SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES CASTING FOR BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS’ EVERYBODY, DIRECTED BY WILL DAVIS

August 27, 2019, Washington, D.C.: Shakespeare Theatre Company will begin its 2019/20 Season with the 2018 Pulitzer Prize Finalist EVERYBODY by Obie Award-winner, MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and Washington, D.C.-native Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon, Gloria). This “fun and breezy” (Broadway World) comedy about life (and death) will play at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW) from October 15 through November 17, 2019.

The inspiration for Everybody is the medieval morality play Everyman, in which Death asks the title character to prepare for the grave and afterlife. “Everyman was still performed in Shakespeare’s formative years. I’ve no doubt that he saw the play, and that it made a huge impact on him. So much of Shakespeare’s writing life begins here,” suggests Artistic Director SIMON GODWIN. “Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has taken this medieval work – with its ageless themes of how we approach life and deal with death—and created a fun, lively, and extremely contemporary fable for our moment. I wanted to welcome everybody to STC with Everybody.”

“Branden is known for his searing reconstructions of dusty plays, and here he uses some of that brilliant ability to make the irrelevant relevant again in a hyper-personal and theatrically expansive way,” explains Director WILL DAVIS, former artistic director of American Theater Company in Chicago, who is making his STC debut. Davis is well-known in D.C. for several previous productions at Olney Theatre Center including the Helen Hayes Award-winning Colossal and Helen Hayes-nominated Evita.

In the allegorical style of morality plays, most of the characters personify abstract ideas. “An actor stands up and says: ‘Hi! I’m Time!’” explains Davis. “It’s absurd and wonderful, modern and ancient in all the ways our best stories always are.” Beloved comedic actress and STC Affiliated Artist NANCY ROBINETTE (The Comedy of Errors) will join the cast as Death. AHMAD KAMAL (Richard the Third, Gloria) returns to STC to play the role of Love. CLARE CARYS O’CONNELL (A Christmas Carol) and YONATAN GEBEYEHU (I Thought I Would Die, But I Didn’t), both in their STC debuts, will play Time and God, respectively.

But in Jacob-Jenkins’ most exciting and inventive revision, the roles of most of the cast, including the titular Everybody, will be assigned each performance by a lottery system. As the show begins, the “Somebodies” line up on stage and a lottery ball assigns their role for that performance. Making their STC debut in the to-be-cast roles of “Somebody” are ALINA COLLINS MALDONADO, who recently starred in BLKS at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, AVI ROQUE who previously played the role of “Love” in California Shakespeare Theatre’s production of the play, and KELLI SIMPKINS, known as an original creator/performer of The Laramie Project. Returning STC “Somebodies” include ELAN ZAFIR (Romeo & Juliet, FFA and mainstage) and AYANA WORKMAN (Free For All Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet). By chance, luck, or fate, they may play Everybody or attributes such as Friendship, Kinship, or Beauty.

The actors must be prepared for 120 casting permutations. The chances of having the same exact configuration of actors and roles for two performances is approximately  27%, the chances of a lucky actor playing the same role twice in a row is only 4%, and the chances of one actor not playing one of the changing roles at all during the entire run is 0.0003% (so they all better be off-book!)

Shakespeare Theatre Company will offer two special lotteries to help promote the show: One lottery will allow patrons the opportunity to pay just $20 for their tickets. Access and details for this lottery will be announced in September on the show page. The second lottery is for audience members attending the show who correctly predict the evening’s cast and their corresponding roles. Winners will receive free tickets for either another unique performance of Everybody or another show in the 2019/20 season.

 “Everybody beautifully pits the sacred against the profane in just the way we want on stage,” says Davis. “Everything seems very important and at the same time nothing seems to matter, and we’re asked to reflect on that as an infinite contradiction.”

Godwin concludes: “This is a very old story told anew. This is what we do at Shakespeare Theatre Company. We remake the classics for our times.”

Tickets($35-$120) are currently on sale at http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/events/everybody-19-20/.

Everybody is generously sponsored by Michael R. Klein and Joan I. Fabry. Additional support has been provided by CoStar Group.

The production restaurant partner is Dirty Habit.

ABOUT THE CAST

ALINA COLLINS MALDONADO
Somebody
NYC: Where Words Once Were (Lincoln Center) REGIONAL: BLKS (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) King John (Folger Theatre) world premieres of Digging Up Dessa, Where Words Once Were (The Kennedy Center TYA) Much Ado About Nothing (The Shakespeare Theatre Company) El Paso Blue, Mariela en el desierto, Los empeños de una casa (GALA Hispanic Theatre) The Smartest Girl in The World, Robin Hood, Óyeme, the beautiful (Imagination Stage) for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf (Theater Alliance) How We Got On, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Forum Theatre)  The Heidi Chronicles, Hunting and Gathering (REP Stage) The Good Counselor (1st Stage). TRAINING: BA in Theater Performance and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. www.alinacollinsmaldonado.com

YONATAN GEBEYEHU
Usher / God / Understanding
NEW YORK:  Off-Off Broadway: I Thought I Would Die, But I Didn’t (New Georges/The Tank). REGIONAL: Go. Please. Go. (Montana Rep), The Tempest (Shakespeare on the Manor), Noises Off, Romeo and Juliet (Chautauqua Theater Company), A Christmas Carol (Portland Stage Company), Revolt. She said. Revolt Again., Strange Men, Streamers, Native Son, How to Use a Knife, The Venetian Twins (UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse) TELEVISION: Elementary, Madame Secretary (CBS). TEACHING: has served on the acting faculty of Playwrights Horizons Studio/NYU Tisch School of the Arts and University of California San Diego.  TRAINING: BA in English Literature: Columbia University; MFA in Acting: University of California San Diego. WEB: Seris: 86’d (Bric Arts). yonatan-gebeyehu.com

AHMAD KAMAL
Love
STC: Richard the Third. REGIONAL: Round House Theatre: Oslo; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Gloria (Helen Hayes nomination, Best Supporting Actor, Ensemble; Helen Hayes Award, Best Play), Kiss; Signature Theatre: 4,380 Nights; Olney Theatre Center: The Invisible Hand; Mosaic Theater Company: The Return; Forum Theatre: I Call My Brothers, Love and Information, Blackberry Winter; Adventure Theatre: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp; Studio Theatre: The Hard Problem (u/s). TRAINING: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School: MA in Professional Acting; University of Virginia: BFA in Theatre.

CLARE CARYS O’CONNELL
Girl/Time
Clare Carys O’Connell is delighted to be making her STC debut at age 9. REGIONAL: Ford’s Theatre: A Christmas Carol (Want/School Girl) Fells Point Corner Theater: Jerusalem (Marky), Warner Theatre: The Nutcracker (Ensemble). The Ferberizing of Coral (Young Coral). Clare thanks her supportive family, G. Gardner Talent Management, Broadway Dreams Foundation and the entire STC team.

NANCY ROBINETTE
Death
STC: Affiliated Artist; The Comedy of Errors; The Winter’s Tale; The Government Inspector; The Heir Apparent; An Ideal Husband; Twelfth Night; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Lady Windermere’s Fan; Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2; The Rivals; The Silent Woman; The Little Foxes; Sweet Bird of Youth. NEW YORK: Broadway: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Off-Broadway: New York Theatre Workshop: Trestle at Pope Lick Creek; Roundabout Theatre Company: Give Me Your Answer, Do! REGIONAL: McCarter Theatre Center: A Christmas Carol; Old Globe: The Savannah Disputation; Arena Stage: The Heiress, Ah Wilderness!, Death of a Salesman, Well, The Women; Round House Theatre: Doll’s House 2, Better Living; Key West Playhouse: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Studio Theatre: Souvenir, Frozen, The Play About the Baby, Tribes; Signature Theatre: John, Eagle River; Theatre J: Everything Is Illuminated; Williamstown Theatre Festival: Philadelphia, Here I Come!; Folger Theatre: Mary Stuart; Scena Theatre: Mother Courage, Happy Days; Paper Mill Playhouse: The Diary of Anne Frank. FILM: Ashpet, Soldier Jack, Serial Mom. TELEVISION: Louie, Homicide, Telegrams from the Dead, The Hunley, The Day Lincoln Was Shot. AWARDS: 1998 Fox Fellow; Helen Hayes Tribute of 2018; STC Will Award (Ensemble).

AVI ROQUE
Somebody
REGIONAL: The Old Globe: Tiny Beautiful Things; Cygnet Theatre: HIR; California Shakespeare Theater: Everybody; Steppenwolf for Young Adults: The Crucible; American Theater Company: Men On Boats, We’re Gonna Be Okay. FILM: Landline, To Be With You. TELEVISION: Chicago Fire. OTHER: Web Series: Brujos, Chapstick. PERSONAL: they/them. Avi is Trans/Non-Binary. Training: California State University Fullerton: BA in Theatre Arts. AviRoque.com.

KELLI SIMPKINS
Somebody
NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: MCC: Charm; Union Square Theater: The Laramie Project. REGIONAL: About Face Theater: Bull in a China Shop, The Secretaries, The Kid Thing (Jeff Nomination), Pony; American Theater Company: We’re Gonna Be OK, Men on Boats, T., Celebrity Row; Victory Gardens: Cocked;  Goodman Theatre: Teddy Ferrara; Steppenwolf Theatre: Good Boys and True, Fair Use, One Arm;  Denver Center: The Laramie Project;  Berkeley Rep: People’s Temple, The Laramie Project;  Guthrie Theatre: People’s Temple;  La Jolla Playhouse: I Think I Like Girls, The Laramie Project. FILM: Slice, Chasing Amy, A League of Their Own; TELEVISION: Proven Innocent, Chicago Fire, Patriot, Betrayal, The Laramie Project (Emmy Nomination: Ensemble Writing), Law & Order: CI. AWARDS: 3ARTS Award. OTHER: Company Member: Tectonic Theater Project and original creator/performer of The Laramie Project; Artistic Associate: About Face Theater; Good Death: Director/co-writer of original play at WMU. TEACHING: Tectonic’s Moment Work Technique. WEB: Kam Kardashian.

AYANA WORKMAN
Somebody
STC: Hamlet (Free For All), Romeo and Juliet. NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Public Theater: Romeo and Juliet; Off-Off Broadway: Masterfool  Theatre Company: Macbeth. BFA Productions: School for Scandal, A Woman of No Importance. INTERNATIONAL: Globe Theatre (London): Julius Caesar; SNG Maribor (Maribor, Slovenia): Guernica Continuum; Bunker Stara Elektrarna (Ljubljana, Slovenia): Virtual Truth. FILM: Ophelia. TELEVISION: Person of Interest. TEACHING: Montclair Academy of Dance and Lab of Music: Drama Teacher. TRAINING: Rutgers University: BFA in Acting.

ELAN ZAFIR
Somebody
STC: Romeo & Juliet (FFA and Mainstage), Othello, Salomé (Helen Hayes Award: Ensemble, Best Play). NEW YORK: Looking Glass Theatre: Cardboard Moon; Wings Theatre: Raft of the Medusa. NATIONAL TOUR: Peter Pan. REGIONAL: Arena Stage: Junk; Folger Theatre: King John, Way of the World (w/Kristine Nielsen); Roundhouse Theatre: (Upcoming) Big Love; Ford Theatre: Twelve Angry Men, Ragtime (Helen Hayes Award, Ensemble); Mosaic Theatre: (upcoming) Eureka Day, The Vagrant Trilogy, Paper Dolls. Signature Theatre: Tender Napalm; The Welders: Happiness and Other Reasons to Die; Adventure Theatre: JUMANJI (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Production); Rep Stage: Venus in Fur; Capital Fringe: The Unaccompanied Minor and Ben & Lucille (Written by Mr. Zafir). INTERNATIONAL: Edinburgh Fringe: The Unaccompanied Minor (written by Mr. Zafir). TELEVISION: House of Cards, King of Crimes, Making of the Mob, Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, Student Bodies, Big Wolf on Campus. TEACHING: Shakespeare Theatre Company. TRAINING: Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting: MFA. Dome Professional Theatre Program: BA. WEB: www.elanzafir.net.

ABOUT THE ARTISTIC TEAM

BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS
Playwright
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a Brooklyn-based playwright, grew up in the Takoma Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and attended St. John’s College High School before his acceptance to Princeton.  His plays include Everybody (Signature Theatre; Pulitzer Prize finalist), War (world premiere, Yale Rep; LCT3), Gloria (Vineyard Theatre; Pulitzer Prize finalist), Appropriate (Signature Theatre; OBIE Award), An Octoroon (Soho Rep.; OBIE Award), and Neighbors (The Public Theater). Several of these plays were later produced at Woolly Mammoth Theatre: Appropriate (2013), An Octoroon (2017), and last year’s Helen Hayes-award winner for Outstanding Production in a Play, Gloria (2018). This fall, Yale Rep will produce the world-premiere of Jacobs-Jenkins’ new play The Girls, a contemporary adaptation of Euripides’ The Bacchae.

A Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre, his most recent honors include the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright from the London Evening Standard, a London Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwriting, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the Benjamin Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award, the Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award. He sits on the board of Soho Rep.

WILL DAVIS
Director
NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Road Show by Sondheim and Weidman for Encores! Off-Center; India Pale Ale by Jaclyn Backhaus for MTC; Bobbie Clearly by Alex Lubischer for Roundabout Underground; Charm by Philip Dawkins for MCC; Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus for Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons. DUAT by Daniel Alexander Jones for Soho Rep. REGIONAL: A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath for Long Wharf Theatre; The Carpenter by Rob Askins for The Alley Theatre; COLOSSAL by Andrew Hinderaker for Olney Theatre Center; EVITA for Olney Theatre Center, multiple productions for ATC in Chicago where Davis also served as artistic director. AWARDS: Lucille Lortel nomination for Men on Boats, Helen Hayes nomination for Evita, Helen Hayes award winner for best direction, COLOSSAL. PERSONAL: Davis is a trans identified director/choreographer focused on physically adventurous new work and old plays in new ways. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship and BAX (Brooklyn Art Exchange) artist in residence program.

ARNULFO MALDONADO 
Scenic Designer
NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Fireflies (Atlantic); Power Strip, The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater); Sugar In Our Wounds (Lortel Award, MTC); School Girls…Charm (MCC); A Strange LoopDance Nation, Men On Boats (Playwrights Horizons); Usual Girls (Roundabout). REGIONAL: Alley Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Center Stage, Center Theatre Group, Dallas Theater Center, Guthrie Theater, Humana Festival, KC Rep, Long Wharf, Old Globe, Two River Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival. TOURS: Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (UTR/International Tour); The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (BAM Next Wave/International tour).  PERSONAL: Mr. Maldonado is a Clubbed Thumb Affiliated Artist, a recipient of a Princess Grace Fabergé Theater Award, and a multiple-Henry Hewes Design nominee. MFA: NYU Tisch. ArnulfoMaldonado.com.

MELISSA NG
Costume Designer
NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: The Bitter Game (Under the Radar, Public Theater), King Philip’s Head … (Clubbed Thumb). REGIONAL: Hype Man (Actors Theatre of Louisville), The Chinese Lady (Milwaukee Rep), The Carpenter (Alley Theatre), Lettie (Victory Gardens), The Burn (Steppenwolf SYA). OTHER: Wingspace Theatrical Design, USA 829. PERSONAL: She/Her/Hers. Teaching: NYU-Playwrights Horizons Theater School. Training: BA University of Chicago, MFA UC-San Diego. MelissaNg.com.

BARBARA SAMUELS
Lighting Designer
NEW YORK: Select Off-Broadway: In The Green (LCT3), Hurricane Diane (NYTW/WP Theater), Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of The Future (Ars Nova, Lortel and Drama Desk Nominations), Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons, Hewes Design Nomination), The Things That Were There (Bushwick Starr), Singlet (Bushwick Starr), The Rape of The Sabine Women (Playwrights Realm), Orange Julius (Rattlestick/P73, Hewes Design Nomination), Caught (PlayCo), Kate Benson’s OBIE Award-winning A Beautiful Day on the Greastest of the Great Lakes (New Georges/ WP Theater),  Julia Jarcho’s OBIE Award-winning Grimly Handsome, The Terrifying (minor theatre/Julia Jarcho), O, Earth (Foundry Theatre, Hewes Design Nomination), A Ride on the Irish Cream (Erin Markey) Select Regional: Top Girls (A.C.T.), The Carpenter (The Alley), A Doll’s House Part 2 (Long Wharf), How I Learned to Drive (Playmakers), Sooner/Later (Cincinnati Playhouse), Arnie, Louis, and Bob (Trinity Rep). Select Opera: Acquanetta (Prototype/Beth Morrison Projects, Bard SummerScape), Onegin (New School), A Quiet Place (Curtis Opera Theatre), and The Rape of Lucretia (Curtis Opera Theatre); Dance: Vim Vigor Dance; LA Dance Project; PERSONAL: Training: BA, Fordham. MFA, NYU. Member USA829. BarbaraSamuels.com.

BRENDAN AANES
Sound Designer
NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Fire in Dreamland at The Public Theater (sound design and original music), Balls with One Year Lease (Drama Desk Nomination), Catch as Catch Can (Page 73), You Never Touched The Dirt (Clubbed Thumb), Wild Abandon (Irish Rep), Zurich (Colt Coeur), my lingerie play (Rattlestick). REGIONAL: The Good Person of Szechwan at Cal Shakes, Seascape at American Conservatory Theater, and other productions at Kansas City Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, and Theaterworks. INTERNATIONAL: Beep Boop at the Edinburgh Fringe. PERSONAL: he/him/his.

CLIFF WILLIAMS III
Fight/Intimacy Choreographer
STC: Vanity Fair, Othello (2017 Free For All). REGIONAL: Arena Stage: Disgraced; Gem of the Ocean; The Shoplifters; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; You, Nero; Baltimore Center Stage: As You Like It; Actors Theatre of Louisville: The Scene, Act a Lady, Six Years, Gem of the Ocean, Dracula. OPERA: Washington National Opera: Porgy and Bess, Un ballo in maschera, Lucia di Lammermoor, Anne Bolena, Tosca. AWARDS: Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography of a Play (The Welders: Girl in the Red Corner). PERSONAL: Acting, directing and choreographing in the D.C. area for the past ten years. Training: University of Alabama. CliffWilliamsIII.net.

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