WELCOME MESSAGE FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Welcome to Southwest Shakespeare Company’s Spring Rep – O WONDER! We are so pleased to be back at MAC after, well you know.

In a year of big news, the most exciting is the arrival of our new Artistic Director, Debra Ann Byrd. When you see her, please say hello.

Debra Ann began her career in Harlem where she was Producing Artistic Director and founder of two acclaimed performing arts companies: Take Wing And Soar Productions and Harlem Shakespeare Festival. Of late DAB has been touring the world with her solo show, a tour that kicked off with us during her three year term as SSC Artist-in-Residence. Venues included Lincoln Center summer 2021 as well as Prague Shakespeare in the Czech Republic. As a Board member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association, recipient of the prestigious Sidney Berger Award, a fellow at The Folger Institute, Columbia University and Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Debra Ann brings a wealth of expertise and skill to our company.

We couldn’t be happier and are poised to announce our 2022/23 Season. Before we do, please join us for both THE TEMPEST and TONY® and Olivier Award winning FARINELLI AND THE KING at MAC. Then come see SHALL I COMPARE THEE: THE SONNETS and MOJADA: A MEDEA IN LOS ANGELES at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in North Scottsdale. There is no short cut. If you would like to see us have a healthy future we need you to come!

Of course, if you feel inspired to give us a lift, we always appreciate your support. Every seat in the house is subsidized to help keep tickets affordable to everyone. Our largest audience is students. Each student ticket is subsidized by a least $58. We have no sponsorship for our Educational programming. We must raise the funds ourselves. Seeing a live classical play increases engagement in school by 40% and improves comprehension, critical thinking, and empathy by up to 90%.

And remember our “surround events”: the Flachmann Seminar March 5, Directors’ Orientations 45 mins before each show, Talkbacks with the cast after the Sunday Matinees, and our streaming film, the true story of Stephano – check out our website for more details @ SWShakespeare.org

Thank you for joining us in a noble mission. And enjoy the show!

Good wishes,


Mary Coleman Way
Executive Director

EXPLORE THE TEMPEST

Select an option below to learn more about THE TEMPEST

For me, The Tempest is a play about forgiveness: why we forgive someone,  and how difficult it can be.

Prospero spends twelve years in isolation on an island, achieving everything in  the field of magic that he could possibly desire – and it still isn’t enough. He has  sacrificed his Dukedom for it, neglected his duties as ruler, and been exiled.  And at the end of our play he ‘’breaks his staff and drowns his books”,  renouncing his magical power in favor of…..what? And why?

Perhaps because his responsibility to his daughter, Miranda, is greater than his  attraction to the magical world, or possibly because all the magic he’s learned  hasn’t resulted in healing the pain of his brothers’ betrayal. Or because there’s more to his life than just the island and magic. These are questions the play asks.

And of course, in the last act, Prospero forgives his brother, knowing that his  brother has not changed, reformed, apologized, or regretted his behavior. So  why does Prospero forgive him? Shakespeare may be pointing out that  forgiveness is for the ‘victim’s’ own soul, and has little to do with the behavior of  the perpetrator of the offense. And by that forgiveness, not based on his  brother’s behavior at all, Prospero is freed from his isolation, his island, and  allowed to return to the world.

Spencer Beckwith
FERDINAND

Bonnie Beus Romney
ARIEL

Elizabeth Broeder
GODDESS

Jim Coates
GONZALO

Tim Shawver
TRINCULO

Bronwyn Elizabeth
MIRANDA

Keath Hall
PROSPERO

Mace Archer
ANTONIO

Eric Banks
STEPHANO

Rita Liegl
GODDESS

Megan Lindsay
GODDESS

Angel Lopez
SEBASTIAN

Christina McSheffrey
MIRANDA/GODDESS

Joshua Murphy
ALONSO

Ben Harris
CALIBAN

Nathan Gayan
ADRIAN

THE CREATIVE TEAM

INGRID SONNICHSEN … Director

SUSAN WILLIS … Dramaturg/Flachmann Seminar

DENNITA SEWELL … Costume Designer

JULIANA JACKSON … Hair and Makeup Designer

TOM HOLMBERG … Scenic Designer

PETER BISH … Sound Designer

BRET G. REESE … Lighting Designer

BEAU HECKMAN … Props Designer

KEATH HALL … Fight Choreographer

TREASURE TREASURE … Composer

RITA LIEGL, BOB LIEGL, SEAN SWEENEY, STACEY WALSTON, DYLAN PRENTIS, ANGEE LEWANDOWSKI … Painters

THE PRODUCTION TEAM

STACEY WALSTON … Director of Production

KATE WEIR … Production Stage Manager/LBO

EMMY ANTILLION … Asst. Stage Manager/SBO

DYLAN PRENTIS    … Asst. Stage Manager

ANGELA KABASAN … Production Assistant

SOUTHWEST SHAKESPEARE STAFF

MARY WAY … Executive Director

DEBRA ANN BYRD … Artistic Director

STACEY WALSTON … Director of Production

JANINE DONNOVAN … Payroll & Finance

STEVE ABAROA…Education Director

SUSAN FREESTONE…Education Liaison

MACE ARCHER (Antonio) currently serves as residential faculty at Mesa Community College where he teaches performance courses in Mesa, AZ.  Originally from Billings, MT, Mace founded Venture Theatre, where he served as artistic director for 15 years.  Leaving Venture Theatre, Mace went on the road, directing and acting across the country.  Favorite acting roles include Captain Walker in Tommy, Higgins in Pygmalion, and Hamlet.  Favorite directing projects include Spring Awakening, Our Country’s Good, and Bug.  This is Mace’s first production with Southwest Shakespeare.

ERIC BANKS (Stephano) This is Eric Banks’ first show with SSC and he is super excited about this production. He won best supporting actor in a dramatic play for his portrayal of Valdez in Jesus Hopped the A Train at the Mesa Encore Theater. Eric is no stranger to the stage around the valley.  His most recent roles have included Murray in The Odd Couple, Doc in Crimes of The Heart or Detective Baylen in Glenn Gary Glenn Ross.  Eric’s talents can also be seen on screen.  He has appeared recently in the documentary The Heist. His television and movie credits include Law Abiding Citizen, True TV’s Forensic Files DOUBLE CROSS, Bring on The Rain, Runners, and Faye’s Redemptions.

SPENCER BECKWITH (Ferdinand) is thrilled to for his second show at Southwest Shakespeare after playing Rosencrantz/Horatio in Hamlet last fall. He’s grateful for the hard work put in by so many to bring the arts to life and for those who come support them. Thank you!

ELIZABETH BROEDER (Goddess) is so honored to be a member of this cast. Her recent theatre credits include: Henry V with Ronin Theatre Company, Hamlet (Educational Tour) with Southwest Shakespeare Company and The Wolves with Stray Cat Theater. She received the Broadway World Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Jordan ” in Stage Left Production’s The Great Gatsby and was nominated for BWW’s Performer of the Decade for her role as Wytch in Macbeth with Southwest Shakespeare Company. She is an Artistic Associate with iTheatre Collaborative and a Core Company Member of Southwest Shakespeare Company. She sends all of her love and gratitude to mom, dad, Sarah, John, Johnny, Jake and Charles.

JIM COATES (Gonzalo) has enjoyed creating over three score characters in more than three dozen theater productions for Southwest Shakespeare Company since 2007.  He also acts with Don Bluth’s Front Row Theatre and is a founding member of Arizona Curriculum Theater and Chicago’s Child’s Play Touring Theatre. Additionally, Jim is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique (“psycho-physical re-education”).  For more, check out Doc’s web sites: www.jimcoatesactor.com and www.actsup.com.

BRONWYN ELIZABETH (Miranda / Goddess) is graduating early this spring with a BA in Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State. Being in The Tempest has long been a dream for her, and working in this incredible company has been rewarding beyond belief. She is currently portraying Ophelia in the SWS educational tour of Hamlet, and understudying Isabella in Farinelli and the King. Her other work in the company involves portrayal of Silvia (Two Gentlemen of Verona), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), and Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Other onstage work includes Hedda (Hedda Gabler), Jane (HEDDATRON!), and Theodosia (The Snow) through ASU. Words cannot express the privilege of performing alongside, learning from, and creating with the incredible artists in this community

NATHAN GAYAN (Adrian) is an actor based out of Mesa, AZ, and is honored to be a core company member at Southwest Shakespeare Company. It’s been a great journey working with this remarkable cast and crew and we can’t wait to share this storm with everyone!”

KEATH HALL (Prospero) has been an actor/director/fight choreographer and technician for the last 20 years. Originally from San Diego, he holds a BA in History from SDSU and an MA in Literature from NAU. Last year he played Orson Welles for The Don Bluth Front Row Theatre, McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest at Starlight Community Theatre, and directed Henry V for Ronin Theatre Company. Thank you to Southwest Shakespeare for the many great opportunities; from this to meeting my wonderful wife. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”- Frederick Douglas

BENJAMIN HARRIS (Caliban) is ready to share the island wonders as the malicious Caliban! A Zoni nominated classical performer, teaching artist, and you’ll also find him “Lording” at Medieval Times in Scottsdale and immersing himself into books, gaming, and the gym. Other Valley stages include: JC Films, Childsplay Inc, Actor’s Youth, Hale, Don Bluth, Mesa Encore, Scottsdale Musical, Fountain Hills, Mesa Encore, and Brelby Theatres. Unending thanks to his grandfather, family and SW Shakespeare! BFA Classical Theatre, BS Management; Southern Utah University.

RITA M. LIEGL (Goddess) native Detroiter, has many favorite roles, including Madame Thenardier/Les Miserables (twice), Sally Bowles/Cabaret, Princess Winnifred/Once Upon a Mattress, Baker’s Wife/Into the Woods and Miss Shingle/Gentleman’s Guide.  Some of her favorite directing experiences include Into the Woods (MET), Assassins, Streetcar Named Desire, and Once On This Island. She is the producer for the movie, Killing of Emmett Till. Endless thanks Bob, Ben, Megan, Sean, Stacey, Beau, Kosmo, Dexter, and Winston.

MEGAN LINDSAY (Goddess) is an actor and drama teacher in the Valley who loves developing classical theater programs for children. While many delightful shows were added to her repertoire over Zoom during lockdown, Megan’s recent stage credits include Worcester in Henry IV, Part 1, Conrade in Much Ado About Nothing, Nerissa in Merchant of Venice (Southwest Shakespeare Company), Nurse in Romeo & Juliet, and Olivia in Twelfth Night (Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival).

ANGEL LOPEZ (Sebastian) is a performer and general practitioner of “being-in-the-moment” though he sometimes stumbles as both. His previous roles include The Old Sheep and The Living Toy in the immersive, award-winning “Curiouser & Curiouser” series at TheaterWorks. He would like to thank his family, mentors, and Inner Circle of Trusted Misfits—Giselle, Huberto, Megan, and Nick. Additional shoutout to Shakespeare and Ingrid Sonnichsen for creating space for the players to play.

CHRISTINA MCSHEFFREY (Miranda / Goddess) Christina is so excited to return to Southwest Shakespeare Company-in person! Previous credits include Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard II. She loves her supportive family, her grumpy cat, and all her cool cats and kittens (friends; you know who you are). B.A., Grand Canyon University

JOSHUA MURPHY (Alonso) is grateful to be one of the few, the lucky few, to be back on stage during these difficult times. He wonders what stories we’ll tell and how we’ll tell them in an increasingly fractured and digital world, but today he is overjoyed that you are here to share time and space with us as we tell our little tale.

BONNIE BEUS ROMNEY (Ariel) Southwest Shakespeare Core Company Member with appearances in Hamlet (Hamlet/Gertrude), Henry IV, Pericles, Frankenstein and Ladies in Waiting: The Judgment of Henry VIII. Local and regional credits with Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Childsplay, The Bridge Initiative and Hale Theater (CA, UT and AZ). Most recent local appearance as Bertha Hunt in Phoenix Theatre’s The Hello Girls. Thanks to Mary, Stacey and Ingrid for this wonderful opportunity.

TIM SHAWVER (Trinculo) is a third generation Phoenician returning to Southwest Shakespeare from productions of Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard III. He’s appeared in or directed 100+ plays and musicals in the Valley including work at Arizona Broadway Theatre, Childsplay, Actors Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company, Stray Cat Theatre, A/C Theatre Company, and Black Theatre Troupe.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Playwright) was a renowned English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre. His plays are perhaps his most enduring legacy, but they are not all he wrote. Shakespeare’s poems also remain popular to this day. Altogether Shakespeare’s works include 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems. No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today. It is actually thanks to a group of actors from Shakespeare’s company that we have about half of the plays at all. They collected them for publication after Shakespeare died, preserving the plays. These writings were brought together in what is known as the First Folio (‘Folio’ refers to the size of the paper used). It contained 36 of his plays, but none of his poetry. Shakespeare’s legacy is as rich and diverse as his work; his plays have spawned countless adaptations across multiple genres and cultures. His plays have had an enduring presence on stage and film. His writings have been compiled in various iterations of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which include all of his plays, sonnets, and other poems. William Shakespeare continues to be one of the most important literary figures of the English language.

INGRID SONNICHSEN (Director) Ingrid Sonnichsen has been an actress for over fifty years:   Broadway (Best Friend), Off-Broadway (Dylan, Measure for Measure) and in numerous regional theaters nationwide (the Guthrie, the Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf, the Huntington, ART, the Charles, Ford’s Theater, etc.)  She has appeared in national commercials, taught acting in Japan, directed in South Africa (WE and Them), and has been teaching acting at Carnegie Mellon since 1995.  She taught previously at Harvard – ART. This year the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette named FAR AWAY by Caryl Churchill, (w/ Ms. Sonnichsen) Pittsburgh’s Best Production-2021.

SUSAN WILLIS (Dramaturg) Dr. Susan Willis has led Flachmann seminars on Shakespeare since 2013. In Alabama, she has combined an academic career teaching Shakespeare at Auburn University at Montgomery with work as dramaturg, director, and MFA faculty member at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Her observations during the BBC’s 1978-85 televising of the complete Shakespeare canon led to The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon (1990).

DENNITA SEAWELL (Costume Designer) the founding Program Director and Professor of Practice of Arizona State University’s BA Fashion program in the School of Art and teaches courses on Contemporary Fashion.  For nearly two decades prior, Sewell served as Phoenix Art Museum’s curator of fashion where she organized more than 50 exhibitions on subjects ranging from motorcycle jackets to haute couture designers.

TOM HOLMBERG (Scenic Designer) Tom is an award-winning designer and the co-founder of Phoenix Lighting and Audio, with over 20 years in the industry. He holds a BA in Theatre from Arizona State University. An Arizona native Tom is proud to be part of the return of live events in Arizona following the hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is grateful to once again be sharing his talents with Southwest Shakespeare Company for both Farinelli and the King, and The Tempest.

JULIANA JACKSON (Hair and Makeup) I am thrilled to be invited to design hair and make up for Southwest Shakespeare Company’s production of The Tempest! Hair and Makeup designs for past shows include: Into The Woods (AriZoni winner), The Lion King (AriZoni nominee), Cats (AriZoni winner), Beauty and the Beast, Annie, MET winner), The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and Bonnie and Clyde. Thank you to my wonderful family and friends! 143

TREASURE TREASURE (Composer) is a multidisciplinary artist working in music, theater, visual art and the written word.  She holds a BFA from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.  Her debut EP, ‘HYPNEROTOMACHIA’ is set for release on all platforms in Spring 2022.  IG: @manifestingtreasure

KEATH HALL (Fight Choreographer) See Cast

BEAU HECKMAN (Props Designer) See Cast

DYLAN PRENTIS (Assistant Stage Manager / FARINELLI) is a graduate of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He has recently stage managed We Cried Long Before the Teargas (Cadenza Theatre), Barefoot in the Park (Mesa Encore Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Mesa Encore Theatre), Annie Jr (Mesa Encore Theatre), Into the Woods (Mesa Encore Theatre) and Trade, Trade Love (Arizona State University).

ANGELA KABASAN GONZALES (Production Assistant / TEMPEST) previously AD’d for Stray Cat’s Bright Colors and Bold Patterns. At MCC’s Gin Mummy, she played Aunt Normandy that secured her nomination to compete at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. She also performed in Tier5 Theatre Co’s production Fairytales from Home. After Tempest, she is looking forward to performing in Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles as Armida. Love/Thank you to Mark, Bailey, Ingrid, Kate, cast, crew, and her doggos!

DEBRA ANN BYRD (Artistic Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Take Wing And Soar Productions and the Harlem Shakespeare Festival in New York City. She has been named Writer-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Artist- in-Residence Fellow at the Folger Institute, an A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholar at Columbia University, a Virtual Artist-in-Residence at The Center at West Park, and Artist-in-Residence at Southwest Shakespeare Company.  Byrd’s career as an actor, producer, scholar, arts manager and business leader has been recognized with more than 20 awards and citations, including the NAACP Shirley Farmer Woman of Excellence Award, the LPTW (Lucille Lortel Award), and the Josephine Abady Award for Excellence in “Producing works that foster diversity.” She is also the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Sidney Berger Award presented to her by the Shakespeare Theatre Association for her work as a lover of Shakespeare, an accomplished actor, director, artistic director and producer, an innovator and charismatic leader of a Shakespearean theater throughout the world.

MARY COLEMAN WAY (Executive Director) currently serves as Executive Director at Southwest Shakespeare Company.  She has been with the theatre company for 7 years. Recently she has added the Artistic Directorship of Fit Via Vi Film Productions to her list of responsibilities.  Prior to that she served for 7 years as Co-Chair of ASU Gammage, one of the largest presenting theaters in North America.  While living in Japan, Mary was Chair of the CWAJ Print Show, the world’s largest exhibition and sale of Japanese Contemporary Prints, Tokyo, Japan.  And while living in the UK she served on the Development Board of London City Ballet, London, UK.  She began her career as a television field producer for NBC and later an on-air host for PBS. She is a trained classical singer and theater-maker — Is a member of the Lord’s Taverners in London — and is the recipient of a Governors’ Arts Award in Arizona.

SOUTHWEST SHAKESPEARE COMPANY (Producer) Now celebrating its 28th season, Southwest Shakespeare Company has been the standard-bearer for classical theatre in Arizona. Founded on a Mission to educate, elevate, entertain, and inspire the communities of the Southwest, SSC has transformed itself from a small, inspired company of local artist/educators into a theatrical institution of the American Southwest.  In its quarter-century SSC has expanded the classical audience in the Phoenix area beyond its home in Mesa to the communities and venues of Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix-proper, Peoria and more. In recent years SSC has even brought the larger world of the theatre to Arizona, hosting and presenting classical, literary-themed productions from across the country and around the world; from the Harlem Shakespeare Festival to the Fringe Festivals of Los Angeles and London, England. SSC is now, and always has been, a company guided by the theatrical vision of William Shakespeare: utilizing simple theatricality to cultivate audience imagination and participation in the fundamental human act of storytelling. These original principles are the reason for our formation, the blueprint for our future, and the story of our history.


EXPLORE FARINELLI AND THE KING

Select an option below to learn more about FARINELLI

A superstar and a ‘mad’ King

The power of music versus the dark night of the soul  

The superstar castrato Farinelli – the Michael Jackson of the 18th century – and the King of Spain share childhood traumas. King Philip V is considered ‘mad’ by his Chief Minister and unfit to govern.  He is subjected to cruel treatment methods. Queen Isabella hears Farinelli in an opera in London.  It is a life changing experience for her. She is convinced that his singing will cure the King, and invites him to Madrid to sing to her husband. Will Farinelli be able to pull the King back from the abyss? 

With our cast of experienced Shakespeareans, countertenor Miles Romney and Music Director Sergio Freeman Osuna we have been exploring issues that are just as potent now as they were 280 years ago: mental health issues, childhood trauma, fragmentation of the mind leading to domestic violence, a passionate love triangle intensified by the beauty and sensuality of Handel’s music. Will Farinelli succeed in healing the King? 

It is an honour to be working with Southwest Shakespeare and its fine cast, creatives, crew and musicians. I would like to pay tribute to actor Alison Sell who had contributed much to the creative process and sadly had to pull out of the production. We are very fortunate indeed to have Melody Knudson step in and take over at short notice and make the role her own.

I’d like to thank the Director of Production Stacey Walston, AD Ashley Cuellar and stage manager Emmy Antillon for valiantly steering the ship while I was Zoom directing it from Australia. This would never have been thought possible before the Pandemic.

THE CAST

Miles David Romney
FARINELLI

Beau Heckman
KING PHILLIP V OF SPAIN/TAILOR

Melody Knudson
QUEEN ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Jim Coates
DE LA CUEDRA, CHIEF MINISTER OF SPAIN

Gustavo A. Flores
JETHRO/MIGUEL

Brandon Gray
DR. CERVI

Ben Tyler
JOHN RICH

Gigi Ora Romney
FARINELLI AS A BOY CHORISTER

 

ON STAGE MUSICIANS

Sergio Freeman
MAESTRO – PIANO/HARPSICHORD

Hannah Shute
CELLO

Sonja Prychitko
VIOLIN

Jacob Clark
VIOLIN

Iris Yang
VIOLA

 

THE CREATIVE TEAM

FARINELLI AND THE KING

Written by CLAIRE VAN KAMPEN

Music by GEORGE FREDERIC HANDEL and NICOLA PORPORA, arranged by CLAIRE VAN KAMPEN. Additional Music by JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY and HANDEL, arranged by SERGIO FREEMAN OSUNA. Choir boy solo by GIULIO CACCINI

CARMEN JAKOBI … Director

SERGIO FREEMAN OSUNA … Music Director 

MACI HOSLER     … Costume Designer

CECE SICKLER, MACI HOSLER … Drapers 

VICTORIA WIDENER, BECKY GIBLIN, HAYLEY LAWSON … Stitchers

Special Thanks: Arizona Opera, The Phoenix Theatre Company, Costume Connections

MARY TOWNSEND-CAHOON … Hair and Makeup Designer

TOM HOLMBERG … Scenic Designer

JEFF BLAKE and RYAN SEVERT… Master Carpenter

BEAU HECKMAN … Props Designer

DYLAN PRENTIS, EMMY ANTILLION, STACEY WALSTON, BEAU HECKMAN … Carpenters

BRET G. REESE … Lighting Designer

COLIN CARTER … Video/Media/Sound Designer

STACEY WALSTON … Video Editing 

HILLARY CONRAD ZBYSZINSKI … Dance & Movement Choreographer

PHILIPPA WAITE … French Baroque Dance Consultant

JULIE WAITE … Rehearsal Pianist – November

KEATH HALL … Fight Choreographer

GUSTAVO A. FLORES … Fight Captain                                                

RACHEL FINLEY … Intimacy Coach

SIMON REES … Dramaturg, Surtitles Translator

BRANDON GRAY … Accent Coach

JOHN CORDINGLEY … Psychiatric Consultant 

THE PRODUCTION TEAM

STACEY WALSTON … Director Of Production

EMMY ANTILLON … Production Stage Manager

DYLAN PRENTIS … Assistant Stage Manager

MARISSA BECKETT … Run Crew

MARCO MONACCHIO … Sound/Video Op And Run Crew

WILL ROGERS     … Digital Media

NATALIE CLARKE, DABYRD … Marketing/Social Media

ROSE + ALLYN PUBLIC RELATIONS … Press and Public Relations

SOUTHWEST SHAKESPEARE STAFF

MARY WAY … Executive Director

DEBRA ANN BYRD … Artistic Director

STACEY WALSTON … Director of Production

JANINE DONNOVAN … Payroll & Finance

STEVE ABAROA…Education Director

SUSAN FREESTONE…Education Liaison

MILES DAVID ROMNEY (Farinelli) Miles David Romney’s favorite roles include Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, and Javert in Les Miserables. He recently appeared in Phoenix as “Sparky” in Forever Plaid, and annually plays the role of Bob Cratchit in Christmas Carol. With his wife and partners, Miles co-produces on Broadway; together, they have won over two-dozen Tony Awards for shows including Moulin Rouge, Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, and Christmas Carol.

BEAU HECKIMAN (King Phillip V of Spain/Tailor) is thrilled to be doing the Arizona premiere of this beautiful show.  Beau has been involved with Southwest Shakespeare Company for many years and has been seen in such valley favorites as King John, Hysteria, Equivocation, Pericles, and The Taming of the Shrew. Beau is the host of Story Time Classics Live for Southwest Shakespeare’s YouTube page and has also designed props for such SSC productions as Macbeth, The Mystery of Irma Vep, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard II.  Beau made his directorial debut this past season with the virtual production of Pericles, Prince of Tyr, and wrote, designed and starred in Legends Of! The Werewolf. Other Acting credits include: The Producers and Les Misérables for Phoenix Theatre; The Phantom of the Melodrama and the Holiday Extravaganza for the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano, California.  A very special thank you to Stacey Walston and all of Southwest Shakespeare Company for helping bring theater back.

MELODY KNUDSON (Queen Isabella of Spain) Melody is an Arizona native and is pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Grand Canyon University. She is researching religious trauma and women’s trauma issues and has created an educational trauma recovery curriculum.  She has been performing for Arizona audiences since 2013 and favorite roles include Mash in Stupid Fucking Bird, Ophelia in Hamlet, Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility and Babette in Sic.  Off stage, she enjoys reading and baking all manner of sweet treats.

JIM COATES (de la Cuedra, Chief Minister of Spain) has enjoyed creating over three score characters in more than three dozen theater productions for Southwest Shakespeare Company since 2007.  He also acts with Don Bluth’s Front Row Theatre and is a founding member of Arizona Curriculum Theater and Chicago’s Child’s Play Touring Theatre. Additionally, Jim is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique (“psycho-physical re-education”).  For more, check out Doc’s web sites: www.jimcoatesactor.com and www.actsup.com.

GUSTAVO A. FLORES (Jethro and Miguel) is a Phoenix based artist, and alumni of GCU’s College of Fine Arts and Production. A 3rd season underway with the Southwest Shakespeare Company, he’s currently rolling with the educational touring production of HAMLET. Notable past productions include COMPLETE WORKS (ABRIDGED) [SOCIALLY DISTANT]; HAMLET, MIDSUMMER, and AS YOU LIKE IT with Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival; RING ROUND THE MOON, MACBETH, ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS & THE TEMPEST at Ethington Theatre. Let’s get some catharsis going.

BRANDON GRAY (Dr. Cervi) recently graduated from ASU with degrees in Acting and Speech and Hearing Science. He hopes to continue stage acting while using Speech and Hearing knowledge to inform vocal/dialect coaching and voice acting. In addition to vocal/dialect coach work for Farinelli and the King, he is playing Marcellus in Southwest Shakespeare Company’s touring educational production of Hamlet while working his way through his first year of Graduate school at ASU.

BEN TYLER (John Rich) may be a familiar face to some long time Southwest Shakespeare patrons, and he’s delighted to be back. He’s appeared for SSC in productions of, London Assurance, The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Blythe Spirit. He’s also directed several productions for SSC. Ben is also a playwright who writes for the stage about Arizona. His works include, Guv: The Musical, Mr. Conservative, Escape From Papago Park, The Wallace & Ladmo Show and his latest, The Truth About Winnie Ruth Judd. A native of Arizona, he and his wife, Helen Hayes make their home in Tempe.

CLAIRE LOUISE VAN KAMPEN, LADY RYLANCE (Playwright/Composer) is an English director, composer and playwright. She composed the music for Mark Rylance’s 1989 performance as Hamlet and shared the 2007 Sam Wanamaker Award with him. Her composing credits include music for productions of the plays Days and Nights and Boeing-Boeing. In 2015, she was historical music advisor and arranger of Tudor music on the BBC TV series Wolf Hall. In 1986, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Royal National Theatre, the first female musical director with both companies. In 1990, she co-founded the theatre company Phoebus Cart with her husband Mark Rylance.  Since the opening of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 1997, van Kampen has been the Director of Theatre Music, creating both period and contemporary music for 30 of the Globe’s productions – including the ‘jazz’ Macbeth in 2001, and The Golden Ass in 2002, which contained a 30-minute opera Cupid and Psyche. In spring 2007, she received the Vero Nihil Verius award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts, conferred upon her by Concordia University in Oregon, United States. Together with Mark Rylance and Jenny Tiramani, she received the 2007 Sam Wanamaker Award for the founding work during the opening ten years at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Farinelli and the King is van Kampen’s historical play about the relationship between Farinelli, the castrato, and the Spanish King Philippe V, first performed at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February and March 2015, and at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End, London from September to December 2015, with Mark Rylance as Philippe V. It received six Olivier Award nominations including Best Play. 

CARMEN JAKOBI (Director) is equally at home in opera and in theatre. Associate Artist for Longborough Festival Opera UK. Opera productions include Tristan und Isolde, Longborough Festival Opera, Il Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera, Don Giovanni,2016, Winslow Hall Opera; John Harbison’s Full Moon in March at London Festival of American Music,  the world premiere of Nicola LeFanu’s Dream Hunter in Wales and London, both for Lontano; Tristan und Isolde semi-staged for Stavanger European City of Culture; Nicola LeFanu’s Dawnpath for Cardiff  Festival; for Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama: Luciano Berio’s Recital 1, Dimitris Maramis’s The Women of Troy – a chamber opera, Handel’s Tirsi Clori e Fileno,  Baroque opera projects, schools operas, opera scenes, Shakespeare projects, Stanislavsky projects; for Birmingham Conservatoire Monteverdi’s Orfeo; education projects for Welsh National Opera and Scottish  Opera. Theatre productions include Strindberg’s Miss Julie, Goethe Theater Frankfurt; many productions for her Cardiff company Triangle trilingual Theatre including Becket’s Waiting for Godot (in French) and Brecht’s Mother Courage and her children (in German).  She was Associate Director on Alan Privett’s and Anthony Negus’s legendary Der Ring des Nibelungen for Longborough Festival Opera 2013. Revival director for Stephen Medcalf’s Seraglio in Thessalonica Greece, having worked extensively in Italy assisting Stephen Medcalf on Die Zauberflöte and Seraglio, also in Valencia, Spain. For Opera Theater Pittsburgh, PA she assisted Jonathan Eaton on Jonathan Dove’s reduced Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Future productions: Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) opera by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Longborough Festival Opera 2022. Carmen is thrilled to be making her debut with SouthWest Shakespeare.

SERGIO FREEMAN (Music Director – Piano/Harpsicord) was born in Mazatlán, México and is currently Artistic Director and Conductor of the Orquesta del Teatro Ángela Peralta. He has conducted groups such as Enigma Ensemble, Orquesta Universitaria de Música Popular de la UV, and Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Veracruz from which he graduated with honors; his conducting mentors were Lanfranco Marcelletti Jr. and Gaetan Kuchta. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Musical Arts at Arizona State University and serves as assistant conductor of the ASU orchestras under the guidance of Jeffery Meyer. As a clarinetist he was principal clarinet of Camerata Mazatlán and has played with orchestras such as Orquesta Sinaloa de las Artes and Orquesta del Teatro del Bicentenario. As a pianist and vocal coach he collaborated with the Mazatlán opera studio and the Bellas Artes National opera studio in Mexico City. Particularly passionate about language and drama, he has served as rehearsal pianist and vocal coach at productions of operas such as Traviata, La Medium, L’elisir d’Amore, Don Giovanni, La Boheme, Tosca, Sour Angelica, Gianni Schicchi among others.

TOM HOLMBERG (Scenic Designer) Tom is an award-winning designer and the co-founder of Phoenix Lighting and Audio, with over 20 years in the industry. He holds a BA in Theatre from Arizona State University. An Arizona native Tom is proud to be part of the return of live events in Arizona following the hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is grateful to once again be sharing his talents with Southwest Shakespeare Company for both Farinelli and the King, and The Tempest.

MARY TOWNSEND CAHOON (Hair and Makeup Designer) is a local Hair and Makeup Designer and Actor, who has been working professionally in the valley for 6 years and has designed and performed in more than 12 Southwest Shakespeare productions. You may have recently seen her designing and starring in the premiere of “From Tidworth with Love”, hosted by Southwest Shakespeare in the Fall of 2021. She is also a Zoni Nominated designer for her work with special effects makeup and blood design. She has worked across the valley with theaters such as Phoenix Theatre Company, Stray Cat Theatre, Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, Mesa Encore Theatre, BLK BOX PHX, Theatre League, and Space 55. She is immensely excited to be returning to the wig room for another beautiful production, starring and created by so many talented and familiar faces. She would like to thank her husband, Andy, for all of his love and support both on stage and off. maryktownsend.com

HILLARY CONRAD ZBYSZINSKI (Dance and Movement Choreographer) Hillary is thrilled to be joining the creative team at Southwest Shakespeare Company. She was born and raised in the Phoenix Metro area, where she started her dance training at a young age. She continued her dance training at Oklahoma City University where she received her BPA in Dance Performance. Since graduation, she has taught at local studios all over the valley sharing her love and passion for the art of dance. Along with teaching children all styles of dance, she has choreographed several shows in the valley. Some of her favorite choreography credits include The Pajama Game, A Christmas Carol The Musical, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. All the love to John and her furry children, Gus and Hera, who put up with her crazy work hours.

KEATH HALL (Fight Choreographer) See Cast

BEAU HECKMAN (Props Designer) See Cast

DYLAN PRENTIS (Assistant Stage Manager / FARINELLI) is a graduate of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He has recently stage managed We Cried Long Before the Teargas (Cadenza Theatre), Barefoot in the Park (Mesa Encore Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Mesa Encore Theatre), Annie Jr (Mesa Encore Theatre), Into the Woods (Mesa Encore Theatre) and Trade, Trade Love (Arizona State University).

DEBRA ANN BYRD (Artistic Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Take Wing And Soar Productions and the Harlem Shakespeare Festival in New York City. She has been named Writer-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Artist- in-Residence Fellow at the Folger Institute, an A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholar at Columbia University, a Virtual Artist-in-Residence at The Center at West Park, and Artist-in-Residence at Southwest Shakespeare Company.  Byrd’s career as an actor, producer, scholar, arts manager and business leader has been recognized with more than 20 awards and citations, including the NAACP Shirley Farmer Woman of Excellence Award, the LPTW (Lucille Lortel Award), and the Josephine Abady Award for Excellence in “Producing works that foster diversity.” She is also the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Sidney Berger Award presented to her by the Shakespeare Theatre Association for her work as a lover of Shakespeare, an accomplished actor, director, artistic director and producer, an innovator and charismatic leader of a Shakespearean theater throughout the world.

MARY COLEMAN WAY (Executive Director) currently serves as Executive Director at Southwest Shakespeare Company.  She has been with the theatre company for 7 years. Recently she has added the Artistic Directorship of Fit Via Vi Film Productions to her list of responsibilities.  Prior to that she served for 7 years as Co-Chair of ASU Gammage, one of the largest presenting theaters in North America.  While living in Japan, Mary was Chair of the CWAJ Print Show, the world’s largest exhibition and sale of Japanese Contemporary Prints, Tokyo, Japan.  And while living in the UK she served on the Development Board of London City Ballet, London, UK.  She began her career as a television field producer for NBC and later an on-air host for PBS. She is a trained classical singer and theater-maker — Is a member of the Lord’s Taverners in London — and is the recipient of a Governors’ Arts Award in Arizona.

SOUTHWEST SHAKESPEARE COMPANY (Producer) Now celebrating its 28th season, Southwest Shakespeare Company has been the standard-bearer for classical theatre in Arizona. Founded on a Mission to educate, elevate, entertain, and inspire the communities of the Southwest, SSC has transformed itself from a small, inspired company of local artist/educators into a theatrical institution of the American Southwest.  In its quarter-century SSC has expanded the classical audience in the Phoenix area beyond its home in Mesa to the communities and venues of Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix-proper, Peoria and more. In recent years SSC has even brought the larger world of the theatre to Arizona, hosting and presenting classical, literary-themed productions from across the country and around the world; from the Harlem Shakespeare Festival to the Fringe Festivals of Los Angeles and London, England. SSC is now, and always has been, a company guided by the theatrical vision of William Shakespeare: utilizing simple theatricality to cultivate audience imagination and participation in the fundamental human act of storytelling. These original principles are the reason for our formation, the blueprint for our future, and the story of our history.

UPCOMING 2022 SPRING PRODUCTIONS