Bedlam was founded in 2012, presenting George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan on a shoestring budget with only four actors playing over 25 characters. The show received instant recognition and was extended four times. Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal was an early admirer, describing it as “Thrilling! An unforgettable show! The most exciting George Bernard Shaw revival I’ve ever seen, bar none.”
In 2013, Bedlam produced William Shakespeare’s Hamlet with the same four actors, again playing over 25 characters amongst themselves. Hamlet ran in repertory with Saint Joan and both productions were then transferred for a commercial Off-Broadway run at The Lynn Redgrave Theater in the winter of 2013/2014. Ben Brantley, the head theatre critic of The New York Times wrote, “Every member of Bedlam hears voices. Not of God and his saints, but of Shaw (who probably would have said that’s the same thing) and Shakespeare. And I mean they believe they hear these playwrights, in all their sonority, telling them what to do…anyone who listens to the eminently sane and persuasive voices of Bedlam is destined to become a convert.”
During the 2014 and 2015 seasons Bedlam produced two Off Broadway remounts, two World Premieres, one American Premiere and two different productions of Twelfth Night running in repertory with one another, all receiving additional acclaim. Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, adapted by Bedlam company member, Kate Hamill and directed by Artistic Director Eric Tucker has been extended three times and is currently running through November 20th, 2016. Another major hit with the critics, Peter Hempstead of Theatermania explained it best: “This hysterical, endlessly inventive production captures Austen’s penchant for satire while inducing laughs with an ever-changing set and 10 brilliant actors who never seem to stop moving. It’s one of the funniest, most engaging productions now running off-Broadway.”
Bedlam’s shows have been noted as Ben Brantley’s “Critics’ Picks” for The New York Times six times, noted on The New York Times and New York Magazine’s “Top Ten Best Show Lists” two times, as well as those of The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine respectively. The Wall Street Journal also noted Eric Tucker as “Director of the Year” in 2014. Bedlam has won two Irne Awards, two Off Broadway Alliance Awards and an Obie Grant. Bedlam has also been nominated for two Lucille Lortel awards, a Drama League award, and four Elliot Norton awards, winning for Best Visiting Production and Best Ensemble for Saint Joan.
Photo credit: Ashley Garrett