Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) was founded in 1913 as the first of the American actor unions. Equity’s mission is to advance, promote, and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Today, Equity represents more than 40,000 actors, singers, dancers, and stage managers working in hundreds of theatres across the United States. Equity members are dedicated to working in the theatre as a profession, upholding the highest artistic standards. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans for its members. Through its agreement with Equity, Tennessee Shakespeare Company has committed to the fair treatment of the actors and stage managers employed in this production. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. For more information, visit www.actorsequity.org.
Isabel Azar (servingperson) has twice performed in Tennessee Shakespeare's Prelude Scenes. Recently, she appeared as Beth March in Little Women (Desoto Family Theater), Eleanor Crenshaw in Credo House (Christian Brothers High School), Monterone's Daughter in Rigoletto (Opera Memphis), Helsa in The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 (Christian Brothers High School), and an ensemble member in Oliver! (Desoto Family Theater).
Lauren Ballard (Bianca) has worked in multiple regional theaters, recently playing Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Nashville Shakespeare Festival and working as a resident company member at American Shakespeare Center. Other: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Olympia in Big Love, and Cinderella in Into the Woods. Lauren received her MFA from the University of Houston.
Peri Beckerman (servingperson) last performed with TSC in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Mustardseed. She has acted in several shows in the area, but lately has been spending much of her time studying at Stanford University Online High School, where she is a sophomore.
Catie Broadwater (Assistant Stage Manager) returns for her third season with Tennessee Shakespeare Company. TSC: Romeo and Juliet, It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play, Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged), Macbeth, Southern Yuletide, the schools tour of Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and The Glass Menagerie. Studio Tenn: The Glass Menagerie; Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre: Sherlock Holmes and It's a Wonderful Wife; 3P Production: John & Jen and Long Way Down, Parallel Lives, Oklahoma, Ramona Quimby, Baby, Spirit: The Authentic Story of the Bell Witch of Tennessee; Nashville Shakespeare Festival: The Tempest. She is a graduate from MTSU, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre.
Bruce Bui (Costume Designer) TSC: Unto the Breach, Shakes Rattle & Roll, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), It’s a Wonderful Life: a LiveRadio Play, Rebel Shakespeare and His Women, and Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits. Originally from Southern California, Bruce now lives in Memphis and is in his twelfth season as the Wardrobe Director and Resident Costume Designer for Ballet Memphis. His works can be seen regularly on the Orpheum stage and numerous other venues around the Mid-South. He has also worked with The Western Stage (Always, Patsy Cline), Cabrillo Musical Theatre (Funny Girl), Santa Susanna Repertory Theatre (Shiloh, War of the World), and Kingsmen Shakespeare Company (As You Like It), among others.
MaConnia Chesser* (Kate) Regional theatre: The York Shakespeare Company: Macbeth, Richard II; WSC Avant Bard: Much Ado About Nothing; Totem Pole Playhouse: The Sunshine Boys, 45 Seconds from Broadway, Proposals; The Kennedy Center: Locomotion; Ensemble Studio Theatre: Cell, Palmetto; NJ Repertory (company member): The Rant, And Her Hair Went with Her; Theater Alliance: Insurrection: Holding History (Helen Hayes nomination); African Continuum Theatre: The Story, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Amen Corner; Venus Theatre: Assistant Director for Migdalia Cruz’s Cigarettes and Moby Dick, Feminist Freak Show, Ugly Ducklings, The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women; and work with Folger Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Film and TV: Nothing but the Truth, cigarettes for breakfast, Ghosts of Hamilton Street, Diseasels, The Wire. Education: National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and Alcorn State University.
Lorraine Cotten (Tailor, Haberdasher, Pedant, Widow) TSC: Lana Sherwood in both productions of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Other local theatre: Les Miserables and Left Hand Singing at Playhouse on the Square. Regional theatre: New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Barter Theatre, Arkansas Rep, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, as well as Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles. Lorraine also directs and teaches, holding an MFA in Theatre from the University of Memphis.
Steven DiBlasi (Pianist, Music Arranger) TSC: Hamlet. He has performed with student and guest artists at the University of Memphis, been featured as a soloist with the JSU Chamber Winds Ensemble, and premiered new works by students and professors at U of M and Jackson State University. He teaches Class Piano and Aural Theory at U of M, and privately at St. Mary's Episcopal School. Steven annually adjudicates for the Memphis City School's All-City Piano Festival.
Neil Freeman (Text Consultant)is a teacher, director, text coach, and actor. He is the man behind the acclaimed First Folio editions published by Applause and utilized across the globe. Currently Associate Professor Emeritus (of Theatre) at the University of British Columbia in Canada, he is also a Master Teacher with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, and Text Consultant to several other U.S. and Canadian theatres. His range of teaching, coaching, and directing ranges from the fifteen-year-olds in youth companies to high school teachers, through university level students (undergraduate and graduate in both liberal arts and the top-ranked professional training schools) to professional theatre companies and individual actors.
Kristen Greene (Properties Designer) TSC: Unto the Breach, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Tempest, The Glass Menagerie, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), and It’s a Wonderful Life. Kristen is currently the stage manager and production coordinator for Ballet Memphis. She has a BFA in stage management from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and she also studied at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
Stuart Heyman (Baptista) TSC: As You Like It (Corin) and Othello (Brabantio). Local theatre: Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, Fagin in Oliver!, Quixote/Cervantes in Man of LaMancha, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, TR in Tintypes, and Malvolio in Twelfth Night.
Chandra Owenby Hopkins (Dramaturg) is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. She regularly directs for Theatre Converse and teaches courses including Dramaturgy, Devised Theatre, and History of Musical Theatre. She earned her Ph.D. in theatre and performance studies from the University of Kansas and has published reviews and articles in Theatre Survey and Theatre Annual. Her latest writing project is included in the collection, Objects and Things, forthcoming from Palgrave. As a dramaturg, Chandra has worked most recently with Georgia Shakespeare of Atlanta on their 2013 production of Metamorphoses.
Paul Kiernan* (Petruchio) Regional theatre: Hamlet, 12 Angry Men, Is He Dead, Pride and Prejudice, Our Town, The Tempest at Pioneer Theatre; Freedomland, Skin in Flames, The Beard of Avon, Six years, End Days at Salt Lake Acting Company; Julius Caesar, Henry IV at Salt Lake Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Company; Cyrano de Bergerac (title role) at Hangar Theatre; Macbeth, As You Like It, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew at St. Louis Shakespeare; The Merry Wives of Windsor, You Can't Take it With You, Amadeus at Great Lakes Shakespeare; Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, As You Like It at Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Film/TV: HBO series From the Earth to the Moon, Luck of the Irish, Go Figure, The Cell 2. MFA in Acting from Brandeis University.
Bradley Kroeker (Vincentio) TSC: both productions of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Freddie Filmore). Recent local theatre: The Hollow and roles in Opera Memphis’s Macbeth and Porgy and Bess. TV: the guest grill chef on WKNO’s “Local Color.” Other local theatre: Frederick in A Little Night Music, El Gallo in The Fantasticks, and Guido Cointini in Nine.
Elliot LaPlante (Scenic and Properties Designer) TSC: Romeo and Juliet. She designed set and properties for the Shakespeare Walla Walla production of The Merchant of Venice, the Power House production of It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play, and properties for the Shakespeare Walla Walla 2012 Summer Festival. Elliot has created interior designs at the Power House Theatre for The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Four Tenors, The Tempest, Big Daddy’s BBQ, and the 2012 Summer Shakespeare Festival. She also worked on the production team to produce the opening event for the Power House Theatre: Dangerous Liaisons. Elliot just finished her BS degrees in Business and Psychology at Walla Walla University, and recently moved to Los Angeles. She is currently working with The Prison Project at The Actors' Gang Theater under Artistic Director Tim Robbins.
Mark McCarthy* (Tranio) Regional theatre: Hudson Guild, New York: The Whaleship Essex; Nebraska Rep: Mrs. Mannerly, Making God Laugh; Shadowland Theatre: Dangers of Electric Lighting, The Seafarer; Illinois Theatre Center: Moonlight and Magnolias; Mercury Theatre: King o’ the Moon; Denver Center: The Rivals: Portland Center Stage: The Rivals, Macbeth, As You Like It; Notre Dame Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing; Heart of America Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Kansas City Rep: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, The Imaginary Invalid. Mark is also a voice-over artist, stage combat choreographer, and published playwright.
Dan McCleary (Director; Founder and Producing Artistic Director) is a native Memphian and a graduate of Germantown High School and its Poplar Pike Playhouse. Dan directed and acted in TSC’s inaugural production of As You Like It (Jaques) and The Glass Menagerie; and he directed TSC’s acclaimed Hamlet, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged),The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all-female Julius Caesar, Othello, and Themes from a Midsummer Night.He also has directed productions of As You Like It at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Servant of Two Masters outdoors in downtown Atlanta and at Seattle Shakespeare Company, and All’s Well That Ends Well at Georgia Shakespeare Festival. At the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, he directed the world premiere of The Stone Face and played the title roles in Antony and Cleopatra and Richard III, Brutus in Julius Caesar, Porfiry in Crime and Punishment, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, and Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. As Associate Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, Dan acted in and directed over 30 productions, appearing as Coriolanus, Macbeth, Herman Melville, Stephano, Don Armado, Hotspur, Master Ford, Bertram, and Antipholus/Dromio of Ephesus. He directed S&Co’s first production of The Servant of Two Masters, also his own adaptation of Anaïs Nin’s Henry & June, Vita & Virginia, My Own Stranger, and The Fiery Rain. Other Regional/New York theatre: Merrimack Rep, North Shore Music Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, StageWest, Alabama Shakespeare, Arden Theatre, Studio 4-A, and Huntington Theatre. Dan is a published poet and teaches Shakespeare master classes around the country. Memphis Magazine has named him among the “Who’s Who in Memphis” each year from 2009-12, and the Germantown Arts Alliance honored him with its 2009 Distinguished Arts and Humanities Medal for Performing Arts. He serves on the City of Germantown’s Telecommunications Committee, and holds a B.A. in Advertising and Journalism from Temple University. Dan and his wife Stephanie are the proud parents of three-year-old twin boys, Sullivan and Collins.
Cara McHugh (Biondello; Journeyman Artist-Manager) is originally from Memphis and received her Bachelor of Arts from Murray State University with a dual major in Theatre and Political Science. Cara then enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts in Performance program at the University of Louisville, where she graduated in May with a Dean’s Citation in Academic Excellence. Cara performed in UofL's Sleep Rock thy Brain, TheArtifacts, Richard III, Plays: A Play, A Perfect Wedding, and How I Learned to Drive. She also performed in Reasons to Be Pretty and Misses Strata at the Bard’s Town Theatre in Louisville, KY, where she served as a Board member. While in Louisville, Cara taught children’s theatre for Encore Youth Theatre and Adelante Hispanic Achievers. Cara is thrilled to be joining TSC to both teach and perform Shakespeare’s works. Cara is on staff at Tennessee Shakespeare Company as the Journeyman Artist-Manager. You can also see her performing in TSC's Mid-South School Tour, Shake(s), Rattle, and Roll.
Melissa A. Nathan* (Production Stage Manager) is based out of New York. Recent regional theatre: RED (Triad Stage), Deathtrap (Centenary Stage Company), Knight of the Burning Pestle and Our Town (Theater at Monmouth), Educating Rita (Florida Rep), August: Osage County (WPPAC), The Mound Builders (Kaliyuga Arts), Lost in Yonkers (Atlantic Stage), The Diary of Anne Frank (Chenango River Theatre), Wicked City (Depot Theatre), Victory (PTP/NYC), Bonnie & Clyde (Asolo Repertory Theatre), China: The Whole Enchilada (FringeNYC), Twelfth Night and The Imaginary Invalid (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre).
Andrew Joseph Perez* (Lucentio) is an SAFD Actor Combatant, Composer, NASM Personal Trainer, and a graduate of Seattle University's BA Drama program. Regional theatre: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Capital Stage and San Jose Stage), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (Sacramento Theatre Company), The Student in Ghost Sonata (Open Circle Theater), Cardinal Pandaulph in King John (Greenstage), and The Little Monk in The Life of Galileo (Strawberry Theatre Workshop). Andrew has choreographed fights for B St. Theatre, The Alternative Arts Collective, Jesuit High School, Sacramento Theatre Company, and others.
Benjamin Reed (Hortensio) Regional theatre: The Alley: A Few Good Men (Tom); Tennessee Rep: Red (Ken) and The Columnist (Halberstam); Houston Shakespeare Festival: Hamlet (title role) and As You Like It (Orlando); Nashville Shakespeare Festival: The Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio), Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (Adam), Richard III (Richmond); and a company actor with American Shakespeare Center. Benjamin has worked in film with director Christopher Cain, actor and producer Brett Cullen, and comedian Julian Smith.
William Shakespeare (Playwright) was probably a lot like you, regardless of your age. He was also a Revolutionary. He was born into an Age of alarming innovation and discovery in every field of study: voyage, religion, printing, science, commerce, history, disaster, and triumph. Just like you. There was revolution all around him. William was born into an Age of religious ambivalence, often with accompanying violence, and he received the usual education for a boy of the Age until he is 12 years old. He married an older woman, perhaps because they were pregnant first. And there are two periods in his early adult life that we know very little about. When he emerges in documentation, he is a player and a writer. But he doesn’t write like the others around him. He writes, using known stories, through the rhythm of his heart. You can hear it in his verse lines. He began to write his life into his plays: when his son Hamnet and father die, there is Hamlet; after his mother dies and England’s riots create domestic war, there is Coriolanus; after he falls in love with a dark-haired woman in the city, there are the Sonnets to his Dark Lady and all of his Rosalinds in As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet and Love’s Labor’s Lost; and when his daughters come of age, there are his final plays in which the daughters redeem their fathers. It is said he created the human being, which is to say he developed characters on stage with psychological underpinnings and fragile grace resulting in landmark joys or the end of lives. Like a genuine poet, he forces no answers upon us. He lends us timeless questions. William was a Revolutionary because he dared to question his life in a public forum. He discovered that which is most personal is shared by us all. It is collectively held and needs to be articulated and felt. In so doing, he redefined the function of theatre. His Age compelled and inspired him, just as our own Age can do for us.
David Rhea (Curtis) TSC: Macbeth. David is a young veteran of the stage and of film, and attends Grace Saint Luke’s. He has performed in commercials, independent films, and on stage at Playhouse on the Square, Bartlett Performing Arts Center, Theatre Memphis, Grace Saint Luke’s, and the Kroc. David loves theatre, physics and music. His performance in TSC’s Macbeth as Fleance remains his favorite role. The highlight of his summer is enjoying Tennessee Shakespeare’s Summer camps.
Brian Sheppard* (Hugo Dixon, Grumio) TSC: Hamlet (title role). Other favorite roles include Dorante in The Liar (Centenary Stage Co.) Jason in Rabbithole (NIU), Cain in Babele (European Live Arts Network), and Olivia in Twelfth Night (Plimoth Players). Film: Capt. Ben Church in the documentary So Dreadful a Judgment and the upcoming Indie Beautiful Something. Brian is a founding member of the Plimoth Players, an all-male Shakespeare company in Plymouth, MA. He holds an MFA from Northern Illinois University and a B.A. in Theatre from Butler University.
Phil Darius Wallace * (Gremio) TSC: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth, The Glass Menagerie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It. Darius is a native of Flint, MI, where he started as an actor with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival as Caliban in The Tempest. He as worked locally with Playhouse on the Square, Hatiloo Theater, and is now working with The Orpheum to remount his one-man show on the life of Frederick Douglass, which has toured the U.S. His film credits include Nothing but the Truth, his film 100 Lives, and he also directed Love Choice, a movie dealing with HIV. Darius is a TSC company member.
Jessica Elizabeth Weaver (servingperson) TSC: Romeo and Juliet (assistant stage manager) and two-year Groundling member. Local theatre: I Never Saw Another Butterfly (stage manager, assistant director), Best of Broadway Dinner Theatre (stage manager), Heroes and Villains Dinner Theatre (stage manager), and Frankenstein.
Taylor Wood (Assistant Stage Manager) is a native Memphian. Taylor has a degree in Theatre Performance from the University of Mississippi. Taylor can be seen in the upcoming Playhouse production of The Lyons.
* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
+ Member of The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent national labor union.