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Richard II


Streamed on WNYC.org; Now available for listening
Premiered on July 13-July 16 at 8:00PM EST

WNYC In Collaboration with The Public Present
Free Shakespeare on the Radio
Production of
Brought to you in a serialized broadcast in four parts nightly from Monday, July 13 through Thursday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST on WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 for listeners in the New York tri-state area.

By William Shakespeare
Conceived for the Radio and Directed by Saheem Ali

Produced for radio by Emily Botein (Executive Producer), Matt Collette (Executive Producer), Elliott Forrest (Executive Producer), Isaac Jones (Technical Producer/Sound Designer) and Sarah Sandbach (Executive Producer)


Join WNYC and The Public Theater as we bring Free Shakespeare in the Park to the airwaves with William Shakespeare’s RICHARD II. Brought to you in a serialized radio broadcast over four nights, listen as the last of the divinely anointed monarchs descends and loses it all. When King Richard banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and deprives him of his inheritance, he unwittingly creates an enemy who will ultimately force him from the throne. One of the Bard’s only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity. Directed by Saheem Ali, experience this beautiful and cutting play in an exciting serialized radio format from wherever you are.

“A fractured society. A man wrongfully murdered. The palpable threat of violence and revenge against a broken system. Revolution and regime change. This was Shakespeare’s backdrop for Richard II. I’m exceptionally proud of this production, recorded for public radio with a predominantly BIPOC ensemble, led by the extraordinary André Holland,” said director Saheem Ali. “It’s my hope that listening to Shakespeare’s words, broadcast in the midst of a pandemic and an uprising, will have powerful resonance in our world.”

In support of the fight against racism and inequality and in recognition of the unspeakable violence against Black communities, The Public Theater and the artists of RICHARD II dedicate this production to the Black Lives Matter Movement. There are a number of organizations and communities who support Black communities on the front lines. We encourage you to make a contribution to support their efforts.

Premiered on July 13-July 16 at 8:00PM EST


Image of Barzin Akhavan

Barzin Akhavan

(Salisbury/Marshall). Broadway: Network. NYC: Macbeth (CSC), Hamlet (Waterwell). International tour: Aftermath (Arktype). Regional: Pericles (Guthrie, Folger), Arabian Nights (Arena, Berkeley Rep, Lookingglass), A Thousand Splendid Suns (World Premiere; ACT, Theatre of Calagary), Shakespeare in Love (Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse), The Kite Runner (World Premiere; San Jose Rep, Arizona Theatre Company), Twelfth Night (Seattle Rep), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Lake Take Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Film/TV: Joyful, "The Blacklist," "Smash," "Law & Order: CI."

Image of Sean Carvajal

Sean Carvajal

(Gardner’s Man/Surrey). Broadway: King Lear. Off-Broadway: Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic Theater); Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Signature Theater; Lucille Lortel Lead Actor, Obie, Drama Desk, Clarence Derwent Awards); Seven Spots on the Sun (Sol Project/Rattlestick); Queen Latina and Her Power Posse (Cherry Lane); Ghetto Babylon (59E59), Lissabon (La MaMa); Holy Land (HERE Arts Center). Regional: Water by The Spoonful (Mark Taper Forum), Seven Spots on the Sun (Cincinnati Playhouse), Between Riverside and Crazy (Studio Theater). TV: “Crashing” (HBO). Member of The Actors Center.

Image of Michael Bradley Cohen

Michael Bradley Cohen

(Bushy). The Public: Troilus and Cressida, Twelfth Night, and Henry V. Off-Broadway: Roadkill at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Regional: Herr Cohen in The Underpants at The Old Globe, Sherlock Holmes in The Valley of Fear at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Malcolm in Sleep No More. TV: “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Fight,” “Prodigal Son.”  Founding member of American Centaur Theater Company. Artist Fellowship at LABA: Laboratory for Jewish Culture. BA: Sarah Lawrence. MFA: NYU Tisch.

Image of Sanjit De Silva

Sanjit De Silva

(Mowbray/Exton). The Public: Troilus and Cressida, Dry Powder (Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle nominations), Macbeth, Measure for Measure. Broadway: War Horse (Tony Award, Best Play). Off-Broadway: An Ordinary Muslim (NYTW), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO). Film/TV: Farewell AmorAfter Party, The Company Men, Arranged, “New Amsterdam,” “Evil,” “Tell Me A Story,” “Blindspot,” “Time After Time,” “The Blacklist,” “High Maintenance.” MFA: NYU Graduate Acting.

Image of Biko Eisen-Martin

Biko Eisen-Martin

(Fitzwater). The Public: Coriolanus. Theater: HVSF, 59E59 Theaters, Studio Theatre, Denver Center, Folger, Crossroads, Arden Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, CATF, Gulfshore Playhouse, Olney, Marin Theatre Co., Chautauqua Theater Company, Pioneer, CSF, TheatreWorks, Campo Santo. Film/TV: Buck (Sundance), Finding Frida (upcoming), “Dietland” (AMC). BA/MAT: Brown; MFA: NTC. www.Bikoeisenmartin.com @saybiko

Image of Michael Gaston

Michael Gaston

(Northumberland) The Public: Coal Country, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Henry V, The Cripple of Inishmaan. Broadway: Lucky Guy, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Off-Broadway: Playwrights Horizons, MTC, CSC. Regional: Folger Theatre, Arena Stage, Long Wharf. Film: Spenser Confidential, Togo, A Mouthful of Air, First Reformed, Land of Steady Habits, Bridge of Spies. TV: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Leftovers,” “The Good Lord Bird,” “Emma,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Jack Ryan,” “Power,” “Law & Order: SVU.”

Image of Stephen McKinley Henderson

Stephen McKinley Henderson

(Gardener)’s Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards are for outstanding lead actor in Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adley Guirgis. He received a Tony nomination and the Richard Seff Award for his performance as Bono in the 2010 revival of Fences with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. His last Broadway appearance was in 2017 as Torvald in the replacement cast of Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 led by Julie White.

Image of André Holland

André Holland

(Richard II) starred in and co-executive produced Damien Chazelle’s “The Eddy” (Netflix). Film includes: High Flying Bird, A Wrinkle in TimeMoonlight (Academy Award, Best Picture), Selma (Academy Award nominee), 42, Miracle at St. Anna, Sugar. TV includes: “Castle Rock” (Hulu/Bad Robot), “The Knick.” Broadway includes: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (2009 revival), Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe Theater). Select theater: Jitney; The Whipping Man (MTC); All’s Well That Ends WellMeasure for MeasureMuch Ado About Nothing, As You Like It (The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park)

Image of Miriam A. Hyman

Miriam A. Hyman

(Bollingbroke) The Public: Socrates, Richard III. Off-Broadway: Three Musketeers (CTH); Tempest (La MaMa E.T.C.). Films: The Sun Is Also a Star (Warner Bros/MGM), The Laundromat (Netflix), Brittany Runs a Marathon (Amazon). TV: “The Chi,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “NCIS,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Rookie,” “Blindspot,” “The OA Part II,” “High Maintenance,” “OITNB,” “SMILF,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” EPs (as Robyn Hood): Alter Ego (2020), Truth Teller (2020), For Higher (2016). Awards: Princess Grace, Annenberg Fellow. MFA: Yale.

Image of Merritt Janson

Merritt Janson

(Scroop). The Public: Mobile Unit’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Off-Broadway: Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Tamburlaine the Great, Notes From Underground (TFANA), Coriolanus (Red Bull Theater), Built (59E59), House For Sale (Transport Group), The Last Will (Abingdon). Regional: A.R.T., Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Shakespeare Theater D.C., Denver Center, Westport, Two River, Shakespeare & Company, The Wilma, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Film/TV: Otto + Anna, Mail Order Wife, “Billions,” “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary,” “Quantico.”

Image of Elijah Jones

Elijah Jones

(Hotspur). Off-Broadway: The Rolling Stone (u/s) (Lincoln Center). Regional: The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield (Humana Festival); Macbeth, A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Airness, As You Like It (Chautauqua Theatre Company). Education: current MFA student at The Juilliard School (Group 50).

Image of Dakin Matthews

Dakin Matthews

(Gaunt). The Public: Measure for Measure, All’s Well That Ends Well. Broadway: Henry IV, A Man for All Seasons, The Best Man, Rocky, Waitress, The Audience, The Iceman Cometh, To Kill a Mockingbird. Off-Broadway: Freedomland, The Hostage, The School for Scandal. Encores: Where’s Charley, Brigadoon. Regional: over 230 stage productions. Film: 30 films, including Bridge of Spies, Lincoln, True Grit. TV: 250 appearances, including “Gilmore Girls,” “King of Queens,” “Desperate Housewives.”

Image of Jacob Ming-Trent

Jacob Ming-Trent

(Carlisle) was most recently seen on the hit HBO series “Watchmen.” He is starring in two soon-to-be-released films: Lena Waithe’s The 40-Year-Old Version and R#J, a Romeo and Juliet adaptation. He starred opposite Jay Pharoah in the Showtime series “White Famous.” A stage veteran, he has been seen in several Broadway/Off-Broadway productions, including Father Comes Home From the Wars..., in which he earned a Lortel Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Image of Maria Mukuka

Maria Mukuka

(Queen’s Lady/Servant). NY Theater: Race Free (4th St. Theatre; United Solo Theatre Festival, Theatre Row), Dramatic Circle (La MaMa). International Theater: Chief Jones (Zambia), Swaggering Braggadocio (Zambia). University Theater: Seagulls (Brooklyn College), I Will Be Gone (Brooklyn College), Uncle Vanya (Brooklyn College), A Map of Virtue (Irondale Theater), Marathon Dancing (La MaMa).

Image of Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o

(Narrator) is a Kenyan actress, producer and bestselling author. She made her feature debut in Steve McQueen’s Academy Award® winning film 12 Years a Slave, for which she received the Academy Award® for her performance as Patsey – as well as multiple accolades including the Screen Actors Guild® Award, the Critics’ Choice Award, the Independent Spirit Award, and the NAACP Award. In 2019, Nyong’o starred as dual characters, Adelaide and Red, in Jordan Peele’s Us, for which she received the Screen Actors Guild nomination, as well as NY Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. Nyong’o’s debut book Sulwe earned a #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list within the first two weeks of release, and has upheld its position on the list for 12 weeks. Upcoming, Nyong’o stars in Universal's female-driven spy thriller 355, and Born a Crime, the biopic she will produce based on Trevor Noah’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name. She is also set to reprise her role as Nakia in the sequel to Marvel’s Black Panther.

Image of Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili

(Willoughby/Abbot) is a Brooklyn-based performing artist. Her work has been produced and commissioned by Performance Space New York, Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, Abrons Arts Center, FIAF, 651 ARTS, Walker Art Center, Young Vic, and LMCC. Okpokwasili is the recipient of a 2020 Antonyo Award, a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award, and she is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

Image of Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons

(Duchess of York) The Public: A Bright Room Called Day, Miss Margarida’s Way, Peer Gynt, Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo; director of Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare on Broadway. Broadway: Miss Margarida’s Way, August: Osage County, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, The Seven Descents of Myrtle, and more. Tours: Miss Margarida’s Way, August: Osage County, The Threepenny Opera with Lotte Lenya. Film: Bonnie and Clyde; Rachel, Rachel; Watermelon Man; Diane; and more. TV: “The Conners,” “Roseanne,” “All in the Family,” and more. Regional: many. The Actors Studio. Four lifetime achievement awards, Theater Hall of Fame.

Image of Tom Pecinka

Tom Pecinka

(Aumerle). The Public: Troilus and Cressida. Off-Broadway: Timon of Athens, He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box (TFANA); The Soldier’s Tale (Carnegie Hall); Torch Song (Second Stage). Regional: Ghosts, Member of the Wedding (Williamstown); Father Comes Home From the Wars... (Yale Rep, ACT); Arcadia (Yale Rep); Cloud 9, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hartford Stage); Deathtrap, Design for Living, Cat and the Canary (Berkshire Theatre Festival); As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare on the Sound). Education: BA: Fordham University; MFA: Yale School of Drama. www.tompecinka.com

Image of Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad

(Duchess of Gloucester). The Public: A Midsummer Night’s DreamHead of Passes (Lortel Award), The StoryHelenEverybody’s Ruby. Broadway/Off-Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George, August: Osage County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Raisin in the Sun (Tony Award), Gem of the Ocean (Tony nomination), Jelly’s Last Jam, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, The Wiz, Cymbeline. Regional: Euripedes’ Medea, Blues for an Alabama Sky. Film: CreedGood Deedsfor colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. 2016 Inductee to the Theater Hall of Fame.

Image of Reza Salazar

Reza Salazar

(Welsh Captain). The Public: Mobile Unit’s The TempestOedipus El Rey. Broadway: Sweat. Off-Broadway: My Mañana Comes (Lortel Award nomination). Regional: Floyd’s by Lynn Nottage (Guthrie Theatre); Sweat (Arena Stage); The Petrol Station; In the Cypher; Mariela en el Desierto (Repertorio Español). TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Daredevil,” “The Blacklist,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: CI,” "Louie," "The Knick," "Believe.” Film: The Imperialists Are Still Alive, See Girl Run, The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz. Musician: Mobile Unit: In Transit (Joe’s Pub/NYC tour). Salazar stars in KCRW's first-ever bilingual radionovela, "Celestial Blood.”

Image of Thom Sesma

Thom Sesma

(Ross/Keeper). The Public: Cymbeline, Othello. Broadway: The Times They Are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha, Search and Destroy, Nick & Nora, Chu Chem. Off-Broadway: Unknown Soldier, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures,  ..Arturo Ui, Superhero, Awake and Sing! National Tours: The Lion King, Miss Saigon, Titanic. Regional: Antony and Cleopatra, The Mousetrap, Deathtrap, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music, Waterfall. TV: “Instinct,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Wife,” “Jessica Jones,” “Person of Interest.”

Image of Sathya Sridharan

Sathya Sridharan

(Bagot). The Public: Mobile Unit’s The Winter’s Tale. Off-Broadway: Wives (Playwright’s Horizons), An Ordinary Muslim (NYTW), India Pale Ale (MTC), Hamlet (Waterwell), Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page73), Two Mile Hollow (WP). Regional: Our Town (Portland Center Stage), Hapgood (Williamstown). Film: Minor Premise, Black and White and Red All Over, Bikini Moon, All The Little Things We Kill, COUP! TV: “Succession” (HBO), “Two Sentence Horror Stories” (CW), “Blindspot” (NBC), “Elementary” (CBS). Princess Grace Award for Acting. MFA: NYU.

Image of John Douglas Thompson

John Douglas Thompson

(York). The Public: Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida. Broadway: JitneyKing Lear, Carousel, A Time to Kill. Off-Broadway: Tamburlaine, Othello, The Iceman Cometh, Satchmo at the Waldorf, The Emperor Jones. TV: “Bull,” “Person of Interest,” “Madam Secretary.” Film: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Wolves, Glass Chin. Tony nomination, Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel, and OCC Awards.

Image of Claire van der Boom

Claire van der Boom

(Queen). Off-Broadway: Heartless, An Early History of Fire. LA: The Trouble With Where We Come From. Melbourne Theatre Company: Shakespeare in Love, Double Indemnity. Film: Chronic, Broke, Battlecreek, 5 Flights Up, Love is Now, Red Hill, The Square, Palm Beach. TV: “The Pacific,” “Masters of Sex,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Game of Silence,” “Constantine,” “Pulse,” “Rush,” “Sisters of War,” “Love My Way.” Awards: Logie Award winner (Australian Emmy). NIDA Graduate.

Image of Natalie Woolams-Torres

Natalie Woolams-Torres

(Green). The Public: Tiny Beautiful Things, Mobile Unit’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. Other Public credits include Shakespeare in the Park productions of Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Comedy of Errors. Novenas for a Lost Hospital at the Rattlestick. Recent film credits include Farewell directed by Chris Chalk. TV: “Difficult People,” HBO’s “Room 104,” and HBO’s “High Maintenance.” She attended SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film.

Image of Ja’Siah Young

Ja’Siah Young

(Groom) is an energetic, fun, loving, and genuinely generous child actor, best known for his role of Dion in the Netflix original series “Raising Dion.” Young decided he wanted to pursue the world of acting at the tender age of three, and has been putting his all into it ever since! He is definitely wise beyond his years and hardworking! He’s never met a challenge he wasn’t open to learning from.


William Shakespeare
Saheem Ali
Conceiver for Radio & Director
Michael Thurber
Arabella Powell
Production Stage Manager
Raz Golden
Assistant Director/Script Supervisor