‘The Lion in Winter’ Roars onto Cape May Stage

“The Lion In Winter” by James Goldman reigns over Cape May Stage starting Aug. 8. As a historical fiction, this modern classic pits Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine after a decade of imprisonment for her part in a rebellion against her husband King Henry II of England. Eleanor arrives at court during a Christmas furlough and proceeds to scheme to challenge the King’s authority and his choice of heir to the throne.

Playing King Henry II – the manipulative aging yet vigorous King of England – is Roy Steinberg. Steinberg has played the title roles in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” “King Lear” and “Richard III.” He has performed in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet” and “Julius Caesar” (directed by Alvin Epstein of the Guthrie Theatre). He has been seen at Cape May Stage in “Barefoot in the Park,” “Lend Me A Tenor” and “Red.”  Roy Steinberg is also a director, teacher and producer, with four Emmy nominations and numerous awards.

Making her Cape May Stage debut playing Alais Capet – the sister of Prince Philip Capet, raised by Eleanor, mistress to Henry and contracted to marry Richard – is Amanda Forstrom.  Her Off-Broadway credits include “Julius Caesar” and “Color Between The Lines.” Her Regional credits include “Tartuffe,” “Timon of Athens” and “Julius Caesar.”

Playing Richard Lionheart – the oldest of the three sons of Henry and Eleanor, and his mother’s choice for the throne – is Tyler Miles. Tyler was born and raised in Portland, Ore. and recently finished an M.A. at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Classical Acting, after which he relocated to New York to pursue acting full time. Tyler’s television credits include “Grimm” (NBC) and “Camp Abercorn” (Pilot).

Playing John – the youngest of the three sons of Henry and Eleanor, a pimply and an immature boy but his father’s choice for the crown – is Isaac Josephthal. Isaac’s recent stage credits include “Public Enemy,” “The Ugly One” and the American premiere of Lars Von Trier’s “Dogville.” Isaac will be rejoining “Caesar” in 2019 when it tours the states.

Playing Geoffrey – the middle son of Henry and Eleanor and the most cerebral of the three boys – is Aaron Kitchin. Aaron is an actor, writer and producer. He has worked extensively in regional theatre at the likes of Capital Stage, Sacramento Theatre Company, Jewish Circle Theatre and the New Conservatory Theatre Center. He is a proud member of AEA.

Playing Eleanor of Aquitaine – a strong and powerful woman in her own right, the wife of Henry II and mother of Richard, Geoffrey and John – is Marlena Lustik. Marlena is no stranger to Cape May Stage. In previous seasons, she has played Mrs. Banks in “Barefoot in the Park,” Mrs. Gottlieb in “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” Silda in “Other Desert Cities,” Julia in “Lend Me a Tenor,” Berthe in “Boeing Boeing,” Lillian in “I Hate Hamlet” and Ouiser in “Steel Magnolias.” She has done numerous commercials and was nominated for a CLIO. Her television and film credits include “Rodeo Red and the Runaway,” “With All Deliberate Speed,” roles on “Another World” and “One Life to Live,” and the cult films “My Brother Has Problems” and “Times Square.”

Fresh out of the woods after spending the past four months hiking the Appalachian Trail is Sam Saint Ours playing Phillip Capet – the king of France. Philip is also the brother of Alais. He is young, but has already become a strong monarch, although no match for Henry. Last season, Sam performed at Cape May Stage as the narrator in “Billy Bishop Goes to War.” Sam’s other past credits include “Once” (Swing/Guitar tech), “Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure” (White Rabbit), “The Wild Party” (Guitar) and “The Aliens” (Jasper). 

Directing “The Lion in Winter” is John Gulley. John is thrilled to be back at Cape May Stage to celebrate its 30th anniversary. John Gulley was the first director to Cape May Stage with “Sea Marks” by Gardner McKay in 1989. Currently, John teaches acting and directing in the School of Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His professional credits include many productions at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Fla., where he served as the resident director.

This modern day classic that chronicles the personal and political conflicts of Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their children as they all stake their claim for the throne runs Tuesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. from Aug. 8 to Sept. 14. There will be Best-Value Preview on Aug. 8 with the Official Night Performance on Aug. 9 with an after party at Sea Salt Restaurant. We will also be offering a Best Value Night on Aug. 26 and Pay-What-You-Wish Performance on Sept. 9. For ticket information, visit capemaystage.org or call the box office at (609) 770-8311.