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Shakespeare & Company Announces Cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Shakespeare & Company Announces Cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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LENOX, Mass. – Casting has been announced for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare & Company, directed by Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and staged August 1 through September 10, opening Friday, August 4 outdoors at the New Spruce Theatre.

Athenians mix it up with the forest fairies in this raucous romp that features magical meddling, romantic tangles, and a play within a play for good measure. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been described by scholars as carnivalesque: pushing the plot forward through humor and chaos.

Associate Director Nicole Ricciardi rounds out the directing team, and the cast of 12 includes actors making their Shakespeare & Company debut, as well as long-held veterans of the Company. They are:

Elizabeth Aspenlieder

(Titania)

Elizabeth Aspenlieder has appeared in more than 40 productions at Shakespeare & company, including The Approach, The Waverly Gallery, HIR, God of Carnage; Mother of the Maid (pre–Broadway, originated Lady of the Court); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Parasite Drag; Merry Wives of Windsor; The Winter’s Tale; Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Bad Dates (Elliot Norton Award Best Solo Performance); Rough Crossing; King Lear; Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (final performance at The Mount). Regional: Silverthorne Theatre: The Cake; Great Barrington Public Theatre: Queen of the Sea, Wet Ink reading series; Simon’s Rock: The House of Bernarda Alba; Oldcastle: The Consul, The Tramp & America’s Sweetheart, The Lion in Winter; Barrington Stage: 10X10 Play Fest; Merrimack Rep: Bad Dates; Boston Theatre Works: Angels in America, Othello. Berkshire Playwrights Lab: Radius series, Gala’s etc.; Directing: Merchant of Venice (Assistant Dir, Tina Packer Dir.). Indy Films: Trigger Finger; Seriously Twisted. Voice Over actor/producer: TV, cartoons, radio, and the audiobooks: Choosing Joy: Alzheimer’s — a Book of Hope; and Peregrine Island.) Producer Feature films: Cold Wallet (in post w/ Joshua Brener), Onyx The Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls (2023 Sundance, BIFF, etc.); The Secret Art of Human Flight (2023 Tribeca FF, w/ Lucy DeVito, Paul Raci); Skelly (in post w/ Brian Cox, Torrey DeVitto, John Palladino); I’m Not Him (Amazon Prime w/ John Palladino); Stroke of Luck (Netflix w/ John Popper). Theatre Producer: Rhinoceros (w/ Chris Noth, The Cutting Room NYC), Living the Dream (by Mark Roberts, reading series 52nd Street Project).

Sheila Bandyopadhyay (she / her)

(Puck)

Sheila Bandyopadhyay is a multi-hyphenate theater artist who, after 18 years in Brooklyn, NY, is delighted to be marking her first year as Shakespeare & Company’s Director of the Center of Actor Training. Movement Direction: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare & Company); Macbeth (The Humanist Project); Mother Courage and her Children, The Cherry Orchard (American Academy of Dramatic Arts Company); Hamlet, Measure for Measure (NYU Gallatin); Twelfth Night (FSU Conservatory/Asolo Rep). In New York, Sheila has directed shows at the Brick, the United Solo Festival (Theater Row), the Tank, the Women in Theater Festival (the Gural), the West End Theater, and the 72nd St Theater Lab. Favorite roles include Stephano in The Tempest (Stages on the Sound), Tamora in Titus Andronicus (The Humanist Project) and Bianca/Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew (Tempest Ladies). Sheila is a proud member of the Humanist Project and a sponsored artist with Leviathan Lab.

Javier David

(Theseus / Flute)

Javier David is excited to be making Shakespeare & Company debut! He is a

California-born-and-raised actor based in New York City. Credits include: Clyde’s (The Huntington Theatre), Do You Feel Anger?, (Kitchen Theater Company), Witch (The Huntington Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Classical Theatre of Harlem), A Dollzes House (Signature Theatre), Cold Read Festival (Syracuse Stage), The Rocky Horror Show (Artist Repertory Theatre), Almost, Maine (L.A. Theatre Center), Commedia (Atelier Teatro Fisico), In The Red And Brown Water (Columbia University), A Street Car Named Desire (Columbia University), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Columbia University). Film: The Changeling (Apple TV). Javier received his M.F.A in Acting from Columbia University (2019) and his B.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in Performance from San Diego State University (2016).

Gina Fonseca (she / her)

(First Fairy / Philostrate / Snug)

Gina Fonseca is a Cuban-American actor and creative based in NYC. Previous credits: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare & Company), Witch (Huntington Theatre Company); Fade (Kitchen Theatre Company); Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Florida Premiere, Zoetic Stage at The Adrienne Arsht Center); Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Workshop Premiere, Off the Grid Theatre Company); Photograph 51, Antigone, Time Stands Still, The Clean House, Measure for Measure (Boston University); The Tempest (Shakespeare Academy @Stratford); BFA Acting, Boston University.

Nigel Gore

(Oberon)

S&Co, recent: Leonato, Much Ado About Nothing; Gloucester, King Lear; Prospero, The Tempest; Belarius/Doctor, Cymbeline; Falstaff Merry Wives; George, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Actor) at the Public Theatre Boston. Off-Broadway: Voltaire Emilie with Duende; Dr. Rank, A Doll’s House; Ostermark, The Father; at TFANA. Pickering, Pygmalion; Col. Brandon, Sense & Sensibility; Dorn, The Seagull with Bedlam. Regional: Killigrew, Nell Gwynn; Enobarbus, Antony & Cleopatra at The Folger in DC. Richard, Richard III (Westword Denver; Best Actor); Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Macbeth, Macbeth at Colorado Shakes. Squeers/Hawk, Nicholas Nickleby at The Lyric, Boston. Lyman Felt, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan at Oldcastle, VT: Scrooge, Christmas Carol; Caesar, Julius Caesar; Orlando Shakes. Brutus, Julius Caesar at Prague Shakes. Women of Will: USA, World Tour. TV & Film: Bedlam: The Series, Cold Wallet.

Blake Hamilton Currie

(Demetrius)

Blake Hamilton Currie is incredibly excited to be making his Shakespeare & Company debut! Blake is an actor based out of Chicago, Illi., and is a recent graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, having received his Master of Fine Arts degree in acting this past summer. Some of his most recent theatre credits include: Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It (Tennessee Shakespeare Company) TopDog/UnderDog, Three Antarcticas, Sweat, Do You Feel Anger? (The Theatre School of DePaul) and the world premiere play Buried Deep (Endstation Theatre).

Sara Linares (she / ella)

(Helena)

Sara is a bilingual bird from the Tropic of Cancer so she’s thankful for the opportunity to soar to new heights in the Berkshires! She graduated in 2019 with an MFA from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and dove right into a national tour with American Shakespeare Center that same year. During the pandemic, she continued performing via Zoom and started training in Intimacy Direction.

Carlos Olmedo

(Lysander)

Carlos Olmedo is an actor from Chicago, IL. Recent credits include: United Flight 232 (House Theatre of Chicago); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), and you may have seen him with a dart in his forehead on Season 7, Episode 8 of Chicago Fire.

Naire Poole

(Hermia)

Naire Poole is fresh off of her performance as Juliet (Romeo & Juliet) in Shakespeare & Company’s Northeast Regional Tour. Select credits include: Theater: Margaret/the Sexton Much Ado About Nothing, Elizabeth Darcy The Wickams: Christmas at Pemberly, Hamlet Hamlet, three hang, Macy The Cake, Antigone Antigone, Dave Moss Glengarry Glenross, Francine/Lena Clybourne Park. Bella For the People’s Good. Film: Andrea (Lead) Wet Things, Hermia (Lead) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Veterinarian (supporting) George. She has a hunger for exploring the work of challenging societal structures. When she isn’t tackling work that explores the complexity of interpersonal expansion through her performances, she is directing and teaching, ablaze to adjust theatrical structures into inclusive, healing, and transcendent spaces.

Madeleine Rose Maggio (she / her)

(Hippolyta / MECHANICAL)

At Shakespeare & Company, Madeleine Rose Maggio has appeared as Don John, Much Ado About Nothing; Cassie, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, Ensemble: Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World, Marianne Dashwood: Sense & Sensibility; Robert Shallow/Bardolph: Merry Wives; Elizabeth Bennet: Pride & Prejudice; Longaville/Jaquenetta, Love’s Labor’s Lost; Elizabeth Darcy, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley; Helena/Cobweb, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; S&Co Regional Tour: Lady Capulet/ Benvolio, Romeo & Juliet; The Humanist Project: Lavinia, Titus Andronicus. Madeleine is proud of her work as an education artist in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, and Shakespeare & Young Company. She attended the two-year professional course at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and studied at The Second City in Chicago.

Michael F. Toomey (he / him)

(Egeus / Peter Quince)

Michael F. Toomey is a neurodivergent performer and Theater creator. He is the Artistic Director of The Humanist Project based in Brooklyn and founding member of Split Knuckle Theatre, which devises new works that have toured from Bangkok to Buenos Aires. S&Co roles include: Serg (ART), Puck (Midsummer), Poet (An Iliad), Bassinet (Ladies Man), Scapan (title role), Walter (Split Knuckle’s Endurance). Various Roles NYC: Francis (Francis Goes To War), Francis (Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle). Michael’s childhood passion for The Muppets and Looney Tunes has served as the basis of his adult obsession with Clowning and comic structure. He teaches Clowning in NYC. He studied with Clown masters Philippe Gaulier and Giovanni Fusetti. Graduated from LISPA and holds an MFA in Lecoq-based Theatre. Michael lives in Brooklyn with his wife Sarah and son August.

Jacob Ming-Trent

(Bottom)

On television, Jacob-Ming-Trent has appeared in White Famous, Showtime (series regular), Watchmen, HBO (series regular), Ray Donovan, Showtime (Recurring), Feed the Beast, AMC (recurring). Also seen on, Only Murders in the Building, WU-TANG: An American Saga, New Amsterdam, God Friended Me, High Maintenance, and several more. Film: Superfly, Forty-year-old Version, Snakes, R#J, Possession of Hannah Grace, The Bygone, Julie Taymour’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and others. Broadway: Shrek the Musical (Original cast), Hands on a Hardbody, (Original Cast). Off Broadway: The Harder They Come, Public Theatre, Lortel nomination Alchemist, Mammon, Redbull theater, Lortel nomination Merry Wives, Falstaff, Public theater, Drama Desk nomination Father Comes Home from the Wars, Public theater, Lortel Award. Twelfth Night, Sir Toby, Public Theater. Cymbeline, Public Theater. Mother Courage, CSC. Merchant of Venice, TFANA. Midsummer Night’s Dream, TFANA. Widowers Houses, Epic Theater Ensemble. Tempest, Public Theater. On the Levee, Lincoln Center.

Allyn Burrows (he / him)

(Director)

S&Co: Director: The Tempest (2017), As You Like It (2018), Twelfth Night (2019). Shakespeare & Company performances: A Walk in the Woods, King Lear, God of Carnage, Or, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV Part 1, among others. As Artistic Director of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Allyn directed and acted in numerous productions. Other Boston area performances include Can You Forgive Her (Huntington Theatre), Breaking the Code (Underground Railway Theatre), Shipwrecked (The Lyric Stage), The Seafarer and The Homecoming (Merrimack Repertory Theater), Five by Tenn (Speakeasy Stage). Elliot Norton Award for The Homecoming, King Lear, Five by Tenn; IRNE Award for Breaking the Code. Off-Broadway: Bug, Killer Joe, Louis Slotin Sonata, Closetland. Regionally: Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theatre, Long Wharf, Denver Center, Walnut St. Television: “The Broad Squad,” “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Against the Law.” Films include The Company Men, Julie & Julia, Manchester by the Sea, and Don’t Look Up.

Nicole Ricciardi (she / her)

(Associate Director)

S&Co: King Lear, Time Stands Still, Creditors, 4000 Miles, The Taming, The How and the Why, and Cassandra Speaks. She has directed, developed, and assisted productions at Third Avenue Playhouse, Youngblood/Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Flea, Primary Stages, the Drama Book Shop, Chelsea Repertory Lab, Circle East, Bushwick Arts, Central Square Theatre, Two River Theater Company, Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Shadow Lawn Stage, and the Irish Repertory Theatre. She is on the faculty of The Theatre School at DePaul. MFA, Carnegie Mellon University.

Generously sponsored by Scott and Roxanne Bok, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be staged outdoors at The New Spruce Theatre with tickets ranging from $22 to $72; preview performances are $10 less and student tickets are $22. To purchase tickets, visit shakespeare.org, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

About Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 by Tina Packer. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Company offers performance, education, and actor-training opportunities year-round, and attracts more than 40,000 patrons annually with a core of more than 150 artists.

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