Celebrating its 9th year of bringing Shakespeare’s plays to communities across Washington Stage, Seattle Shakespeare Company is thrilled to announce the cast for its 2018 touring productions of Romeo and Juliet and a bilingual production of Twelfth Night. Aimed at middle school and high school age students, these fun and engaging 90-minute adaptations preserve Shakespeare’s language and tell the story with a small cast playing multiple roles. Returning for the second year in a row is Sophie Franco. She will be joined by tour newcomers Jesse Calixto, Angelica Duncan, Warren Levi Haney, Lindsay Zae Summers, and Marco Voli. Local public performances of Twelfth Night will be April 3-6, 2018 at the Center Theatre. Tour locations include: Auburn, Bellevue, Bellingham, Cathlamet, College Place, Edgewood, Edmonds, Ephrata, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Pasco, Pullman, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Sea-Tac, Snohomish, Soap Lake, Stanwood, Tacoma, Toppenish, Wenatchee, Yakima and other communities to be announced. In Twelfth Night love has everyone unglued in Illyria. When Viola, a castaway, disguises herself as a boy to find work as Duke Orsino’s servant, she gets caught in a compromising love triangle. Meanwhile, Olivia’s household cranks up their mischief making by tricking a stuffy steward into believing his mistress has fallen for him. This treasured comedy brims with wild infatuations, delightful antics, and beloved comic characters. This production will be performed in a combination of English and Spanish The story of Romeo and Juliet is so much a part of our culture, yet many students only read the play don’t have the opportunity to see a live production of it. In the midst of an historical bitter feud, passionate young love emerges. Defying their parents, Romeo and Juliet marry and plot to run away together, only to be thwarted at every turn. This classic play is a swashbuckling drama and the greatest love story ever told. One cast will perform both plays and includes: Twelfth Night Warren Levi Haney (Orsino/SirAndrew), Lindsay Zae Summers (Feste/Maria/Sebastian), Angélica Duncan-Basile (Olivia/Curio/Officer), Marco Voli (Sir Toby Belch/Sea Captain), Sophie Franco (Viola), Jesse Calixto (Malvolio/Antonio). Romeo and Juliet Warren Levi Haney (Nurse/Mercutio/Prince), Lindsay Zae Summers (Juliet/Sampson), Angélica Duncan-Basile (Benvolio/Paris), Marco Voli (Romeo/Gregory), Sophie Franco (Lady Capulet/Abram/Apothecary), Jesse Calixto (Friar/Tybalt/Peter). Both productions will be directed by Erin Murray. The English/Spanish adaptation of Twelfth Night is by Ana Maria Campoy.
News About Touring Programs
By STEVE KELLEY The first time Romeo leans in to kiss Juliet the ooohs, aaahs and whoops tumble from the Franklin High School audience onto the stage. Teachers, wanting their students to be respectful, hiss soft “shhshes,” but the truth is, the actors encourage these responses. They feed off that buzz and, they believe the audience’s involvement makes the performance feel even more authentic. They like it when students at the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s touring productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew yell “Don’t do it,” when Romeo begins to drink the poison and when audiences cheer when he kills Tybalt and groan when Mercutio dies. When Lady Capulet spits at Juliet, the audience gasps and murmurs. At one performance an audience member yelled out, “No!” when Mercutio was stabbed. “This is how it was for Shakespeare,” said Arjun Pande, who plays Mercutio. “Actors toured around the countryside and performed for the masses. The audiences were part of the productions. They yelled things like, ‘Kill him!’ to the actors. “We look at our audiences like they are our 12th man. I understand when teachers are shhshing the students, but we like the energy. We play off that, even. And if they start talking, we feel like it’s our job to win them back.” Pande, Tom Dewey, Maya Burton, Lexi Chapman, Rafael Molina and Sophie Franco are the six actors in this year’s touring company. Erin Murray directs and education associate Casey Brown coordinates the tour. This cast not only does the heavy acting, it also does the heavy lifting. The company’s van is packed with sets that need to be arranged every day in a difference theater. The actors unload and set up their props. They do sound checks and practice their fight scenes to get a feel for how they should navigate the stage. They apply their own makeup, get into costumes and into character. And, at the end of the 90-minutes performances, they conduct a question-and-answer session (talkback) before reloading the van and leaving for the tour’s next stop. These are serious, accomplished actors, who are willing to work at their crafts no matter what the staging obstacles. They rehearsed for two months before taking these shows on the road. Watching them in the van, backstage and on stage, their affection for each other is obvious and they are grateful for this opportunity. This is love’s labor found. “Working with Seattle Shakes means so many things to me,” Franco said. “It means exercising every muscle in my body in pursuit of the stories.” At certain stops they perform a bilingual production of The Taming of the Shrew, which means something especially important to Franco. “This tour sits close to my heart,” she said, “because I get to perform Shakespeare in Spanish and I get to perform it for Latino children all across Washington. I get to show them that Latino actors exist and we’re present and we’re forces to be reckoned with.” For the company, every day is another opening, another show. And no two days ever are the same. Students from Royal City High School left their school at 6 a.m., traveling more 150 miles to see Romeo and Juliet. At the end of the show, the students stood and recited the prologue to the play to the actors, who were sitting on stage. This spring, the touring company is crisscrossing the state for some 4700 miles, by the end of the tour they will have performed in front of about 17,000 students and faculty. For many in these audiences this will be their introduction to Shakespeare and, for some, it will be the first chapter in an enduring love affair with his works. “Last year’s tour was the most rewarding opportunity of my career. There are few things more rewarding than watching a first-time audience member get carried away by the story,” said Dewey, who plays Tybalt, Peter and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. “The tour has afforded me that experience time and time again.” At one talkback session, Pande asked the young audience if it would like to see more Shakespearean plays. “Oh hell yeah!” a student shouted out. And that enthusiasm from a new-found fan is exactly why they tour.
Seattle Shakespeare Company’s adaptations of The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet will reach thousands of children in schools and theatres across Washington State.The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet will go on a twelve week tour of Washington schools and theatres. Local public performances of The Taming of the Shrew will be March 17-19 at the Center Theatre. Tour locations include:
- College Place
- Lake Stevens
- Mount Vernon
- Soap Lake
- Walla Walla
The Taming of the ShrewArjun Pande (Petruchio), Lexi Chipman( Bianca/Ensemble), Maya Burton (Tranio/Ensemble), Rafael Molina (Baptista/Ensemble), Sophie Franco (Katherine), Tom Dewey (Hortensio/Lucentio).
Romeo and JulietArjun Pande (Nurse/Mercutio/Prince), Lexi Chipman (Juliet/Sampson), Maya Burton (Benvolio/Paris), Rafael Molina (Romeo/Gregory), Sophie Franco (Lady Capulet/Abram/Apothecary), Tom Dewey (Friar/Tybalt/Peter). Both productions will be directed by Erin Murray. The Taming of the Shrew will be a bilingual English/Spanish adaptation with translation done by Ana Maria Campoy.
Artistic Director George Mount has announced plans for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2016-2017 season that includes a world premiere adaptation, pairings of plays exploring love and jealousy, and everyone’s favorite fairy-filled fantasy. The plays included in the season are The Winter’s Tale, Medea, the two-part epic Bring Down the House, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the spring of 2017 Seattle Shakespeare Company will tour The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet to schools and venues across the state. “A rarely seen Shakespeare distilled down to its essential intrigue and drama; a Shakespeare and Greek pairing that grapple with similar themes; and a show business homage wrapped up in fairy dust and music. Every time I think about our upcoming season, it makes me smile and get a little nervous about the ambition of it,” said Artistic Director George Mount. “But I have a trio of trusted directors joining me to lead these projects and I know they’ll dazzle us with what they’ve got planned for their shows.” “The pairing of the two shows performed in the fall of 2016 will open up a conversation about how love, jealousy, and betrayal can intermix and intertwine,” said Mount. Seattle Shakespeare Company returns to the Leo K. Theatre at Seattle Repertory Theatre with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Directed by Sheila Daniels, the play will run September 7 through October 2, 2016. Medea by Euripides and directed by Kelly Kitchens follows in the Center Theatre October 18-November 13, 2016. “It will be our first return to a Greek tragedy since our knock-out production of Electra nearly 7 years ago. I’m thrilled to welcome Sheila and Kelly back to helm these projects. They are two artists with very unique perspectives that I respect, and I’m happy they’ve been a part of our Seattle Shakespeare family for such a long time.” Right after the New Year, Seattle Shakespeare Company will present the premiere of a new adaptation called Bring Down the House. It is an epic two-part re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy and will be presented in collaboration with upstart crow collective. “This project has been incubating for quite some time, and it’s so very exciting to know that it will soon hit the stage,” said Mount. Adaptors Rosa Joshi and Kate Wisniewski have honed Shakespeare’s words and sprawling story into a tight two-parts that maintain all the treachery, battles, and machinations as two waring families fight for the throne of England. Bring Down the House will be directed by Joshi and feature an all-female company of actors. The two parts will run in repertory January 24-March 12, 2017 at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center. Stage magic meets fairy magic for Mount’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Cornish Playhouse. “This will be a valentine to show business filled with music, laughter, and all the charm everyone enjoys,” said Mount. Shakespeare’s comedy of mixed up lovers, fairies, and a troupe of amateur actors will run April 26-May 21, 2017 The Seattle area isn’t the only one to get their share of the classics. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s touring program crisscrosses the state with two 90-minute, small-cast shows that bring Shakespeare to communities that don’t often see professional productions. During the spring of 2017 The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet will tour to schools and venues from Pullman to Ephrata to Wilbur to Wenatchee. Season ticket packages will go on sale April 25, 2016 and range from $100 to $210 for all five indoor productions. Season ticket packages can be purchased by calling the ticket office at (206) 733-8222 or online. Single tickets will go on sale July 2016 and range from $31-$50 per ticket.
In an effort to make Shakespeare’s plays accessible and enjoyable for everyone, Seattle Shakespeare Company will offer an autism-friendly performance of the company’s touring production of The Tempest. Children and adults on the autism spectrum, and their families can see Shakespeare’s fantastical play of magic and forgiveness on Sunday, April 17th at 2:00 PM at the Center Theatre at Seattle Center. To accommodate the unique needs of this special performance, moderate lighting will stay on over the audience during the show. Sound and lighting effects in the show will be toned down to sensory-friendly levels. Parents can take children out to quiet rooms and activity areas any time it becomes necessary – and re-enter when they wish. Support staff will be on hand in the lobby and inside the theater itself. The show is 90 minutes long, including an intermission. The Center Theatre is on the first floor of the Seattle Center Armory. The theatre’s entrance is on the east side of the building, facing the EMP. The Center Theatre is ADA compliant, with ground-level access and wheelchair seating. ADA seating must be reserved in advance. Street parking in Seattle is free on Sundays; there are also several paid parking lots and garages nearby. Special pricing for this performance is $11 per person (all ages) in order to make this experience affordable and fun for families in the autism community. In The Tempest, directed by Annie Lareau, Prospero and his daughter live as exiles on a remote island filled with enchanted creatures. Conjuring a spell, Prospero summons a storm to carry his brother’s ship to his shores. He seeks revenge, but the island has other ideas. Foes become friends. Family reunites. And old wounds heal through forgiveness. Shakespeare’s fantastical tale reveals magic and power of the human heart. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of The Tempest is part of the company’s state-wide touring program that also includes Romeo and Juliet. These productions maintain the beauty of Shakespeare’s language and introduce these dynamic stories in fresh, accessible productions for students across Washington State. Small-cast ensembles play multiple parts with quick changes and distinctive character choices that make for a showcase of great acting. Seattle Shakespeare Company will also have standard public performances of The Tempest on April 15 and 16.