Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Announces Faran Tahir in the title role
Of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in next summer’s
Free Shakespeare on the Common
With Joanne Kelly as Lady Macbeth
Boston, MA – Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) and Steven Maler, Artistic Director, are very pleased to announce that stage and film actor Faran Tahir will return to CSC next summer to play the title role of Shakespeare’s Macbeth on the Boston Common. Faran received enthusiastic media and audience reception playing the title role of Richard III on the CSC stage in 2019 and has recently completed the much-acclaimed run of The Kite Runner on Broadway.
The role of Lady Macbeth will be performed by celebrated stage, TV, and film actor Joanne Kelly in her CSC debut, previously seen in Boston as Inge Morath in Fall at the Huntington Theatre. She recently starred in the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck set-in-Boston television show City on a Hill.
Additional casting and creative team will be announced at a later date.
Steven Maler commented: “CSC has a legacy of bringing extraordinary performers – from our community and beyond – to our stage on the Common. It is so thrilling to be collaborating once again with Faran Tahir, who was in our first production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1996, in such a seminal role. I’m also so honored to be welcoming Joanne Kelly back to Boston to take on the iconic role of Lady Macbeth. Her extensive body of work includes theatre, film, and television; but she began her career working on Shakespeare. I can’t wait to begin work on this monumental play with these two wonderful artists.”
In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, an unexpected prophecy sends Macbeth on a quest to become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and prompted to action by his wife, Macbeth’s desire for power unleashes his unbridled hunger for power. This murderous tale explores the consequences of our choices when we lose our moral compass. The production will take place on The Boston Common Stage at the Parkman Bandstand in July-August of 2023 in partnership with the City of Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods, and Boston Chief of Arts and Culture, Kara Elliott-Ortega.
Faran Tahir has a long history with CSC; in addition to Richard III (for which he earned a nomination for Elliot Norton Awards for best actor, as well as IRNE Awards best actor nomination) he played Oberon/Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the very first production of CSC in 1996, and Claudius in Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, CSC free virtual reality production of Hamlet. He was most recently seen as Baba in the Broadway production of The Kite Runner. Tahir has also worked off-Broadway at Lincoln Center and Manhattan Theatre Club and in major theaters across the United States including the A.R.T. and The Goodman Theatre. In 2012 he performed the title role of Othello at Shakespeare Theatre Company to rave reviews. He received the 2010 Male Actor of the Year award and the 2010 Elite Asian Award in Canada. Tahir’s film credits include the President in Elysium with Matt Damon and Jodi Foster, Escape Plan alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, Star Trek, and Iron Man opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. He can be seen in three upcoming movies: The Martial Artist, The Window, and Coup! Tahir’s work on television spans across all genres, with recurring roles on “Scandal,” “Prison Break,” “Once Upon a Time,” “12 Monkeys,” “American Crime,” “Satisfaction,” “Dallas,” and “Warehouse 13,” as well as over 100 guest appearances on other television shows. He was awarded a “Voices of Courage and Conscience Award” from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and was submitted by ABC network for a 2010 Emmy Award for his performance in “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tahir was born in Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. in Development Studies from University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in Theatre from Harvard University.
Joanne Kelly is from Bay D’Espoir, Newfoundland. Her recent television credits include Showtime’s “City on a Hill,” Apple TV+’s Emmy-nominated series “Severance,” and Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem.” Other favorite television credits include SyFy’s “Warehouse 13,” City TV’s “The Disappearance,” and “Slings and Arrows.” Film credits include Closet Monster, Runoff, Away from Everywhere, and The Bay of Love and Sorrows. She appeared onstage in Canada in Shakespeare by the Sea’s productions of Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Measure for Measure, HurlyBurly Theatre Company’s Macbeth, Same Plan Co-op’s Seven Stories, Castawayhorse Productions’ Oleanna, QED Theatre Co-op and Red One Theatre Collective’s Proof, and The Dynasty Collective’s House of Yes.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), best known for its annual free performances on the Boston Common, is a non-profit theater organization founded in 1996, dedicated to artistic excellence, accessibility, and education. CSC’s Free Shakespeare on the Common has served over one million audience members over its 26-year history and has become a beloved summer tradition enjoyed by as many as 50,000 people annually. After a hiatus in 2020 because of the pandemic, CSC presented The Tempest (with John Douglas Thompson as Prospero) to great acclaim on the Boston Common in the summer of 2021, and Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, in the summer of 2022.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company also runs the CSC Academy, which encompasses its training and education programs including Stage2, a program for middle and high school students and educators; the Apprentice Program, CSC’s intensive Shakespeare-focused summer training program for early-career actors; and the CSC2 Company. For more information visit commshakes.org.