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Brustein’s ‘The Last Will’ to open in April off-Broadway

“The Last Will,’’ the final play in Robert Brustein’s Shakespeare trilogy, will open off-Broadway April 17 in a production by Abingdon Theatre Company, to be directed by Austin Pendleton. The play will close in New York May 5, then travel to a festival in China.

The drama, in which a mortally ill William Shakespeare loses his grip on reality and accuses his long-neglected wife, the former Anne Hathaway, of betraying him with his brother, premiered last month at the Modern Theatre in Boston in a coproduction by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Suffolk University, directed by Steven Maler.

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There will be several casting changes for the production in the June Havoc Theatre, where previews are slated to begin April 5. Peter Cameron will play Shakespeare and Stephanie Roth Haberle will portray Anne, roles played by Allyn Burrows and Brooke Adams in Boston. The part of Shakespeare’s younger daughter, Judith, played by Stacy Fischer in Boston, will be played by Christianna Nelson in New York. Merritt Janson will reprise her role as Susanna, Shakespeare’s older daughter, while Jeremiah Kissel will again play the actor Richard Burbage.

Abingdon Theatre Company will take “The Last Will’’ to the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, May 15-18. Brustein is the festival’s honorary chairman.

In 2008, Abingdon Theatre Company presented the New York premiere of “The English Channel,’’ the first play in Brustein’s trilogy.

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.
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