Tennessee Shakespeare Company opens spring season with magical THE TEMPEST
Second ‘Shakespeare in the Park' production at renovated Shelby Farms Park Amphitheatre
Memphis, Tenn. (March 15, 2012) - - - Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South's professional, classical theatre, will continue its Brave New World season with Shakespeare's final romance The Tempest, directed by Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary and co-produced with Shakespeare Walla Walla in Washington State. The Tempest is the second of the company's Shakespeare in the Park productions and will be produced outside, in the evenings, at the Wooden O Amphitheatre within Shelby Farms Park
The Tempest will be in previews April 11-12 and will run from April 13-22, 2012, in Memphis before travelling to Walla Walla, Wash., for a two-week run of that theatre's first professional Shakespeare co-production
Shakespeare's final full-length play about a usurped Italian Duke (Prospero, played by Johnny Lee Davenport) marooned with his young daughter on an uncharted island filled with music, spirits, and magic often borders on science fiction. When Prospero raises a tempest to run aground a ship carrying his usurping brother and royal lords on his island, a journey of redemption is followed through murderous motives, drunken clowns, and graceful love at first sight.
"And yet for the exoticness of Shakespeare's story," says McCleary, "it's a domestic tale of how forgiveness frees us all-particularly when wrathful revenge is a close alternative."
Likely written around 1611, as Shakespeare set his sights on a relatively early retirement, McCleary sees the play as a genuine, cumulative gift of his heart to the world. "It is a significant work of a man who may well have felt lost in anticipation of leaving his profession and returning home," added McCleary. "He gives us a feast of New Beginning, and at the center of the celebration are freedom and forgiveness."
Seven years after the playwright died, his actors printed The Tempest first in the 1623 First Folio of his works.
Tennessee Shakespeare Company's design, setting the play in the period it was written, includes an almost gymnastic set built to blend into its outdoor surrounds of hills, ramps, rock outcroppings, and high perches. Prospero's magic lights up the nighttime grounds with multi-colored orbs and spheres as he controls nature. The island talks back with music of cellos and melodic voices. The Renaissance Italian costumes harken to a period when adventurous seafaring had a mission of peopling the New World.
In addition to Boston's Johnny Lee Davenport (TSC's Othello, Oberon, King Duncan), other audience favorites returning to TSC's acting company are NYC's Wolfe Coleman (Stephano) and Gabriel Vaughan (Sebastian), Washington DC's Caley Milliken (Ariel), and Memphians Phil Darius Wallace (Alonso) and Michael Khanlarian (Gonzalo).
Alonso, the King of Naples, is returning from his daughter's wedding in Tunis. He is accompanied by his son Ferdinand, his brother Sebastian, and Antonio, the Duke of Milan. A Milanese courtier, Gonzalo, is also on board. The ship is wrecked in a storm and all the passengers and crew are thrown into the furious sea.
Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, and his teen-aged daughter, Miranda, are watching the shipwreck from an island. He tells her, for the first time, how they came to be on the island. Twelve years before, when he had been Duke of Milan, his brother Antonio, had usurped him, but with Gonzalo's help Prospero had escaped in a small bark with his baby daughter, Miranda, and his library of magic books. They had ended up on the island and Prospero had turned its only inhabitant, Caliban, a deformed and savage creature, into his servant. There are also spirits on the island. One of them, Ariel, had been imprisoned in a tree trunk by Caliban's mother, the witch, Sycorax, who afterwards died. Prospero used his magic abilities to rescue Ariel, and he made the spirit swear to serve him.
The ship's passengers are cast up on the island unharmed, and even their clothes are not wet or damaged. Alonso believes his son to be dead, but Ferdinand has landed on another part of the island. He encounters Miranda, and they fall in love at first sight. He is the first man, apart from her father and Caliban, whom she has ever seen. Prospero puts Ferdinand to manual labor, controlling all his movements with magic. Ariel pesters Prospero for her freedom, and Prospero promises it once she has successfully completed tasks for him, regarding the newcomers.
Ariel leads the party toward Prospero's cell. During this journey, Antonio and Sebastian plan to kill Alonso so that Sebastian can be king. Two other members of the party, Trinculo, the court jester, and Stephano, a drunken butler, are also wandering about on the island. Caliban recruits them to help him overthrow Prospero. They all get drunk then set off for Prospero's cell. Ariel reports the plot to Prospero.
Prospero has released Ferdinand and given his blessing to the marriage of the two young people. When the three would-be usurpers arrive at his cell, brightly colored clothes that have been hung out for them distract them. They are then chased away by a band of spirits who have taken on the form of dogs.
Ariel brings the party to the cell. Prospero renounces his magic and reveals himself. He forgives his brother and prepares to return to Milan to resume his dukedom. Miranda and Ferdinand are betrothed. It is discovered that the ship hasn't been wrecked after all and is safely anchored off the island. Ariel is set free. Caliban and the drunken servants also are forgiven.
In Summer 2011, TSC partnered with Shelby Farms Park Conservancy to renovate the park's wooded amphitheatre. TSC invested in safety and practical renovations to the site's infrastructure as part of its Phase One construction, which will allow multi-purpose producers and organizations to rent the space from Shelby Farms when not used by TSC.
Wed., April 11 at 7:30 p.m. (PREVIEW)
Thurs., April 12 at 7:30 p.m. (PREVIEW AND FREE WILL KIDS' NIGHT)
Fri., April 13 at 7:30 p.m. (OPENING)
Sat., April 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Sun., April 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., April 19 at 7:30 p.m. (FREE WILL KIDS' NIGHT)
Fri., April 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Sat., April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Sun., April 22 at 7:30 p.m. (CLOSING)
April 26 - May 6 at Shakespeare Walla Walla
Season Ticket/General Ticket Information
Single Tickets: On sale now. All performances are $25 in advance and $30 day-of-show.
Preview Tickets: All previews are $15 regardless of when purchased.
Seniors receive a 20 percent discount, and children 17 and younger are free on Thursdays during "Free Will Kids' Night."
Box Office/Administrative Offices
Located in the historic train depot at 2260 West Street, Germantown, Tenn.
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
NOTE: All performances are general admission; first come/first seated. Chairs are provided for all productions. Free parking. No refunds. Casts are subject to change. Pre-show picnics are welcome.
Shaleen Cholera (Boatswain/Lord) has worked with Tennessee Shakespeare Company since the fall of 2010 when he played Gratiano in Othello. Shaleen is a 2009 graduate of The University of The South, where he received his degree in Theatre Arts. Other Memphis acting credits: The Tempest and Twelfth Night. He also was part of The Living Theatre's production of Red Noir (world premiere) by Anne Waldman and Judith Malina. Shaleen was last seen in the films Love Choice and Bloody Homecoming (DAVED Productions). He would like to thank his family, friends, and colleagues.
Wolfe Coleman (Trinculo) Recent credits include Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), Southern Yuletide (Jim), and Macbeth (Macduff) at TSC; Winter's Tale (Clown), Romeo and Juliet (Paris), Measure for Measure (Lucio), and The Real Inspector Hound (Hound) at Shakespeare & Company, where he also has directed productions of Richard III and King Lear in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare for young actors. Wolfe is a writer of plays and screenplays, and is currently doing questionable and very slow work on a novel.
Matthew Crewse (Antonio) has appeared in Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and The Rebel Shakespeare and His Women. He served as music director for the first non-equity production of tick, tick...Boom! And has composed music for The University of Memphis, Playhouse on the Square, Amputation Films, and Chatterbox Audio Theatre. He teaches acting, voice, and stage combat in the Memphis area, has written two short plays: An American Parable and Snow White: A Fractured Fairy Tale, as well his first musical True Love Stalks (!). On Memphis stages, he has appeared in Parade, Noises Off, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It (Ostrander Nomination), Assassins, and Animal Farm (Ostrander Award). Matt earned a BFA from The University of Memphis, where he received the Dean's Creative Achievement Award for Theatre.
Johnny Lee Davenport* (Prospero), a veteran of stage and screen, appeared in TSC's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, and Macbeth. He has been a member of Shakespeare & Company for 20 years and has performed in 23 of the 37 plays in Shakespeare's canon. Johnny has performed for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, for the Second Age Theatre Company in Dublin, Ireland, and for more than 50 regional theatres across the U.S., including Seattle's ACT; Chicago's Steppenwolf, Goodman, Shakespeare Repertory, and Court Theatres; Orlando Shakespeare; Yale Rep; and The Shakespeare Theatre in D.C. Johnny won Boston's 2011 Elliot Norton Award for his performance in Broke-ology (William King) with the Lyric Stage Company and received a 2010 IRNE nomination for his performance in Vengeance is the Lord's (Parcel Sytes) with the Huntington Theatre Company.
Quinton Guyton (Caliban) is thrilled to be making his debut at Tennessee Shakespeare Company. Originally from Pontiac, Mich., Quinton attended the acting conservatory at DePaul University in Chicago. Some of his favorite roles include Michael in Tick, Tick...Boom! at Pegasus Players (BTAA nomination for Best Actor in a Musical), Benny in Rent! at NightBlue Theatre, Ben Blackman in Musical of the Living Dead at Cowardly Scarecrow, and Father in The Yellow Boat at Independent Theatre. A composer and playwright as well, Quinton is currently working on his second workshop of his new musical, Map's Cafe
Amelia Hammond (Miranda) hails from Washington, D.C. and is thrilled to be making her Tennessee Shakespeare Company debut. Regional credits include: As You Like It (Celia) with Virginia Shakespeare Festival, The Taming of the Shrew (Bianca) and Othello (Bianca) with Houston Shakespeare Festival, and Pericles (Marina) and The Servant of Two Masters (Clarice) with Georgia Shakespeare. Amelia received her MFA from the University of Houston, BA from Coastal Carolina University, and trained with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance.
Michael Khanlarian (Gonzalo) is a founding member of Tennessee Shakespeare Company and returns after appearing most recently as Ross in Macbeth and Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. Michael has worked as a performer, production assistant, and videographer for TSC. A graduate of the University of Memphis, he has been seen on the college stage in Einstein's Dreams (Ostrander Award) and The Diviners. During his time at the University of Memphis, Michael was selected to travel abroad to Arezzo, Italy, to study at the Academia dell'Arte where he was trained in Commedia. Some of his other credits include The Tempest (Prospero/Trinculo), Titus Andronicus (Saturnine), Othello (Iago), and Craig Brewer's $5 Cover.
Shawn Knight* (Stephano) is thrilled to be making his Tennessee Shakespeare Company debut. Based in Nashville, Shawn has performed at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Kentucky Repertory Theatre, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Synchronicity (Atlanta), and the Nashville Children's Theatre, ranked by magazine as one of the five best theatres for young audiences in the country. Shawn is also a playwright of two one-man shows based on the lives of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, several interactive murder-mysteries, and Henson, his first full-length play, developed at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre's Ingram New Works Lab under the mentorship of Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner, John Patrick Shanley. Shawn's favorite roles include Mozart in Amadeus, Horton the Elephant in Seussical, Wilbur in Charlotte's Web, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night.
Caley Milliken* (Ariel) International: Outcast Theatrix's The Dick & the Rose (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011). Regional credits: Constellation Theatre Company (Washington, DC) Women Beware Women; Tennessee Shakespeare Company: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Shakespeare & Company: Othello, Cindy Bella, The Ladies' Man, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Corning Classics: Much Ado About Nothing, Antigone. Also a classically trained dancer and choreographer, Caley's choreography credits include: Tennessee Shakespeare Company, KaTet Theatre, Purdue University, Skidmore College, and Shakespeare & Company. Caley has worked as a Visiting Professor of Theatre at Purdue University and also served as Training Programs Manager at Shakespeare & Company. Caley holds an MFA from the PATP at Purdue University. Purdue credits include Richard III and Noises Off.
Genesis Oliver* (Ferdinand) earned an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory where his credits include As You Like It, Ah Wilderness, Angels in America, ‘Tis Pity She's a Whore, and Man and Superman. Regional theatre credits include: Map of Heaven, 39 Steps, and A Christmas Carol at Denver Center Theatre Company; Dracula, Game On, Two or a Carload, The Greekest of Tragedies at Actors Theatre of Louisville; Othello at Seattle Shakespeare Company.
Gabriel Vaughan* (Sebastian) is a founding member of TSC, playing Silvius in the Company's inaugural production of As You Like It. Other TSC credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream and Themes from a Midsummer Night in collaboration with IRIS Orchestra. Favorite New York City theatre credits include: Ross, House of Desires, and The Shoemaker's Holiday with The Storm Theatre; Members of the Tribe with Act Out Productions; Present Tense at EST; and The Winter's Tale with Theater 1010. Favorite regional theatre credits include: Hamlet (Hamlet) with American Stage Theatre Company; King John, A Tanglewood Tale, and Much Ado About Nothing with Shakespeare & Company; Twelfth Night with The Two-Bit Players; Romeo and Juliet with Princeton Rep; and Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors with the Maine Shakespeare Festival. Favorite film credits include Chasing Butterflies and Ripped! with Ma & Pa Pictures, Dear Edward with Noisy Town Pictures, Meditations from North America with Lucky Productions, and Mona Lisa Smile.
Phil Darius Wallace (Alonso) is a founding member of TSC, where he most recently played Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, also As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Born in Flint, MI, he attended Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied theatrical arts. He then attended SUNY Purchase Theatre Arts School in New York. His first professional role was Caliban in The Tempest at Michigan's Shakespeare Festival. Later, he became a company member of Flint Youth Theatre where he performed various children shows. It was during this time that he wrote and produced a one-man show on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Fredrick Douglass. Darius began touring his one-man shows around the country, and he has now been seen in 48 states. Malcolm X received critical acclaim from the LA Times and LA Weekly. He was in the movie Nothing but the Truth with Kate Beckinsale and Matt Dillon, and he is currently in post-production on his own movie, 100 Lives, which he wrote, directed, and produced.
* Member Actors' Equity Association
Sona Amroyan (Costume Designer), originally from Armenia Yerevan, has served as the Wardrobe Supervisor at Opera Memphis for three years, where she has designed Cosi Fan Tutte, Orpheus, The Barber of Seville, and Tosca. She was Wardrobe Supervisor on Opera Memphis productions of Madam Butterfly, Aida, and Die Fledermouse. She has worked as a Wardrobe Assistant on Ballet Memphis productions of The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Firebird. Her design work on films include Year 64, Cigarette Girl, and Romance for Loneliness. As a Wardrobe Assistant on film, she worked on Walk the line, Nothing But the Truth, Help, Soul Men, and N-secure. Sona has worked on previous TSC productions as a seamstress, and she holds a Fashion Design degree from Armenian Open University.
Roger Hanna (Scenic Designer) is delighted join Tennessee Shakespeare Company this season. In New York City in the past year, he designed A Little Journey and What the Public Wants (Mint Theater), Falstaff, Sinners and Saints, and Don Giovanni (Mannes Opera), and Fyvush Finkel Live!, Two Brothers, and The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer (Yiddish Theatre). Upcoming NYC productions include Mary Broome (Mint Theater). This year Roger served as a visiting professor at University of Miami, where in addition to teaching he designed four productions including the world premiere of a new Tommy Tune musical, FIFTY*FOUR*FOREVER. Awards include a Drama Desk nomination, two Henry Hewes nominations, and a Lucille Lortel Award.
Matthew Strampe (Technical Director/Master Electrician) has been working as a professional theatrical designer and technician for the past 13 years. He started his professional career at The Lost Colony on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Since then, he has worked with many performing arts companies including Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, Ballet Memphis, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Arkansas Arts Center, Hendrix College, New Harmony Theatre, Harrell Theatre, Theatre Memphis, and the University of Memphis' Opera Department, to name a few. Matt was raised in South Dakota and educated at The University of South Dakota.
About Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare seasonally outdoors in rotating repertory; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally indoors and outdoors through the Southern Exposure series; and provides year-round educational and training programming. Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to create and sustain a classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare's works.