Boston, MA — Boston, MA — Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) and Artistic Director Steven Maler, are thrilled to announce the cast and creative team for William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (directed by Steven Maler), starring the great Shakespearean actor John Douglas Thompson in the role of Prospero. Performances will begin on The Boston Common on Wednesday, July 21 at 8PM with press opening on Wednesday, July 28 at 8PM, and end on Sunday, August 8.
Boston Ballet principal dancer John Lam plays the role of Ariel, joining the previously announced cast of Siobhan Juanita Brown (Gonzala), Remo Airaldi* (Antonio), Nora Eschenheimer* (Miranda), John Kuntz* (Trinculo), Nael Nacer* (Caliban), Richard Noble (Alonso), Maurice Emmanuel Parent* (Sebastian), Fred Sullivan (Stephano), and Michael Underhill (Ferdinand). The Ensemble includes Ekemini Ekpo, Duncan Gallagher, Jessica Golden, Marta Rymer and Dylan C. Wack.
Scenic Design is by Tony Award winner Clint Ramos (Hamlet 360, Birdy, Death and the Maiden) and Jeffrey Petersen (A Christmas Carol, Birdy), Costume Design by Nancy Leary (Blue Kettle and Here We Go, Twelfth Night, Our American Hamlet), Lighting Design by Eric Southern (Cymbeline, 12th Night, Richard III), Sound Design by composer/songwriter/sound designer David Reiffel (Man of La Mancha at New Repertory Theatre) and Choreography by dancer/choreographer Levi Philip Marsman (Urbanity Dance and the Ailey Extension Program).The production is directed by CSC Artistic Director Steven Maler.
With the safety of our artists, staff, and audiences at the forefront of decision-making, there will be a number or adjustments to this year’s offering. The production will be streamlined to allow for an intermission-less performance. The production will remain free, but due to expected capacity constraints, attendees will be asked to register ahead of time. In addition, audience size will be limited in accordance with capacity, social distancing, and masking requirement guidelines from theatre unions, as well as the city and state. Registration will open the week of June 21st.
The Accessibility program dates are:
*Open Captioning: July 31
*Audio description and ASL interpreted performances: August 1 and August 6
*Rain Date for all Access services: August 8
About the Acting Company principals:
Remo Airaldi (Antonio) has appeared with CSC in Cymbeline, Richard III, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentleman of Verona, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Comedy of Errors, and The Taming of the Shrew. He has appeared in over sixty productions at the American Repertory Theater, including Night of the Iguana, Oliver Twist (also at Theatre for a New Audience and Berkeley Repertory Theatre), and Island of Slaves (IRNE Award—Outstanding Actor). Other credits include Shakespeare in Love (SpeakEasy Stage), Murder on the Orient Express, Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Foxes, My Fair Lady, and Sweeney Todd (Lyric Stage), Exposed (Boston Playwrights’ Theater), Mistero Buffo (The Poets’ Theatre), Frankenstein and The Hound of the Baskervilles (Central Square Theater),The King of Second Avenue (New Repertory Theatre) and productions at Hartford Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, Cirque du Soleil, American Conservatory Theater, Walnut Street Theatre, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. He teaches acting, improvisation, and public speaking at Harvard University.
Siobhan Juanita Brown (Gonzala) played Titania in CSC’s first production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1996), Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (1997), Olivia in Twelfth Night (2001), and The Widow in All’s Well That Ends Well (2011). She holds a BFA degree in Performing Arts and African American studies from Emerson College and is a graduate of the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Other credits include Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play at A.R.T., The Emancipation of Valet de Chambre at Cleveland Play House, Studs Terkel’s American Dreams: Lost and Found with the Acting Company, Medea and Antony and Cleopatra for Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of A Negro with Brandeis Theatre Company. She has worked extensively in arts education as the former Associate Director of Education at Citi Performing Arts Center and Director of School & Teacher Programs at Actors’ Shakespeare Project, as well as teaching for the Strand Theatre, CSC, and the Acting Company. As a playwright Siobhan wrote A Piece of Silver based on recorded conversations with her maternal and paternal grandmothers who are Mashpee Wampanoag Indian and African American, respectively. She has worked with the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project since 2013 and is a member of the founding teaching team of Weetumuw Katnuhtôhtâkamuq, the Wôpanâak language and culture immersion school providing academic and Indigenous education using a Montessori pedagogy for decolonization and language reclamation.
John Kuntz (Trinculo) has appeared with CSC previously in Henry V, Hamlet and Twelfth Night. He is the author of over 15 full-length plays including Necessary Monsters, The Hotel Nepenthe, Starfuckers and The Salt Girl. As an actor, he has appeared with The Huntington Theater, A.R.T., SpeakEasy Stage Company among others. He is the recipient of five Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, a New York International Fringe Festival Award and a 2015 MCC Fellowship Award in Dramatic Writing. He is a lecturer in Theatre, Dance and Media at Harvard University, an Associate Professor at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and is the Artistic Director of The Derrah Theatre Lab.
John Lam (Ariel) has been a dancer since the age of four. A native of California, he began his professional career with the National Ballet of Canada at age 15 and was invited to join Boston Ballet in 2003. He became a soloist in 2008 and a Principal Dancer in 2014, performing in leading roles in BB’s productions, including multiple premieres. He was a finalist at the Seoul International Ballet Competition and a semi-finalist in the Helsinki International Ballet Competition; he is a recipient of a Princess Grace Fellowship. In addition to his stage work, he has produced several independent dance films, including Dance Is, Movement in Structure, She/I, The Air Before Me, and Moving Parts; receiving critical acclaim at international dance festivals including the San Francisco and the Portland Dance Film Festivals. He also is active as a creative director, choreographer, actor, arts advocate, and model.
Nael Nacer (Caliban) was seen recently in The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Equivocation (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Romeo and Juliet, A Doll’s House, Bedroom Farce, Awake and Sing!, Our Town (Huntington Theatre), Tiny Beautiful Things (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), Small Mouth Sounds, Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage),The Return (Israeli Stage),The Seagull and ChekovOS (Arlekin Players Theatre), True West, The Flick (Gloucester Stage), Constellations (Central Square Theatre), Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Intimate Apparel (Lyric Stage), A Number, Lungs (New Repertory Theatre), Rhinoceros, Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), and Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse). Nael is the recipient of Elliot Norton and IRNE awards, and is a resident acting company member of Actors’ Shakespeare Project.
Richard Noble (Alonso) has appeared previously with CSC as Edward IV in Richard III, Philario in Cymbeline, and Alonso in the script-in-hand online performance of The Tempest last summer. In Rhode Island he has appeared in numerous productions of the Perishable, Epic, Burbage, Gamm, and other theatres. In (much) earlier days he was seen in a couple of dozen productions at Wesleyan University, was a member of the Dartmouth Summer Rep, and frequently appeared with the Parish Players in Thetford, Vermont. Until his recent retirement he also performed daily as “Rare Materials Cataloger” in the Brown University Library.
Maurice Emmanuel Parent (Sebastian) is an award-winning actor, director, educator and mentor with 20 years of professional experience. He has over 40 credits at theatres across the nation and abroad. Local credits include the Huntington Theatre Company, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company, New Repertory Theatre, and Central Square Theater, winning two Elliot Norton Awards, three IRNE awards, and an ArtsImpulse Award. Parent has taught at Northeastern University, MIT, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Boston University and spent nearly 6 years as a Performing Arts Specialist in the Boston Public School System. Currently he is a full time Professor of the Practice in the Tufts Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. Parent is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective, “a black theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theater.” In its fourth season, “The Porch” has quickly become a well-respected voice in the Boston theatrical landscape.
Fred Sullivan (Stephano) is celebrating 15 seasons with CSC. His roles since 2007 have been Nick Bottom, Jaques (Norton Award winner), Ageon, Brabantio, Parolles, Menenius, First Gangster (Kiss Me Kate at the Hatch Shell) Malvolio (Norton Award nominee), Gloucester, Holoferness, Capulet, Buckingham and in 2019 he directed Cymbeline. Most recently, Fred appeared at the Lyric Stage Company as Tim in The Cake. He spent 35 seasons as a resident actor at Trinity Repertory Company in RI where he appeared in 128 plays and received Norton and IRNE awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in Blithe Spirit and His Girl Friday. His Trinity roles included Falstaff, Bottom, Oscar Madison, James Tyrone, Jr, Daddy Warbucks, Creon, Peer Gynt, Joe Pitt, Alfie Doolittle, Captain Hook, Scrooge and Harold Hill, and he directed Trinity Rep’s Shooting Star, A Christmas Carol and Boeing Boeing. Fred is a Resident Director for the Gamm Theatre (25 seasons) where he directed 30 productions including Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing (each twice) and Awake at Sing (Norton Award for Outstanding Production). As an actor at Gamm, he played Donny in American Buffalo, Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale and Mark Rothko in Red. Fred has also performed at NJ Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Berkeley Rep, and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. He is featured in the films: Vault, Mister Birthday, Agent Toby Barks and Almost Mercy. He teaches acting at Gamm and RISD.
Lauded by critics, John Douglas Thompson (Prospero) has been hailed by the New York Times “as one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation” and in The New Yorker, Thompson [is] “regarded by some people as the best classical actor in America.” John most recently appeared on Broadway in King Lear and the revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel. He also starred in the Huntington Theatre Company’s Man in the Ring (Elliot Norton Award) and in the titular role of the American Conservatory Theater’s production of Hamlet. He also co-starred in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare In the Park production of Julius Caesar. He received rave reviews for his performance in August Wilson’s Jitney, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Thompson’s other credits include The Father and A Doll’s House at Theater for A New Audience and Troilus & Cressida at The Public Theatre. Other Broadway credits include A Time To Kill, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington. John’s Off-Broadway credits includeThe Iceman Cometh (Obie and Drama Desk Awards); Tamburlaine (Obie and Drama Desk Awards); Satchmo At The Waldorf (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the NAACP Theatre Awards) at Westside Theater, ACT, Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts, Long Wharf Theater; King Lear at The Public Theater; Macbeth; Othello (Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award) at Theatre for a New Audience; The Forest; The Emperor Jones at Irish Repertory Theatre (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; Red Velvet, Othello, Richard III, and Mother Courage at Shakespeare & Co.; Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Barrymore Award); and productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, A.R.T. and Yale Repertory Theatre among others. Television credits include: For Life, Mare of Easttown, The Gilded Age, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Film credits include: 21 Bridges, 355, Let Them All Talk, Wolves, The Bourne Legacy, Glass Chin, Midway, and Malcolm X.
Michael Underhill (Ferdinand) is thrilled previously appeared at CSC in Cymbeline, Othello, Two Gentleman of Verona (u/s), Macbeth (CSC2), Richard III, and Romeo & Juliet (CSC2). He is a graduate from Northeastern University and a Boston born and bred actor. Additional roles include the title role in King John (Praxis Stage), Actor #1 in Hotel Nepenthe (Brown Box Theatre) and Joseph Surface in School for Scandal (Actors’ Shakespeare Project). Other regional credits include the Huntington Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Central Square Theatre and imaginary beasts.
About the Creative Team:
Steven Maler (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), where he has been directing Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common productions since 1996, including Richard III, Love’s Labour’s Lost, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well, Othello, The Comedy Of Errors, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Henry V, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Romeo & Juliet. Other CSC works include his critically acclaimed production of Naomi Wallace’s adaptation of William Wharton’s novel Birdy, Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden, the world premiere of Jake Broder’s Our American Hamlet, and the world premiere of Robert Brustein’s The Last Will. In collaboration with Boston Landmarks Orchestra, he directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the Overture and Incidental Music of Felix Mendelssohn, as well as concert stagings of The Boys from Syracuse and Kiss Me Kate at Boston’s iconic Hatch Shell. For CSC he has also directed one-night-only readings of iconic plays featuring Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie, Blair Brown, Tony Shalhoub, Brooke Adams, Leslie Uggams, David Morse, and Jeffrey Donovan among others. He conceived and directed Shakespeare at Fenway, an evening of Shakespeare scenes performed at Boston’s iconic Fenway Park, featuring Mike O’Malley, Neal McDonough, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Kerry O’Malley, Seth Gilliam, Zuzanna Szadkowski, Max Von Essen, Christian Coulson, Jason Butler Harner, and many others.
In collaboration with Google, he adapted and directed a first of its kind sixty minute virtual reality film of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, entitled Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, starring Jack Cutmore-Scott, Jay O. Sanders, Brooke Adams, and Faran Tahir. It is currently available for viewing on Boston public media producer GBH’s YouTube channel; for more information, visit www.wgbh.org/hamlet360.
Outside of CSC, he directed Maria, Regina D’Inghilterra for Odyssey Opera, Péter Eötvös’ operatic treatment of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (U.S. Premiere) and Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face for Opera Boston, The Turn of the Screw at New Repertory Theatre, Santaland Diaries and Chay Yew’s Porcelain at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Top Girls and Weldon Rising at Coyote Theatre, and The L.A. Plays by Han Ong at A.R.T. His New York City credits include the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Without You, written by and starring Anthony Rapp. The production has been seen in Boston, Edinburgh, Toronto, London, and Seoul.
He received the prestigious Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, as well as for Best Production for Twelfth Night and All’s Well That Ends Well; Outstanding Director, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Best Production, SubUrbia; Best Solo Performance, John Kuntz’s Starf***ers (which also won Best Solo Performance Award at New York International Fringe Festival). His feature film “The Autumn Heart,” starring Tyne Daly and Ally Sheedy was in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
Levi Philip Marsman (Choreographer) finished his dance training The Ailey School and was a member of Ailey II. His performance credits include Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Movements Dance Company in Jamaica, OrigiNation in Boston, Lula Washington Dance Theatre in Los Angeles, Reed Dance in Pittsburg, and PHILADANCO! In Philadelphia. He is currently on faculty at Urbanity Dance and in the Ailey Extension program at the Ailey School and has been Artist in Residence at the Boston Arts Academy, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Teacher In Residency for Urbanity Dance. As Choreographer he has created works for a number of institutions including Georgetown University’s Black Movements Dance Theatre, the Joffrey School, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, The Ailey School, Reed Dance, the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach, the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, among many others. He was a Contemporary Dance Silver Medalist of the 4th Seoul International Dance Competition, 2007 Young Professionals Awardee—Martha Hill Dance Fund, Best Performance at the 10th Annual Oakland Dance Festival in Michigan and first recipient of the 2016 Ballet Inc. Emerging Choreographer Award.
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.