Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Cedar Lane Stage King Lear

By • Apr 28th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Cedar Lane Stage’s production of King Lear [MP3 4:38 2.1MB].

King Lear
Cedar Lane Stage
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Bethesda, MD
$15/$13 Seniors/$10 Students
Through May 11th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of King Lear, performed by Cedar Lane Stage in Bethesda, Maryland. We saw on performance on opening night, Friday, April 25, 2008.

Mike: King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. King Lear decides to abdicate his throne and makes other decisions that have repercussions throughout the country.

Laura: The show’s production notes talk about how Shakespeare’s England was a verbal culture whereas ours is a visual one. Therefore the decision was made not to have a big elaborate set so that you could really focus on the words of the various characters. They had a few props, such as their swords, but not a big fancy castle set, which was fine. It forced you to focus on the words which I had a hard time doing because for most of the play I did not have a clue what was going on

Mike: This was a complex show and because there were little visual cues to help you figure out what was going on, you had to pay very close attention. I had a lot of trouble with the old English Shakespeare.

Laura: I found myself sitting and trying to translate the speeches into modern day language. This was difficult because some of the words just did not connect.

Mike: By the time I would figure out what they were talking about, they had moved on. A huge problem with this show was, if you are not familiar with Shakespeare or you have not studied it or read the play before, you will probably be confused and a little bored with this production.

Laura: King Lear was played by Louis Pangaro. I do think he had a lot of emotion. However his emotions came across as yelling for most of the show. His character was pretty intense.

Mike: I did not feel that Pangaro’s King Lear had enough nuance to him. It seemed like it was a fairly constant emotion throughout the entire show.

Laura: Another person that I thought did have a lot of emotion and nuance in his speech was Edgar, played by Christopher Tully. He had some intense scenes and soliloquies. For example when he came out disguised as a crazy person.

Mike: I can see why actors want to do Shakespeare. The roles really are juicy. Christopher Tully had the juiciest role as Edgar/Tom the madman. I really liked those scenes.

Laura: In this production of King Lear you did have lighting and sound effects of a storm that happened. The lights were done by Rita Scheeler and the sound was done by Rick Sampson.

Mike: One nit picky thing I noticed was that during the storm, the lightning followed the thunder and not the other way around, which is how it should go. I like how they used the lights behind the back drop of the hall that the audience was in as well as some lights in front of the backdrop. You had a lot of very nice lightning effects of flashes of light, but the sound did not follow correctly. The thunder appeared before the lightning.

Laura: This production took place in a large room with high ceilings so that the sound was bouncing around all over the place. Therefore I had a hard time understanding people. The sisters for instance, when they were facing away from me, their words were all muffled.

Mike: Because the production takes place on a stage that is in the round, often people would be facing away from you and I could not hear them at all. A couple times the performers are right in front of you and blocking parts of the stage due to the fact that you are right on the stage. There were a few times when I could not take in the action on the stage. for example, the closing scene, when Cordelia and King Lear came in. I could not see them for about half of that scene.

Laura: King Lear is playing through Sunday May 11, at the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church in Bethesda, Maryland. Friday and Saturdays at 8pm. A Sunday matinee on the 4th and the 11th at 3 pm. Also a Thursday pay-what-you-can performance on the 8th at at 8 pm. The show lasted three hours and twenty minutes with one intermission.

Mike: We’d definitely like to hear your thoughts on this show once you’ve seen it. Simply leave a comment on our website. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with what’s happening in community theater in the DC region.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • King Lear: Louis Pangaro
  • The Duke of Cornwall: Jeffrey Wendel
  • The Duke of Albany: Bret Estey
  • Goneril: Jaki Demerest
  • Regan: Kelli Biggs
  • Cordelia: Sherry Berg
  • The Earl of Kent: Dan Guy
  • The Earl of Gloucester: Tom Witherspoon
  • The King of France: David Gorsline
  • The Duke of Burgundy: Michael Platt
  • Edmund: Nello DeBlasto
  • Edgar: Christopher Tully
  • Oswald: Erik Henry
  • The Fool: David Dieudonne


  • Producers: Leah Mazade, Ken Cohen
  • Director: Ed Starr
  • Assistant Director: Dick Messalle
  • Stage Manager: Emily Hauff
  • Set: Anna Britton
  • Lights: Rita Scheller
  • Sound: Nick Sampson
  • Costumes: Sandy Eggleston
  • Props: Jaki Demerest, Leah Mazade, Dick Messalle
  • Publicity: Leah Mazade, Dick Messalle, Andrew Huff
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