Simon Godwin’s Measure for Measure


Theatre for a New Audience | Polonsky Shakespeare Center | Boerum Hill

Theatre for a New Audience is proud to present Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare’s dark comedy about justice, faith, power, sex and family from June 17 – July 16, 2017, at Polonsky Shakespeare Center in the Brooklyn Cultural District.

TFANA will present 32 performances of Measure for Measure: June 17-18 and 20-25, 27-30, and July 1-3, 5-9, 11-16 at 7:30pm; June 24 at 7pm; and July 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 & 16 at 2:00pm.

Simon Godwin’s Measure for Measure is one of the most anticipated Shakespeare productions of this season. Backstage recognized Godwin (Associate Director, London’s National Theatre) as one of “5 Directors Innovating Shakespeare,” noting that his recent Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company “turned heads” and gave “a manic, street-art flair to a show perhaps too often shrouded in over-the-top gloom and fog.” Metro called it “one of the best Shakespeare productions this Spring,” and wrote, “Simon Godwin crafts an appropriately unsettling rendition of this disturbing comedy of sexual politics.” The New York Times’ New Season preview featured the production, saying, “Simon Godwin directs Shakespeare’s problematic play about repression, lust and hypocrisy—a few human characteristics that never go out of style.”

Simon Godwin’s productions of Shakespeare are invigorating. They find new life in new energies and new voices. In his 2016 Hamlet for the RSC, he re-imagined “Denmark as a modern state influenced by the ritual beauty and cosmology of West Africa.” For the first time since the RSC’s founding in 1961, a black actor (Paapa Essiedu) played the title role with a mostly black company. In February 2017, Godwin directed a modern-dress, gender-fluid Twelfth Night for the National Theatre. Shakespeare’s character Malvolio was not a man. The role was rethought as a woman, Malvolia, and played by a woman, Tamsin Greig.

Godwin sets Measure for Measure in a modern city that is becoming increasingly authoritarian, and shines fresh light on the complex identities and surprising contradictions of the leading characters. To further the audience’s engagement with the play’s clashing arguments—about our humanity, justice, faith, power, sexuality and filial duty—the production connects theatergoers with the physical world of the narrative. Audiences will enter the theatre in a non-traditional way, through backstage hallways transformed into Mistress Overdone’s brothel. Twelve will sit around the stage as a jury judging what is right and wrong. Others will visit a cafe where a character, Mariana, sings.

Leading a diverse cast are Jonathan Cake (Benedick in TFANA’s Much Ado About Nothing, Furkat in “The Affair”) as Vincentio, the Duke; Cara Ricketts (Imogen in Cymbeline at Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Ontario) as Isabella; Thomas Jay Ryan (Thomas Putnam in The Crucible, directed by Ivo van Hove,on Broadway) as Angelo.

Tickets are $85-95 (with a limited number of premium seats available at $120 each) and will be on sale to the public in mid-May at, 866-811-4111 and the Polonsky Shakespeare Center box office. New Deal tickets—for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age—are available for all performances for $20, and can be purchased online, by phone or at the box office, in advance or day-of, with valid ID(s) required at pickup.

Polonsky Shakespeare Center is located at 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217.


Companion Programming

TFANA Talks, free post-show conversations with artists and scholars, will take place after the Saturday matinee performances on July 1 and July 8.

After the 7:30pm performance on Sunday, June 18, TFANA will host one of its popular Post-Show Parties. Every ticket purchased for that evening includes a drink ticket for use at the party.

About the Cast

JONATHAN CAKE (Duke Vincentio) studied English at Cambridge University and trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. On Broadway Mr. Cake has played Jason in Medea (Theatre World Award), Iachimo in Cymbeline at Lincoln Center, and Braham in The Philanthropist. Off-Broadway, his credits include Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (TFANA, 2013 Joe A. Callaway Award for Best Classical Performance), Antony in Antony and Cleopatra (The Public Theater, RSC), and plays by Jez Butterworth, Ethan Coen, and Claudia Shear. In London he has played Silva Vaccaro in Baby Doll (National Theatre, Barclays Theatre Award), the title role in Coriolanus (Shakespeare’s Globe), and roles at The Old Vic, the West End, and Off West End. He has appeared in many television shows in both the UK and US, including “Extras,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Chuck,” “Angie Tribeca,” every type of “Law & Order,” “Doll and Em” on HBO, and most recently “The Affair.” His film work includes Brideshead Revisited, True Blue, Honest, The One and Only, and First Knight.

CARA RICKETTS (Isabella). Cara Ricketts is a celebrated Canadian theatre actress being named as Now Magazine’s 10 Artists of the Year and having starred for several seasons at the acclaimed Stratford Festival in roles such as Imogen in Cymbeline, Ruth in The Homecoming opposite Brian Dennehy, Portia in Julius Caesar and Maria in Twelfth Night, directed by Des McAnuff,among many other productions.Ms. Ricketts other selected credits include Queenie in The Wild Party (Acting UpStage/Dora Award nom. for Outstanding Performance), Hedda in Hedda Gabler (Necessary Angel), Marianne in Constellations and Susan in Race (Canadian Stage). For film and television Cara is best known for portraying the role of Bertilda in the E1 mini-series Book of Negroes, as well as appearing in the feature films Jean of the Joneses Across the Line, and The Anniversary. Her television credits include guest appearances on fan favorite BBC America’s Orphan Black, CTV’s Saving Hope, CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries and CTV’s Satisfaction. 

THOMAS JAY RYAN (Angelo). Broadway: The Crucible, In the Next Room… Recent Off Broadway: Travels With My Aunt, 10 Out Of 12, A Month In The Country, The Lady From Dubuque, The Little Foxes, The Temperamentals. Films: Burn Country, Strange Culture, Eternal Sunshine…, Degas and The Dancer (titlerole, HBO), title role in Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool trilogy. He has guest starred on many televisionseries and has received Drama Desk and Callaway Awards; Drama League and Gemininominations.

About Theatre for a New Audience

Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is a modern classic theatre. It produces Shakespeare alongside other major authors from the world repertoire, such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond, Adrienne Kennedy, Richard Nelson, Wallace Shawn and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. TFANA has played Off- and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.

In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, TFANA was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Darko Tresnjak and starring F. Murray Abraham. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour.

After 34 years of being itinerant and playing mostly in Manhattan, Theatre for a New Audience moved to Brooklyn and opened its first permanent home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in October 2013. Built by The City of New York in partnership with Theatre for a New Audience, and located in the Brooklyn Cultural District, Polonsky Shakespeare Center was designed by Hugh Hardy and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture with theatre consultants Akustiks, Milton Glaser, Jean-Guy Lecat, and Theatre Projects. Housed inside the building are the Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage (299 seats)—the first stage built for Shakespeare and classical drama in New York City since Lincoln Center's 1965 Vivian Beaumont—and the Theodore C. Rogers Studio (50 seats).

TFANA’s productions have been honored with Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background.

Theatre for a New Audience created and runs the largest in-depth program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce students to Shakespeare, and has served nearly 129,000 students since the program began in 1984. TFANA’s New Deal ticket program is one of the lowest reserved ticket prices for youth in the city: $20 for any show, any time for those 30 years old and under or for full-time students of any age.