David Stone
Shakespeare, National Portrait Gallery London
Shakespeare, National Portrait Gallery London

Taking the role of Camillo in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Roosevelt Islander Michael Rogers continues an acting career nurtured early by legendary writer, actor and director Alice Childress. Childress spent her last years on Roosevelt Island as a community pioneer, continuing to work while setting up our first library in Westview. Multiple traditions are advanced.

As Rogers explained at the unveiling of a plaque honoring Alice Childress in a new home near the Meditation Steps, he first visited Roosevelt Island at Childress's invitation. She was already a legend, having won an Obie Award for her play Trouble In Mind in 1956. (RIOC produced and Rogers directed a fresh version in the Howe Theatre last fall.) Childress is frequently mentioned as the first African-American woman to win an Obie as a writer. She was, in fact, the first woman to win it, period.

In the years since being mentored by Childress, Rogers has appeared in movies, The Mosquito Coast with Harrison Ford, and on Broadway in August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone. The Winter's Tale marks his eighth appearance with the Theatre for a New Audience.

About the show's director Arin Arbus, the New York Times wrote, “What I love about Ms. Arbus: It’s like having a dream teacher as you navigate difficult classics, one who leads you into insights without pushing.”

"In The Winter's Tale," adds TAFANA's summary, "a jealous King Leontes accuses his Queen Hermione of infidelity. But unlike Othello, which ends in tragic deaths, in The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare invented a new form -- half-tragedy, half-comedy, its two parts divided by sixteen years. There is metamorphosis. Spring follows Winter; a ferocious bear, song, dance, and comedy follow tragedy; and then there is a miracle: a statue comes alive. Can there be forgiveness for terrible crimes and misogyny? Can a shattered marriage and family be healed? Can there be redemption? Only Shakespeare could make a story as fantastically eventful into cohesive, soul-stirring drama."

Rogers plays Camillo, a Sicilian nobleman who bravely defies a murderous order from King Leontes in an effort to save Queen Hermione's life. By play's end, his honorable behavior pays off in a happy ending that needs and gets a rewarding twist.

The Winter's Tale is set to run from March 13th until April 15th at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, just a block from the Atlantic Terminal, with numerous options for public transit as well as parking if you prefer to drive.

Get all the details here.