Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Announces the Cast and Creative Team
of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for
Free Shakespeare on the Common
July 19 – August 6
Boston, MA – Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) and Steven Maler, Artistic Director, announce the complete cast and creative team for this summer’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth on the Boston Common. Performances begin on July 19 and run through Sunday, August 6 at the Parkman Bandstand. The production will be available for press viewing from Wednesday, July 26 and is presented in partnership with the City of Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods, and Boston Chief of Arts and Culture, Kara Elliott-Ortega.
In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, an unexpected prophecy sends Macbeth on a quest to become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and prompted to action by his wife, Macbeth’s desire for power unleashes his unbridled hunger for power. This murderous tale explores the consequences of our choices when we lose our moral compass.
Actor, writer, director, and producer Faran Tahir* returns to CSC to play the title role. He received enthusiastic media and audience reception in the title role of Richard III on the CSC stage in 2019 and has recently completed the much-acclaimed run of The Kite Runner on Broadway.
The role of Lady Macbeth will be performed by stage, TV, and film actor Joanne Kelly* in her CSC debut, previously seen in Boston as Inge Morath in Fall at the Huntington Theatre. She recently starred in the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck set-in-Boston television show City on a Hill and was a cast member playing Juliet in the famed Canadian series Slings and Arrows.
The complete cast includes Marianna Bassham* as Malcolm, Jesse Hinson* as First Witch, Nael Nacer* as Macduff, Omar Robinson* as Banquo, Joe Penczak* as Duncan/Siward, Daniel Rios, Jr.* as Ross, Fred Sullivan Jr.* as Sergeant/Porter/Doctor, and Eviva Rose as Young Macduff. The ensemble roles are played by Lily Ayotte, Nick Baum, John Blair, Elijah Brown, Annika Burley, Alexa Cadete, Jack Greenberg, Jessica Golden, Bella Grace Harris, Cleveland Nicoll, and Xander Viera.
The creative team includes Direction by Steven Maler^, Scenic Design by Riw Rakkulchon**, Costume Design by Nancy Leary**, Lighting Design by Eric Southern** and Maximo Grano De Oro, Sound Design by Dewey Dellay** and David Remedios**, Fight Direction by Robert Walsh^, Intimacy Consultation by Jessica Scout Malone, Assistant Director Nikta Sabouri, Production Management by Jenna Worden, Stage Management by Brian Robillard*.
*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association
**Represented by United Scenic Artists Local USA 829 of the IATSE
^Denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
Performances of Macbeth will take place at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common and are FREE of charge. Audience members can bring blankets or chairs or can rent chairs in advance or on-site for $10, and are permitted to bring modest food items to consume at the show. Seats in the CSC Friends section will be available for reservation in late May along with your donation. Dinner-and-a-Show Packages will be available in partnership with Boston Chops Downtown Crossing.
CSC provides a range of accessibility services, including open captioning, assistive listening devices, and large print programs at every performance, and ASL interpretation and audio description at selected performances. Audio Description and ASL Interpretation will be offered Saturday, July 29, 2023, at 8:00 PM and ASL Interpretation on Friday, August 4, 2023 at 8:00 PM, with a Rain Date for Audio Description and ASL Interpretation at Sunday, August 6, 2023 at 8:00 PM. All Performances will be Open Captioned as part of our new Access Infrastructure Initiative, made possible through the generous support of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation.
Macbeth is supported by our generous sponsors and partners: Boston Chops, The Liberty Mutual Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Klarman Family Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ovation TV, Xfinity, Boston Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, GBH, EDGE Media Network, MeetBoston, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Downtown Boston BID, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, City of Boston Parks and Recreation, The Boston Globe, Suffolk University, DIG, The Newbury Boston, Vantage Graphics, MIX 104.1, Democracy Brewing, and Ben and Jerry’s.
About the principal cast members:
Marianna Bassham (Malcolm) returns to CSC after appearing as Desdemona in Othello and Viola in Twelfth Night. Other credits include Becoming Cuba (Huntington Theatre) and The Cherry Orchard with Actors’ Shakespeare Project where she is a resident acting company member. She is an IRNE and Elliot Norton award winner and has worked with SpeakEasy Stage, New Repertory Theatre, Elm Shakespeare, The Lyric Stage, and many others. Film: “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Olive Kitteridge”.
Jesse Hinson (First Witch) CSC: Iachimo (Cymbeline). Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Christmas at Pemberley. Speakeasy Stage: Shakespeare in Love, Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Central Square Theatre: Photograph 51. Actors’ Shakespeare Project: Exit the King, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, King Henry VI Part 2, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, Pericles, Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra. New Repertory Theater: The Whipping Man, Holiday Memories. Greater Boston Stage Company: Seminar, Miracle on 34th Street. The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theater: As You Like It, Arcadia, The Winter’s Tale, Morality Play. Berkshire Theatre Group: The Puppetmaster of Lodz, Moonchildren, Macbeth, The Einstein Project, A Christmas Carol. Georgia Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Coriolanus, Cymbeline. Jesse earned an MFA in acting at Brandeis University and a BA in theatre at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. He is an assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University.
Joanne Kelly (Lady Macbeth) is from Bay D’Espoir, Newfoundland. Her recent television credits include Showtime’s “City on a Hill,” Apple TV+’s Emmy-nominated series “Severance,” and Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem.” Other favorite television credits include SyFy’s “Warehouse 13,” City TV’s “The Disappearance,” and “Slings and Arrows.” Film credits include Closet Monster, Runoff, Away from Everywhere, and The Bay of Love and Sorrows. She appeared onstage in Canada in Shakespeare by the Sea’s productions of Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Measure for Measure, HurlyBurly Theatre Company’s Macbeth, Same Plan Co-op’s Seven Stories, Castawayhorse Productions’ Oleanna, QED Theatre Co-op and Red One Theatre Collective’s Proof, and The Dynasty Collective’s House of Yes.
Nael Nacer (Macduff) has previously appeared with CSC as Caliban in The Tempest. He recently performed in NYC alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht in Igor Golyak’s The Orchard, a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard (Arlekin Players/B.A.C). Other credits include: People, Places & Things, Small Mouth Sounds, Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage), The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Equivocation (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Romeo and Juliet, A Doll’s House, Bedroom Farce, Awake and Sing!, Come Back, Little Sheba, and David Cromer’s celebrated production of Our Town (Huntington Theatre), The Return (Israeli Stage), The Seagull and ChekhovOS (Arlekin Players Theatre), Tiny Beautiful Things, True West, The Flick (Gloucester Stage), Constellations (Central Square Theatre), Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Intimate Apparel (Lyric Stage), The Kite Runner, A Number, Lungs (New Repertory Theatre), Rhinoceros, Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), and Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse). Nael is the recipient of multiple Elliot Norton and IRNE awards and is a resident acting company member of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project.
Omar Robinson (Banquo) makes his debut at the CSC. His theatre credits include Common Ground Revisited, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Tartuffe at the Huntington Theatre Company, The Winter’s Tale at Hartford Stage, Radio Golf, Black Odyssey at Trinity Repertory Company; Seven Guitars, Pride and Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing, and the title role of Hamlet at Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Shakespeare in Love at SpeakEasy Stage Company; and productions at Lyric Stage Company, Central Square Theater, Dorset Theatre Festival; and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Film: The Finest Hours. Education: BA, Emerson College.
Fred Sullivan Jr. (Sergeant/Porter/Doctor) is celebrating 16 seasons with CSC. On the Common, Fred has played Bottom, Jaques (Norton Award winner), Ageon, Brabantio, Parolles, Menenius, First Gangster (Kiss Me Kate at the Hatch Shell), Malvolio (Norton Award nominee), Gloucester, Holofernes, Capulet, Buckingham, Stephano, and he directed 2019’s Cymbeline and adapted our one-man A Christmas Carol. Most recently, Fred appeared at the Lyric Stage Company as Ben Jonson in The Book of Will and as Tim in The Cake. He spent 35 seasons as a resident actor at Trinity Repertory Company in RI where he appeared in 130 plays and received Norton and IRNE awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in Blithe Spirit and His Girl Friday. His Trinity roles included Falstaff, Harold Hill, Captain Hook, James Tyrone, Jr, Daddy Warbucks, Creon, Peer Gynt, Joe Pitt, Alfie Doolittle, Scrooge, Nick Bottom, and 118 others. At Trinity, Fred directed Shooting Star, A Christmas Carol, and Boeing Boeing. Fred is a Resident Director for the Gamm Theatre (25 seasons), where he directed 35 productions, including Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet (each twice), The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, The Tempest, King Lear, and Awake and Sing (Norton Award for Outstanding Production). As an actor at Gamm, he played Donny in American Buffalo, Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Potter/Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life, 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”, “Saving Christmas” (w/ Ed Asner), “Mister Birthday”, “Agent Toby Barks” and “Almost Mercy”. He teaches acting at Gamm and RISD.
Faran Tahir (Macbeth) has a long history with CSC; in addition to Richard III (for which he earned Best Actor nominations for both the Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards) he played Oberon/Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the very first production of CSC in 1996, and Claudius in Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, CSC’s free virtual reality production of Hamlet. He was most recently seen as Baba in the Broadway production of The Kite Runner. Tahir has also worked off-Broadway at Lincoln Center and Manhattan Theatre Club and in major theaters across the United States including the A.R.T. and The Goodman Theatre. In 2012 he performed the title role of Othello at Shakespeare Theatre Company to rave reviews. He received the 2010 Male Actor of the Year award and the 2010 Elite Asian Award in Canada. Tahir’s film credits include the President in Elysium with Matt Damon and Jodi Foster, Escape Plan alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, Star Trek, and Iron Man opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. He can be seen in three upcoming movies: The Martial Artist, The Window, and Coup! Tahir’s work on television spans across all genres, with recurring roles on “Scandal,” “Prison Break,” “Once Upon a Time,” “12 Monkeys,” “American Crime,” “Satisfaction,” “Dallas,” and “Warehouse 13,” as well as over 100 guest appearances on other television shows. He was awarded a “Voices of Courage and Conscience Award” from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and was submitted by ABC network for a 2010 Emmy Award for his performance in “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tahir was born in Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. in Development Studies from University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in Theatre from Harvard University.
About the Creative Team:
Steven Maler (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC). At CSC 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. 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 WGBH’s YouTube channel. 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. For CSC he has also directed one-night-only readings featuring Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Paul Rudd, Blair Brown, Tony Shalhoub, Leslie Uggams, David Morse, Anthony Mackie, Charles Busch, and Jeffrey Donovan among others. He conceived and directed Shakespeare at Fenway, an evening of Shakespeare scenes performed at Boston’s beloved Fenway Park, featuring Mike O’Malley, Neal McDonough, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Kerry O’Malley, Max von Essen, Seth Gilliam, Zuzanna Szadkowski, and Jason Butler Harner. Other theater credits include 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 production of Without You, written by and starring Anthony Rapp has been seen in Boston, Edinburgh, Toronto, London, Seoul, and New York. He directed Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet for Boston Lyric Opera and Maria, Regina D’Inghilterra for Odyssey Opera. He directed the U.S. premiere of Péter Eötvös’ operatic treatment of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face for Opera Boston. In collaboration with Boston Landmarks Orchestra at Boston’s iconic Hatch Shell, he directed Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as concert stagings of The Boys from Syracuse and Kiss Me, Kate, featuring Marc Kudisch, Kerry O’Malley, and Andrew Burnap. He received the prestigious Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, as well as for Best Production, Twelfth Night; 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 the 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.
Riw Rakkulchon (Set Design) is a Set & Costume Designer, Animator and Chef from Bangkok, Thailand. He/They has worked at Yale Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, The Old Globe, Drury Lane Theatre, Asolo Rep, The Acting Company, 59E59, Edinburgh Fringe, Primary Stages, Hartford Stage, The Public Theatre, amongst others. He/They also works with designers Wilson Chin, Riccardo Hernandez, Jason Ardizzone-West, Donyale Werle, Santo Loquasto, Dane Laffrey, Rachel Hauck, Clint Ramos and Walt Spangler. Board member of WithAll, a non-profit Organization on a fight to end eating disorders. He holds a B.F.A. from Ithaca College and an M.F.A from the Yale School of Drama (Donald & Zorca Oenslager Fellowship Award in Design Recipient).
Nancy Leary (Costume Design) is a designer whose work for opera and theater spans several decades and has been seen across the United States and in Europe. Experienced in producing both highly conceptual and more traditional models of opera and theater costume design, From 2000 to the present Nancy has worked on established operas as well as newly conceived productions, including premieres for the Utah Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, The Pittsburg Symphony, Opera Saratoga, and reconceptualized pieces for Glimmerglass Opera, Opéra Royal Château de Versailles, Mannes Opera, Manhattan School of Music, Chautauqua Opera, Mobile Opera, Juilliard Opera, Opera Boston, The New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, and Boston Musica Viva. Theater credits include productions for Weston Playhouse, CSC, Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater; The Julie Harris Stage, Boston Children’s Theater, Shakespeare Theater New Jersey, Actors Shakespeare Project, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Merrimack Repertory Theater, New Repertory Theater, Boston Children’s Theater, Chamber Repertory Theater, North Shore Music Theater, Knife Edge Productions, and the Armitage Foundation New York.
Dewey Dellay (Co-Sound Design) is a contemporary television and film composer and sound designer. He composed music for five seasons of the television show Our America with Lisa Ling, shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and is now contributing music to This Is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN. He has also been the composer for many National Geographic Television Explorer shows, Discovery Channel’s Miami Jails, and has been commissioned by Hans Zimmer’s Bleeding Fingers to compose music for the show Alaska State Troopers, among others. In addition, he has composed for numerous national commercials and indie films. In theater, Dewey’s credits include an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design and an IRNE award for Best Sound Design. His credits as a theater sound designer and composer include productions on Off-Broadway, in London’s West End, and in Boston. As a performing musician he studied contemporary bass with Dave Holland and classical bass with Larry Wolfe of the BSO. He has taught music design and production courses at New England Institute of Art and private instruction at Columbia University Teachers College.
David Remedios (Co-Sound Design) is a Boston-based sound designer and composer who has designed extensively for theatre and dance. He is Assistant Professor and Program Head of Sound Design at Boston University’s School of Theatre. A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, he studied classical guitar with David Grimes and sound design with John R. Fisher and earned degrees in Music and American Studies. He has lectured on theatrical sound design for Bowdoin College, Emerson College, Boston Conservatory, Tufts University, Dartmouth College, Boston College, Northeastern University, and the Harvard Extension School. He has also mentored many young theatre artists. David is a member of United Scenic Artists Local USA 829, serves as chair of Local 829’s New England Design Exam Committee and served for ten years on the Board of Directors of Boston’s Theatre Community Benevolent Fund.
Eric Southern (Co-Lighting Design) is a lighting designer for theater, opera, music, and dance. CSC credits include Richard III (set and Lighting Design, IRNE Nomination), Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Other recent projects include: Echo Mine an evening length dance by Robyn Mineko Williams with music by Caliphone (Harris Theater); Knee Plays a semi-staged re-orchestration of the seminal works of David Byrne and Phillip Glass (The Crossing); Riddle of the Trilobites (New Victory Theater); The Good Swimmer (BAM Next Wave); After the Blast, Ghost Light, Bull in a China Shop, and The Harvest (Lincoln Center); Buyer and Cellar (Barrow Street Theater, Mark Taper Forum, London and National Tour). He is a longtime collaborator with the award-winning theater group 600 HIGHWAYMEN where he has designed Manmade Earth, The Fever, Employee of the Year, The Record, Empire City, This Great Country, and Everyone is Chanting Your Name. Internationally, his designs have been seen in London, Paris, Avignon, as well as in Seoul, Greece, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Bosnia, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, Abu Dhabi, and Hungary. In the US, his work has been seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Club, Hubbard Street Dance Atlantic Theater Company, The Guthrie Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Playwrights Horizons, The Goodman Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Asolo Rep, Virginia Opera, Portland Center Stage, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, The Arden Theater, The Magic Theater, Kansas City Repertory, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is an assistant professor at Northwestern University and received his B.F.A. and M.F.A from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Maximo Grano De Oro (Co-Lighting Design) is a lighting designer for theater, opera, dance, and music. He is currently an MFA candidate at Northwestern University studying Lighting Design which he is expected to complete in June 2023. Recent design credits include: Resiliencia (Northwestern Dance), Albert Herring, Gianni Schicchi, Il Tabarro (Rutgers University Opera), and Bitter Greens (Station 26 Productions).
Robert Walsh (Fight Director) performed in and staged fights for past CSC productions of Coriolanus (Cominius), Macbeth (Macduff), Henry V (Exeter), and Julius Caesar. Other fight direction credits include the American Repertory Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Portland Stage Company and most theater companies in and around Boston. A founding member of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Robert acted, directed, and staged fights for many of the Bard’s plays over the last eighteen years. From 2014 – 21 he served as the Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage Company and previously served as the Producing Artistic Director of the American Stage Festival in Milford, N.H. Recent films include “Fourth of July”, “Black Mass” and “Dead Reckoning” (as a stunt performer). Most recently, he appeared in The Gaaga, produced by Arlekin Players, written and directed by Sasha Denisova. He is a member of the theater faculty at Brandeis University, as well as AEA, SDC, SAG-AFTRA & the SAFD; as well as a member of the Society of American Fight Directors.
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), best known for its annual free performances on the 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 26-year history and has become a beloved summer tradition enjoyed by as many as 50,000 people annually. After a hiatus in 2020 because of the pandemic, CSC presented The Tempest (with John Douglas Thompson as Prospero) to great acclaim on the Boston Common in the summer of 2021, and Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, in the summer of 2022. In addition to its live theater productions on and off the Common, CSC has also presented a variety of virtual programs, most particularly in the past three years. The company also runs the CSC Academy, which encompasses its training and education programs including Stage2, a program for middle and high school students and educators, the Apprentice Program, CSC’s intensive Shakespeare-focused summer training program for early-career actors, and the CSC2 Company. For more information visit commshakes.org.