Wednesday, Dec 19, 2007 – Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director yesterday announced that an unspecified but apparently serious injury to Avery Brooks, who plays the title role, will force cancellation of the company’s performances of Tamburlaine through Sunday. Dec 23rd.. Customers who are holding tickets for those productions may schedule a later production or another play by calling the box office at 202.547.1122.
Brooks’ designated understudy, Jonathan Earl Peck, had recently been forced to leave the production earlier because of a family emergency, and the new understudy, Bill Christ, has not had an opportunity to fully learn the immense role, according to Kahn. The company intends to reassess its position on Friday, Kahn said, and would then announce whether the show would resume, and if so, whether it would proceed with Brooks or Christ in the title role.
“We feel deeply for our audiences who were looking forward to seeing Avery in the role,” Kahn said. Brooks was similarly dismayed with this turn of events. “I am devastated,” he said. “I have never intentionally missed or tried to miss a performance. My work is my life. I am especially devastated for my fellow company members; we have invested so much in each other and the work on Tamburlaine. Michael Kahn and the Shakespeare Theatre Company have been extraordinarily generous to me, and I would not ever betray this love. I will do everything in my power to return and finish this wonderful work as soon as is physically/humanly possible. I offer my humble apology to all and especially to the audience, whose loyalty and support I could never live without.”
Tamburlaine is running in repertory with Edward II through January 6, 2008, at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW), a part of the Harman Center for the Arts. Performances of Edward II will continue as scheduled.