Skip to main content
The Folger Spotlight

ENCORES: 'King Lear' performed by Folger Theatre and The Classical Theatre of Harlem

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a bi-weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. These ENCORES provide a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience.

ENCORES presents

King Lear
presented by Folger Theatre and The Classical Theatre of Harlem
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Alfred Preisser (2007)

Performed by

  • Duane Allen, Burgundy, Captain
  • JJ Area, Messenger, Lear Train
  • Jerome Preston Bates*, Kent
  • Danyon Davis*, Edgar
  • André De Shields*, Lear
  • Chantal Jean-Pierre*, Goneril
  • Ty Jones*, Edmund
  • Ian Lockhart, France, Lear Train
  • Shayshahn MacPherson, Musician, Lear Train
  • Francis Mateo, Cornwall, Doctor
  • Christina Sajous, Cordelia
  • Ken Schatz*, Fool
  • Todd Scofield*, Albany
  • Zuanna Sherman, Oswald
  • Deidra LeWan Starnes*, Regan
  • Harold Surratt*, Gloucester


  • Scenic Design by Troy Hourie**
  • Costume Design by Kimberly Glennon
  • Lighting Design by Aaron Black**
  • Assistant Director, Roxi Trapp-Dukes
  • Stage Manager, Che Wernsman**

*Actors’ Equity Association
**United Scenic Artists
***Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

Read King Lear on The Folger Shakespeare.

Read the introduction by cast member Ty Jones:

Hello and welcome to Folger Encores. I’m Ty Jones and I’m happy to speak with you, and I’m also the Producing Artistic Director of The Classical Theatre of Harlem. The Folger has been sharing selections from their plays, music, talks, and readings with you in this Encores series. Today, we are revisiting the Folger Theatre and The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, a production in which I had the privilege of playing Edmund.

Now, as it says in the Folger Shakespeare about King Lear, the play challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. It tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty on the one hand and support and consolation on the other. Emotions are extreme, magnified to gigantic proportions, and we also see old age portrayed in all its vulnerability, pride, and perhaps wisdom. One reason this most devastating of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also perhaps his most moving.

In the scene that is coming, Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. Our King Lear in this production was the inimitable André De Shields. André is a gift to the theater and the joy he brings to the world is simply extraordinary. We are lucky to have him in our lives. Please join me in celebrating André, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, and Shakespeare’s King Lear. And join us again for these episodes of Encores highlighting all that the Folger has to offer. Thank you.

Check back every other Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger Theatre, Folger Consort, O.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.