EXCLUSIVE: Bedlam, the small, critically acclaimed Off Broadway theater company known for its clever, spare and unconventional stagings of classics like The Crucible and Saint Joan, is developing Bedlam: The Series, an eight-episode New Media mash-up of Shakespeare plays using the Bard’s own language.
The series, to be released on an as-yet-unannounced platform, begins filming this month in New York City and New York’s Hudson Valley.
Written by Bedlam artistic director Eric Tucker and Musa Gurnis and directed by Tucker, the series will combine characters and plots from King Lear, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice and other plays in an all-new story.
“As a theatre company, most immediately, we need to adapt to our current situation and find ways of staying alive,” Tucker said, “creating content that serves our mission and vision, while assuring the well-being and livelihood of our regular artists and staff.” He said the series will allow the Off Broadway company “to work in a world where theatre temporarily does not exist. It will be the ‘new’ platform where we realize our work and continue our pursuit to revisit and reinvigorate the Classics as well as present these texts in a way that is more representative of the world in which we live.”
The theater company’s most recent stage production, last year’s The Crucible by Arthur Miller, won critical raves (“something like magic,” wrote The New York Times) and was set for a remount when the COVID shutdown hit.
The new series will follow small-time, ailing crime boss Linda “King” Lear, whose attempt to retire and split up her business among three daughters devolves into a bloody family fight for control of Windsor City.
“We will take the plot lines of three Shakespeare plays,” Tucker said, “along with text from several others and create a series that introduces audiences to William Shakespeare as he has never been experienced before.” He described the approach as “innovative and experimental,” with “a diversity of BIPOC artists across all departments, and all the while in adherence to all necessary Covid safety and health protocols.”
No timeline yet on a premiere, but Bedlam: The Series will feature Zuzanna Szadkowski, Triney Sandoval, Kaden Kearney, Mike Labbadia, Tracee Beazer, Elan Zafir, Claire Hsu, Ryan Quinn, John Terry, Perri Yaniv, Eric Tucker, Katie Hartke, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Ted Lewis, Nigel Gore, Musa Gurnis, Arash Mokhtar, Rami Margron, Zachary Fine, Lisa Birnbaum, Ashley Bufkin, Karen Alvarado, Galen Molk, Woody Fu, Murphy Taylor Smith, Maya Margarita, Tiffany Denise Hobbs, Violeta Picayo, Mia Vallet and Caroline Grogan.
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