Katy Sullivan will play Shakespeare’s “crook-backed” king in what is believed to be the first major U.S. production of Richard III to feature a woman with a disability in the title role.
The Tony Award-nominated actor, Paralympic champion and bilateral above-knee amputee will lead the company of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater production, directed by the company’s artistic director Edward Hall. The production will run at the Courtyard Theatre from February 2 to March 3, 2024.
In 2022, Sullivan became the first actress who is an amputee to perform on Broadway, in a production of Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Cost of Living. Sullivan was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance. In addition to her work in theater, Sullivan is a four-time 100-meter U.S. Track and Field Champion and competed in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, setting a new American record and finishing sixth in the world.
In Richard III, a divided kingdom is fertile ground for the charismatic and unscrupulous Richard to seize power and exact revenge. No one is safe from his tyranny. Full of scathing dark comedy and high-stakes family drama, it’s a tale that grapples with violence, power, and the gray area between good and evil.
Hall directed Sullivan in the U.K. premiere of Cost of Living. “Within the first week of working with Katy, I knew I wanted to explore Richard III with her,” he said in a statement. “She is an extraordinarily brilliant actress who is keen to get to the most vulnerable places in her characters.”
“It’s gonna be BLOODY fun, y’all!” Sullivan said on Instagram.
The cast of Richard III also includes Scott Aiello, Debo Balogun, Mark Bedard, Anatasha Blakely, Yao Dogbe, Sean Fortunato, Erik Hellman, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Ora Jones, Mo Shipley, Demetrios Troy and Jessica Dean Turner.