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CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY’S TWELFTH NIGHT DIRECTED BY ETHAN MCSWEENY

Washington, D.C.—Continuing its 2017–2018 Season, Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) presents Twelfth Night.  Directed by internationally acclaimed director Ethan McSweeny and featuring Antoinette Robinson (previously announced) as Viola and Tony Award-nominee Hannah Yelland as Olivia, Shakespeare’s comic tale of unrequited love will run at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from November 14–December 20, 2017.

Stranded on the coast of IIIyria and separated from her brother, the quick-witted Viola assumes the disguise of a page boy for Duke Orsino and finds herself at the center of an explosive love triangle in which identity, passion and gender all threaten to come undone. Bursting with vitality and romance, Twelfth Night gives us one of Shakespeare’s most remarkable heroines matching wits with a host of captivating characters—from the love-struck Olivia to the puritanical Malvolio.

“I’m drawn to the story of Twelfth Night for a number of reasons and I’m excited to take a contemporary look at the mad, mad world of the play,” said director Ethan McSweeny.  “I love how the play explores just how far love—and one-sided love—can make people go. Everyone in the play is in love with someone unattainable—which makes for a beautiful paean to impossible love and the endless complications of the human heart.”

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome Ethan back to STC,” said STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn.  “His ability to bring Shakespeare’s text to life on stage is wonderful to watch and I’m excited to see how he stages his production at the Harman.”

THE DIRECTOR

Affiliated Artist Ethan McSweeny has directed STC productions of The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing, which were all brought back for STC’s Free For All festival. He also directed The Merchant of Venice, Ion, Major Barbara and The Persians, as well as the Harman Center Opening Gala, and served as Associate Director from 1993 to 1997. In April 2016, he brought his celebrated STC production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the Macao Arts Festival in China. His Broadway credits include John Grisham’s A Time To Kill and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, Tony Award nomination), and his Off-Broadway credits include John Logan’s Never The Sinner (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards), 100 Saints You Should Know (Top Ten: Entertainment Weekly and Time Out magazines), 1001 (Top Ten: Time Out), Rx (world premiere), Sabina and The Persians for the National Actors Theatre. McSweeny has worked abroad at Dublin’s Gate Theatre where he received the Irish Times Award for Streetcar Named Desire, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and at regional theatres throughout the United States including Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Center Stage, the Guthrie Theater, the Goodman, the Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre Company and South Coast Repertory, among others. He has served as Co-Artistic Director of Chautauqua Theater Company, Associate Director of the National Actors Theatre, Resident Director at New Dramatists and Associate Artistic Director of the George Street Playhouse. McSweeny is a member of the Executive Board of SDC, the national labor union for directors and choreographers.

THE CAST

Acclaimed actress Antoinette Robinson makes her STC debut as Viola. She recently appeared in Timon of Athens at the Folger Theatre, where she also played the role of Celia in As You Like It. Her Off-Broadway credits include As You Like It at New York Classical Theatre and Sir Patient Fancy, The Winter’s Tale and The Taming of the Shrew at The Queens Company.

Tony Award-nominee Hannah Yelland (Olivia) returns to STC after appearing in the Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale (mainstage and 2014 Free For All).  She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress for her role as Laura in the Broadway production of Brief Encounter, which appeared at STC in the 2013–2014 Season as a visiting production. REGIONAL: Arena Stage: Intelligence (Valerie Plame Wilson); Studio Theatre: Moment; McCarter Theatre Center: The Winter’s Tale; A.C.T./Guthrie Theater/St. Ann’s Warehouse/Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Los Angeles: Brief Encounter; Spoleto Festival 2014: My Cousin Rachel. INTERNATIONAL: London West End/Chichester Festival Theatre/UK tour/Toronto: Kate Nickleby in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; West End: Daisy in Daisy Pulls it Off; Gate Theatre (Dublin): Rachel in My Cousin Rachel; Abbey Theatre (Dublin): Nora in A Doll’s House. UK TOURS: Brief EncounterMrs. Warren’s Profession (dir. Sir Peter Hall); French Without TearsBedroom FarceThe Linden Tree. FILM: Method, AKA. TELEVISION: Modern Love, Catherine Cookson’s The SecretDinotopia, Poirot: Lord Edgware DiesA Touch of FrostThe SecretAhead of the Class, Micawber, Ultimate Force, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Project, Holby City.

Bruce Dow (Sir Toby Belch) returns to STC after his celebrated roles as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (Helen Hayes Nomination) and Bottom in McSweeny’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His other local credits include “F” in Mike Bartlett’s COCK at Studio Theatre. Broadway: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music Man, Anything Goes, Jane Eyre. Stratford Festival (selected): The Tempest, starring Academy Award Winner® Christopher Plummer; The Comedy of Errors, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Guys and Dolls, The Merchant of Venice. Awards: 2 Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Toronto), Best Actor and Best Actor Musical; Toronto Theatre Critics Association Award, Best Actor; My Theatre Award, Best Ensemble, Sextet by Morris Panych. Director: The Grand Theatre; The National Arts Centre; Festival Players of Prince Edward County, and commercially in Toronto.

STC Affiliated Artist Derek Smith (Malvolio)’s productions at the Company include The Government Inspector, Much Ado About Nothing (mainstage, FFA), The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (Helen Hayes Award nomination), The School for Scandal and The Witch of Edmonton. Smith also boasts many Broadway credits including The Green Bird (Tony nomination), The Government Inspector, Timon of Athens, Jackie: An American Life, Ring Round the Moon, Getting and Spending, and several years as Scar in The Lion King. Off-Broadway: School For Scandal, ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore, Incident At Vichy, Dance of Death, The Witch of Edmonton, Sylvia (Drama League, Los Angeles Ovation awards), King John (2000 Derwint award), Dark Rapture, Cruise Control, Ten By Tennessee, The Green Bird (Obie award), The Witch of Edmonton (Calloway Award). REGIONAL: McCarter Theatre Center: The Figaro Plays; Several productions at American Repertory Theater; Center Stage; The Old Globe; Dallas Theater Center; Coconut Grove Playhouse; Pittsburgh Public Theater; La Jolla Playhouse; Alley Theatre; Portland Stage Co. FILM: Advice from a Caterpillar, The Stand-In, Jungle to Jungle, Internal Affairs, The Jew of Malta (currently at film festivals).

David Bishins (Antonio) returns to STC after appearing most recently in the Free For All production of Othello. He has also been seen at STC in The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale (Free For All), and the recent production of Macbeth. NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Clurman Theatre: The Glass House; SPF at The Public: We Declare You a Terrorist; TACT: Incident at Vichy; Lortel Theatre: Catch-22, Boys in the Band; Second Stage: Sympathetic Magic; Tectonic Theater Project: The Nest; WPA: Boys in the Band; CSC: Tower of Evil. REGIONAL: Mark Taper Forum/ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Appropriate; Barrington Stage: Much Ado about Nothing; Old Globe: Brighton Beach Memoirs / Broadway Bound, Life of Riley; Intiman Theatre: To Kill a Mockingbird; Long Wharf Theatre: A Month in the Country, Rag and Bone; Vermont Stage: True West; Wilma Theater: Arcadia; Pittsburgh Public: The Dybbuk; Hartford Stage: Reckless. FILM: A Cure for Wellness, SALT, The Adjustment Bureau, Henry’s Crime, Sorry, Haters!, The War Within, The Magic Helmet. TELEVISION: House of Cards, Homeland, Blue Bloods, Fringe, Babylon Fields (pilot), the Law & Order canon. TRAINING: The Juilliard School.

Helen Hayes Award-nominee Emily Townley (Maria) returns to STC following her role in Romeo and Juliet last season. Other regional credits include Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: HIR, The Arsonists, The Totalitarians, A Bright New Boise, Detroit, The House of Gold, Maria/Stuart, Spain, Wonder of the World, Fuddy Meers, Watbanaland; Studio Theatre: Between Riverside and Crazy, Laugh, Rock n’ Roll, Skin Tight, The Bright and Bold Design; Folger Theatre: The Tempest, The Gaming Table; Olney Theatre: Bad Dog; Signature Theatre: The Mystery of Love and Sex; Gulfshore Playhouse: The Game’s Afoot, All My Sons; Rep Stage: The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?; Washington Stage Guild: Pen, Tryst. AWARDS: Helen Hayes Outstanding Lead Actress Nominee for The Totalitarians, Helen Hayes Best Ensemble Nominee for Bad Dog. OTHER: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Company Member. Stage Guild. Helen Hayes Award nominations include Lead Actress Nominee for The Totalitarians and Best Ensemble Nominee for Bad Dog.

Bhavesh Patel (Orsino) will make his STC debut. His Broadway and Off-Broadway credits – you say credits twice here.  include Present Laughter (Roland Maule); Public Theatre: Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Duke Theseus); Lincoln Center Theatre: War Horse (Tony Award for Best Play), Haydn’s Seven Last Words (collaboration with TACT). Other New York Theater: Second Stage, Roundabout Theater, Classic Stage Company, New York Shakespeare Society, Red Bull Theater, New York Theatre Workshop. REGIONAL: Guthrie Theater, St. Louis Repertory Theater, Alliance Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Merrimack Rep Chautauqua Theatre Company, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and The O’Neil Theatre Institute. TELEVISION: Mysteries of Laura, The Good Wife, Elementary, Hostages, Blue Bloods, Believe, Made in Jersey, Person of Interest, Deception, White Collar, Damages, Gossip Girl, Lipstick Jungle. FILM: Gold, Wilding, 2 Days in New York, James White, Maiden Heist, The Weekend. EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; MFA: NYU’s Graduate Acting Program.

Jim Lichtscheidl (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: St. Ann’s Warehouse: Nice Fish (with Mark Rylance). REGIONAL: over 30 productions at the Guthrie Theater including Arms and the Man, Peer Gynt, Two Gentleman of Verona, The Pirates of Penzance, The 39 Steps, Side Man, Amadeus; Actors Theater of Louisville: Love’s Labours Lost; Portland Center Stage: The Santaland Diaries; Berkeley Repertory Theater: The Miser; American Repertory Theater: Nice Fish; American Conservatory Theater: Mr. Burns, a post-electric play; INTERNATIONAL: Harold Pinter Theater: Nice Fish (London); Tricycle Theatre: Tiny Kushner (London). FILM: A Serious Man, Best Man Down, Factotum, Hap and Ashley (upcoming). TELEVISION: In An Instant (ABC). AWARDS: Ivey Award in 2013, 2008, 2006; 2012 Best Comic Performer—StarTribune. TEACHING: University of Minnesota, Guthrie Training Program: Improvisation and Movement.

 Paul Deo, Jr. (Sebastian) NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: The Public Theater: Troilus & Cressida. REGIONAL: Baltimore Center Stage: Les Liaisons Dangereuses. TRAINING: NYU – Tisch: MFA in Acting; Wesleyan University: BFA in Acting.

Heath Saunders (Feste) NEW YORK: Broadway: The Great Comet of 1812; Off-Broadway: Union Square Theatre: Lennon: Through a Glass Onion; NYCC Encores: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. REGIONAL: American Repertory Theater: The Great Comet; Denver Center: The 12; 5th Avenue: Spamalot, Rent, Hairspray, Pirates of Penzance; Seattle Children’s: James and the Giant Peach.

Tyler Bowman (Ensemble) will make his STC debut. His regional credits include Kennedy Center: Lost in the Stars; Arena Stage: Watch on the Rhine (with Marsha Mason); Signature Theatre: Freaky Friday (Disney world premiere). FILM: Shepherd (SpookyFest DC, Grosteque-O-Vision Brazil, and Boston Underground Film Festival). TELEVISION: Let’s Move (with Michelle Obama). TRAINING: Workshops with Linda Townsend and L.A. director Tom Logan.

Matthew Deitchman (Ensemble) REGIONAL: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre: Tug Of War, Road Show, Murder For Two, Seussical, Shrek, Madagascar; Writers Theatre: Trevor, Parade, The Hunter and the Bear; Marriott Theatre-Lincolnshire: She Loves Me, Spring Awakening, October Sky; Paramount Theatre: Sweeney Todd, The Who’s Tommy; Asolo Repertory Theatre: HERO; The Hypocrites: Adding Machine, Into The Woods; Chicago Children’s Theatre: Wonderland; Door Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet; Griffin Theatre: Ragtime, Spelling Bee. TEACHING: Northwestern University: Vocal Coach. TRAINING: Northwestern University: BS in Theatre & Musical Theatre. WEB: MattDeitchman.com.

Koral Kent (Ensemble), previously The Secret Garden understudy (Mary Lennox) and 1984 at STC. REGIONAL: Twin Beach Players: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Babes in Toyland, A Christmas Carol. TELEVISION: Commercials: Duke Healthcare, Children’s National Medical Center, United States Postal ServiceTRAINING: Meghan Nicholson’s  Music Studio; Calvert School of Dance; Linda Townsend Management.

 

 

 THE DESIGNERS

The topsy-turvy world of Illyria will be created by a team of award-winning designers, many of whom have contributed to McSweeny’s celebrated productions in the past.

Scenic Designer Lee Savage worked on The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Tamburlaine, Edward II, Henry V and Richard II for STC. His New York credits include: Labyrinth: Muscles in our Toes, Sunset Baby; Women’s Project: Collapse; LCT3: All-American; Roundabout Theatre Company: The Dream of the Burning Boy, Ordinary Days; Atlantic Theater: Oohrah!; Partial Comfort: The Bereaved; Clubbed Thumb: punkplay. REGIONAL: Alliance Theatre, Asolo RepertoryTheatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theater Center, George Street Playhouse, Glimmerglass Festival, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf, Shakespeare & Co., Trinity Repertory Company, Two River Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, Washington National Opera, The Wilma Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre. AWARDS: Helen Hayes: Much Ado About Nothing; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (nomination), Richard III (nomination); Connecticut Critics Circle (The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow). OTHER: with Ethan McSweeny: The Gate: A Streetcar Named Desire; Primary Stages: Rx; Center Stage: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Old Globe: In This Corner; Chautauqua Theater Company: A Raisin in the Sun, Fifty Ways, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Death of a Salesman, The Glass Menagerie and The Just.

 Costume Designer and STC Affiliated Artist Jennifer Moeller has worked on STC productions of The Tempest (mainstage, 2016 Free For All), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (mainstage, 2015 Free For All), Julius Caesar (mainstage, 2011 Free For All),The Merchant of Venice, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Tamburlaine, Richard III. NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Shakespeare in the Park: Love’s Labour’s Lost; Signature Theatre: Dance and the Railroad; Primary Stages: Happy Now?  REGIONAL: Arena Stage/Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Sweat; Washington National Opera: La Boheme; Studio Theatre: Bachelorette, Venus in Fur; Glimmerglass Opera: Candide; The Old Globe: The Last Goodbye; McCarter Theatre Center: The How and the Why; Williamstown Theatre Festival: Six Degrees of Separation; Yale Repertory Theatre: The Winter’s Tale, dance of the holy ghosts; Berkshire Theatre Festival: Waiting for Godot; Chautauqua Theater Company: The Winter’s Tale.

Lighting Designer Scott Zielinski. NEW YORK:  Broadway: Topdog/Underdog; Off-Broadway: Atlantic Theater Company, Classic Stage Company, Joseph Papp Public Theater, Lincoln Center Festival, Manhattan Theater Club, New York Theater Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theater, Theater for a New Audience, among others.  REGIONAL:  Numerous throughout the U.S.  INTERNATIONAL:  Productions in Adelaide, Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh, Fukuoka, Gennevilliers, Goteborg, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Linz, London, Luang Prabang, Lyon, Melbourne, Orleans, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Reykjavik, Rotterdam, Singapore, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Vilnius, and Zurich.  DANCE:  American Dance Festival, Joyce Theater, Kennedy Center (all with Twyla Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Centre National de la Danse, Houston Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet.  OPERA:  Arizona Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, Gotham Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lithuanian National Opera, Minnesota Opera, Nederlandse Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Colorado, Pittsburgh Opera, San Francisco Opera, Spoleto Festival USA. Upcoming:  Julius Caesar for Theater St. Gallen (Switzerland), Jan Karski for Festival d’Avignon (France), and Miss Fortune, a new opera for Bregenzer Festspiele (Austria) and the Royal Opera House (London).

Lindsay Jones, new to STC, is a Sound Designer and Composer who has worked in theatre, film and television all over the world, including extensive Off-Broadway credits such as the Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop, as well as Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company.

Rounding out the artistic team are Casting Director Laura Stanczyk, CSA; Voice and Text Coach Lisa Beley; Assistant Director Charlie Marie McGrath; Resident Casting Director Carter C. Wooddell; Literary Manager and Dramaturg Drew Litchenberg; Production Stage Manager Christopher Michael Borg; Assistant Stage Manager Kristy Matero; and Assistant Stage Manager Teresa Wood.

STC’s Restaurant Partner for Twelfth Night is Carmine’s.

 ABOUT THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is the nation’s leading premier classical theatre company. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation’s capital. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative productions inspire dialogue that connects classic works to the modern human experience. The Company focuses on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced in order to preserve and promote classic theatre—ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes—for all audiences. A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and adult acting classes to accessible community programming like play-relevant discussion series and the Free for All. For the past 25 years the Free For All program has offered an annual remount of a popular production completely free of charge to all audience members. Located in downtown Washington, D.C., STC performs in two theatres, the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre and the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall. In addition to STC productions appearing year-round, these spaces also accommodate presentations from outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. The Company has been a fixture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood since 1992.

 

 

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