FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 23, 2020
Contact: Katalin Mitchell
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
The Tempest Online
Thursday, August 6 at 7:00PM
Boston, MA — Due to the continued effects of COVID-19 on Boston and its community, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company recently postponed its production of The Tempest on the Boston Common to July 2021 (utilizing the same artistic and design team). Instead of the annual production on the Common, CSC will present an online script-in-hand performance on Thursday, August 6 at 7:00PM, as a benefit to support CSC’s 2021 production on the Boston Common, with the previously announced cast led by John Douglas Thompson* in the role of Prospero.
The performance will be free and open to the public on CSC’s YouTube channel and can be accessed via www.commshakes.org. There is a suggested donation of $20 to support the Company. Audiences joining the live stream will have access to audio descriptions of the visual components. There will be a separate recording that will include captioning and ASL interpretation of the performance, made available on the CSC website by Saturday, August 8 at 7:00 PM. Both the recording of the live performance and the ASL interpreted performance will be available on the CSC YouTube channel until Monday, August 10 at 7:00 PM.
John Douglas Thompson, extolled by the New York Times “as one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation,” was last seen on Broadway in King Lear in the role of Earl of Kent. In 2018, he co-starred in the two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical Carousel and the Huntington Theatre Company’s Man in the Ring, (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards). In 2017, he appeared in the title role of the American Conservatory Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet; and he co-starred in the highly publicized Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar (Caius Cassius). Thompson received rave reviews for his role as Becker in August Wilson’s Broadway play Jitney, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Other Broadway credits include A Time To Kill, Cyrano de Bergerac with Kevin Kline, and Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington. His Off-Broadway credits include: The Iceman Cometh with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Obie and Drama Desk Awards); Macbeth (title role); Othello (Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Joe A. Callaway Award), Tamburlaine (Obie and Drama Desk Awards),The Father, and A Doll’s House at Theater for a New Audience; Satchmo at the Waldorf (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the NAACP Theatre Awards) at the Westside Theater, ACT, Wallis Center for the Performing Arts, Long Wharf Theater; King Lear with Sam Waterston and Troilus & Cressida at The Public Theater; The Forest with Dianne Wiest at Classic Stage Company; The Emperor Jones at The Irish Repertory Theatre (Joe A. Callaway Award and Lucille Lortel, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations); and Hedda Gabler at New York Theatre Workshop. Regional credits include: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at Mark Taper Forum (Ovation Award); Antony and Cleopatra with Kate Mulgrew at Hartford Stage; Red Velvet, Othello, Richard III, King Lear, and Mother Courage with Olympia Dukakis at Shakespeare & Co.; Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at The Wilma Theater (Barrymore Award); and productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, American Repertory Theater, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Thompson’s film credits include Wolves; The Bourne Legacy; Glass Chin; Michael Clayton; Midway; Malcolm X; the upcoming 355 with Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyongo; and Steven Soderbergh’s Let Them All Talk with Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, and Lucas Hedges. Thompson’s television credits include “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” “Bull,” “Person of Interest,” “Madam Secretary,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU.” He is a Fox Fellow recipient; 2015 Samuel H. Scripps Award, for extraordinary commitment in promoting the power of language in classical and contemporary theatre; and a recipient of the 2013 Robert Brustein Award for sustained excellence in American theater.
Joining the cast as Ariel is Miguel Cervantes* who recently played the title role in Hamilton in the Chicago production and subsequently on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include If/Then, American Idiot, and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Boston audiences will remember many area performances, notably as Bat Boy at SpeakEasy Stage Company. He graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Musical Theater.
Maurice Emmanuel Parent* (Sebastian) and Siobhan Juanita Brown (Gonzala) also join the previously announced cast which includes Fred Sullivan, Jr.* as Stephano, Remo Airaldi* as Antonio, Nora Eschenheimer* as Miranda, actor/playwright John Kuntz* as Trinculo, Nael Nacer* as Caliban, Richard Noble as Alonso, and Michael Underhill as Ferdinand. Scenic Design is by Tony Award winner Clint Ramos and Jeffrey Petersen, Costume Design by Nancy Leary, Lighting Design by Eric Southern, and Sound Design by David Reiffel.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), best known for its annual free performances on Boston Common, is a non-profit theater organization founded in 1996, dedicated to artistic excellence, accessibility, and education. CSC’s Free Shakespeare on the Common has served over one million audience members over its 24-year history and has become a beloved summer tradition enjoyed by over 50,000 people annually. CSC also presents fully staged productions including past productions of the world premiere of Our American Hamlet, Beckett in Brief, Death and the Maiden, Old Money, Caryl Churchill’s Blue Kettle and Here We Go, and Naomi Wallace’s adaptation of William Wharton’s novel Birdy. In 2018 CSC created in partnership with Google a Virtual Reality (VR) experience of William Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet, entitled Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, released in partnership with Boston public media producer WGBH; it can be viewed exclusively on the WGBH YouTube channel. The video has been shown at multiple venues and educational institutions in the US and abroad. CSC also produces an annual “Theatre in the Rough,” semi-staged readings featuring some of the most acclaimed actors of our time, including Paul Rudd, Cote de Pablo, Denis O’Hare, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Chris Cooper and Marianne Leone Cooper, Tony Shalhoub and Brooke Adams, Anthony Mackie, Charles Busch, Leslie Uggams, among others. CSC fulfills its educational mission with actor-training programs for pre-professional and professional actors through the summer Apprentice program and CSC2, as well as its Stage2 performance series for middle and high school audiences. To learn more, visit commshakes.org or call 617-426-0863.