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Patti LuPone, Phylicia Rashad, Richard Thomas at D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre Co.

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Tony®-winners Patti LuPone and Phylicia Rashad, and Emmy®-winner Richard Thomas will join Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Michael Kahn for separate talks in its Classic Conversations series in February and March.

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Each of the three actors will talk with Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) about all aspects of classical theatre, from its influence on their respective acting and careers, to the importance of classical theatre in today’s society. The STC has its own Tony, the 2012 Regional Theatre Award.

A few words about the conversations:

Feb. 17, STC's Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street, N.W.

"Patti LuPone is one of the great figures in today’s theatre, performing not only in musicals from 'Evita' to 'Gypsy', but as a stalwart in dramatic roles including (David) Mamet's 'The Anarchist'," Kahn says.

LuPone "generates more raw excitement than any other performer on the Broadway and cabaret axis," says "The New York Times". Its bestseller list includes "Patti LuPone: A Memoir".

Her appearances range from her fourth solo concert at Carnegie Hall last November, to TV shows FX's "American Horror Story: Coven", and soon, as a fictionalized version of herself in the HBO series "Girls".

March 9, STC's Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th Street N.W.

"While many people were introduced to Phylicia through her long-running role as mother and wife on 'The Cosby Show', she has distinguished herself in recent years by superb performances in Shakespeare and in some of the most iconic roles in modern American theatre, including Violet in 'August, Osage County'," Kahn notes.

Rashad also directed August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning play "Fences" last December at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven. In 2004, she became the first African American woman to win a Tony for Best Actress in a Play, in Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun". Rashad has appeared on and off Broadway also in musicals including "Jelly's Last Jam" and "Dreamgirls". (Will she be asked about her famous sister, choreographer Debbie Allen?)

Rashad is also respected in the academic world -- she's the first person selected for the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at New York's Fordham University (his alma mater).

Rashad graduated magna cum laude from Washington's Howard University.

March 31, Lansburgh Theatre

"Richard’s performance in 'Richard II' (1993) was a high mark in STC's history," Kahn says. "I am looking forward to talking to him about his experience performing in a myriad of classical roles."

Thomas is still best known for the long-running TV series "The Waltons", and won an Emmy for Best Actor in a dramatic series. His classical roles include Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People" in 2012, and Mamet's "Race", 2009-2010, both on Broadway -- where little Richard debuted at age 7.

Thomas' decades of stage roles prompted New York's "Newsday" to term him "one of the leading classical actors of his generation."

Thomas will star as President Jimmy Carter in Arena Stage's March 21 world premiere of "Camp David", by Pulitzer-winning playwright Lawrence Wright. The play is about the Camp David Middle East Peace Accords, forged at the Presidential retreat by President Carter, Israel's Menachem Begin, and Egypt's Anwar Sadat. Begin and Sadat were awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for the landmark treaty. (President Carter was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for accomplishments including the Camp David Accords and other treaties, and for "championing human rights throughout the world.")

Previous Classic Conversations have been held with Stacy Keach (now in rehearsals for STC’s repertory productions of "Henry IV, Part 1" and "Henry IV, Part 2", directed by Kahn), as well as Kevin Kline, Christopher Plummer, and Patrick Stewart.

Stewart told this classic during his Conversation: he auditioned for the "Star Trek" role of Captain Picard while "wearing a toupee and speaking in a French accent."

Michael Kahn is also the founder of the Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University, and was Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division at Juilliard. For half a century, Kahn's work has been seen by audiences across the country and the world.

Tickets for each Conversation start at $15. Buy all three classic conversations, and get a $5 discount on each ticket.

Surely these actors' talks, measure for measure, will go as you like it, and have nothing to do with what Shakespeare wrote in "Henry IV, Part 2":

all are banish’d till their conversations
Appear more wise and modest to the world.

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