Community Engagement at Great River Shakespeare Festival
I've never been prouder or more profoundly moved by the work we created and the community we built in lifting Winona Story to its feet. This project was years in the making, involved the passions, talents, dedication, and faith of scores of people going the extra mile to make it happen. We had a cast of over 30 people, comprised of professionals and community members, ranging in age from 7 to 70. We built a theatre where there hadn't been one in a little over 72 hours. We had a stellar professional design team. We told stories...very important and challenging stories that moved people, made people laugh, and asked people to talk to their neighbors.
I'm eternally grateful to have been a part of this project.
Directing at UNC Chapel Hill with the Professional Actor Training Program
It's so nice to dive into a meaty text with talented early-career artists and that's what I've been doing this spring. I got to work with students in the Professional Actor Training Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.
We tackled Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House Part II. Ironic to be working on a play about marriage less than a month before my own wedding. The students did truly beautiful work. They should be proud. I sure am.
Coming up in summer, 2022
Back at my summer home, Great River Shakespeare Festival
I'm excited to direct TWO productions in Winona, MN this summer.
Since 2019, we've been developing a Community-Engaged Project with local Winonans. The pandemic, a curse and a blessing for this endeavor, upended our timeline but also encouraged people to connect after a year of hardship and isolation. I'm part of an amazing team of GRSF artists and community partners who spent the summer of 2021 gathering stories from locals about what it means to belong in Winona.We're collaborating to produce a new play inspired by those stories. I'm honored to get to direct it. All the Town's a Stage: A Winona Story will feature GRSF artists working alongside Winonans in all aspects of the production and performance. Our three performances will close GRSF's 2022 season. This project is very close to my heart and I can't wait to share it.
I am ALSO delighted to direct Twelfth Night, one of my favorites of Shakespeare's plays. We're planning original music, whimsical and vibrant design, hijinks, soul searching and love stories. I'm always moved by plays about flawed people figuring out what their best lives might look like, and that's certainly a big part of Twelfth Night.
The whole season at Great River Shakespeare festival is going to be awesome. If you're in the area, I hope you'll visit (and say hi!).
Information and tickets at grsf.org.
Puppets and swords and teenagers, oh my!
In a whirlwind, I returned to Connecticut Repertory Theatre this fall to direct Qui Nguyen's She Kills Monsters. UCONN happens to have one of the nation's premiere Puppet Arts programs, so this project was SO MUCH FUN to do. Coming-of-age drama meets epic dragon fight, with amazing young artists across the production. We rehearsed quickly to be able to perform outside (stupid pandemic) before Connecticut turned too chilly. This was the first live audience many of these actors had seen in over a year. The response was electric and heartwarming.
The Tempest is open at Great River Shakespeare Festival!
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote a great feature about the show.
Check it out HERE.
We run through August 1.
Get your tickets HERE!
Photo by Leila Navidi
The Tempest, live and IN PERSON! Wahoo!
Artwork by Molly Lyn
Through a mighty effort, Great River Shakespeare Festival is producing its 17th season this summer, working outside for the first time to keep everyone safe. We're performing in Winona's Levee Park and very excited to be right downtown. We've reimagined The Tempest for this new circumstance and it's going to be thrilling, thoughtful and full of heart. I'm particularly excited to get to work with the amazing Melissa Maxwell as Prospero.
If you're in the Midwest I hope you'll come and see. We open June 25th.
Tickets and information are here.
I'm back with Connecticut Repertory Theatre directing Men on Boats ONLINE this fall.
We're all on a dizzyingly steep learning curve figuring out how to tell this story live in virtual space. I'm SO PROUD of the work this team has done and the boldness of CRT for even proposing the idea. We've got a cast and crew working all over the country, we've never been in the same room together, and yet we've put together a compelling, funny, thoughtful play. I hope you'll check it out. We open October 9th.
For more information and tickets, please visit their website.
Men on Boats is BACK!
The 19th Amendment Project at Burning Coal Theatre Company
I'm so excited to be working again with Burning Coal Theatre in Raleigh, NC. They've commissioned 14 short plays by women and non-binary playwrights working locally nationally and internationally, each writing about the passage of the 19th Amendment and its enduring impact 100 years later.
Burning Coal has partnered with companies all over central North Carolina to produce the plays for an online festival, starting August 17th.
For more information and tickets, please visit their website.
Here's my response to a community question about some of the decisions we make in the theatre when conceiving a production. Great River Shakespeare Festival has been posting questions and answers from members of their community and company all summer as part of their #GRSFEverywhere pandemic-era programming.
Something to make you smile
Shakespeare's Test Kitchen
Great River Shakespeare Festival has been producing a web series "Shakespeare's Test Kitchen" as a way to connect, cook, nerd out and smile a little during this crazy time. My partner, Jon Finnegan, and I made an episode. Please enjoy.
An almost-opening and a show postponed one year
Like all of us in the theatre community, my professional life has been shaken up this spring. Our production of Men on Boats at Connecticut Repertory Theatre almost opened but the campus at UCONN, where CRT lives, closed for in-person events just as we finished tech rehearsals. The ensemble of actors, designers and technicians rallied to make a single performance possible for ourselves and our close colleagues. It was a special, heart-felt event and I'm proud to have been a part of it.
Great River Shakespeare Festival has postponed their 17th season one year, so I hope to see all of you in Winona in the summer of 2021 to see The Tempest. I'm very excited about what's in store.
Meanwhile, I'm safe and healthy and able to ride out this storm with people who love me. I'm feeling pretty lucky. Stay safe, all. Here's to whatever we make next.