-life Falstaff. Then, he read from the script. And we saw the actor transform into the role. There was Falstaff in all his witty, wondrous glory. We were sold. Stephen gave a superb performance, taught in our summer camps, charmed book clubs, and was the nicest, most generous company member imaginable.
Meanwhile, in New York, we had met a couple of young actors – Grant Goodman and William Elsman – who we loved for the roles of Prince Hal and Hotspur. Casting a wide net had all sorts of great dividends.
From the Playbill - Part One:
"Biting into the lesser known works always becomes for us a deliciously satisfying experience. The sagacious Samuel Johnson wrote of Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II 'Perhaps no author has ever in two plays afforded so much delight'. However, tastes have altered since the 18th century and now we find that any title followed by a Roman numeral means potential box office disaster. So while we’ve set out to prove Samuel Johnson right – with an internationally known guest director and a fabulous cast drawn from near and far – we are hedging our bets by bringing back (after seven long years) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged.)"
- Robert S. Currier, Artistic Director's Welcome