Ken Ludwig's Comic Take On Ancient Tale of Robin Hood

The cast of "Sherwood" at Cleveland Play House [photo: Roger Mastroianni]
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Robin Hood has made great fodder for storytelling for centuries. 

The English folk legend fist was the hero of a 15th-century ballad. He then commanded a 19th-century childrens book before starring in the 20th-century silver-screen classic. 

Zack Powell as Robin Hood [photo: Roger Mastroianni]

Now Robin of Loxley and his Merry Men are onstage in a new comedy from the pen of Ken Ludwig. 

"Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood" is his latest production at Cleveland Play House, where Ludwig has a long history of staging comic plays like "Lend Me a Tenor," "Moon Over Buffalo" and, more recently, "Baskerville."

Zack Powell as Robin Hood dueling with Josh Innerst as Sir Guy of Gisbourne [photo: Roger Mastrianni]

Ludwig has been a fan of the story of Robin Hood since he was a boy and has long wanted to write a play about the man who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

"He really in his heart of hearts believes that we need to do something to level the playing field and give everyone a chance.  That's what the ballad of Robin Hood is all about," Ludwig said.

Josh Innerst as Sir Guy of Gisbourne, Price Waldman as Prince John, Amy Blackman as Maid Marian and Zack Powell as Robin Hood [photo: Roger Mastroianni]

As a comic playwright, Ludwig saw a lot of potential for humor in Robin Hood's lively and amusing story.

"At heart it's a story about a young man who enters a band of thieves to do the right thing. So it's always had a very rollicking aspect to it, and I've tried to address that very much," he said.

Andrea Goss as Deorwynn, Jonah D. Winston as Little John, Amy Blackman as Maid Marian and Zack Powell as Robin Hood [photo: Roger Mastroianni]

Ludwig considers Cleveland Play House one of the greatest venues in the United States.

"I love the quality of the theater itself, with the renovations, it's so gorgeous, it's a perfect jewel of a theater," he said.

Zack Powell as Robin Hood and Amy Blackman as Maid Marian [photo: Roger Mastroianni]

During his research into the lore of Robin Hood, Ludwig discovered new depth in the characters and the story that he didn't recognize as a boy reading it.

"Because I explored it from a 21st-century viewpoint and made it about helping the poor... even more than it was from the beginning, I was able to find new colors in it," he said.

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