By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler
Free Shakespeare on the Common:The Tempest Postponed Until 2021
Due to the continued effects of COVID-19 on Boston and its community, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is postponing its production of The Tempest on the Boston Common until July 2021 with the same artistic and design team, as scheduling allows, including Tony Award nominee John Douglas Thompson* as Prospero, Remo Airaldi* as Antonio, Nora Eschenheimer* as Miranda, actor/playwright John Kuntz* as Trinculo, Nael Nacer* as Caliban, Richard Noble as Alonso, Fred Sullivan, Jr.* as Stephano, 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.
Founding Artistic Director Steven Maler says “Over the past eight weeks we’ve watched the pandemic evolve with an optimism that, whatever the circumstances, we as a Company and community would come together to share The Tempest, Shakespeare’s meditation on the torturous violence of usurpation, the wrenching betrayal of brothers, and the pain and release of forgiveness. However, CSC’s first priority is the health and safety of our staff, artists, and the community; and despite the generally positive public health trends, it’s become clear that there is no path forward to produce an event this summer on the scale of Shakespeare on the Common. Deep in my heart, I feel the urgent need for communion, I long for the healing balm of togetherness, and I ache with the innate human need to share stories. Art, literature, and community have never felt more necessary, so we will not fall silent. Our team is committed to using this summer to advance CSC’s mission of celebrating ideas and language that invite civic dialogue, eliminating barriers to bring theater to diverse audiences, and inspiring young artists and audiences. Though I sharply feel the loss of the summer we were planning, I see it as a pause – one that hopefully allows a deeper, richer production next summer and a chance for us to redirect our energies to areas of greatest need and opportunity.”
As announced in March, production staff and artists engaged for the production will be paid this summer despite the postponement.
In lieu of presenting The Tempest on the Boston Common this July, the team is developing a host of other activities and programming. The team is exploring performing pop-up live and online performances, developing educational materials for The Tempest and CSC’s Stage2 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (rescheduled to spring 2021), and deepening CSC’s commitment to racial equity in all aspects of its work. The company will also support CSC’s annual Apprentice Program which has moved to a virtual format this summer. Now in its eleventh year, CSC’s Apprentice Program brings together pre-professional actors from across the country for Shakespeare training and professional development opportunities. This year an unprecedented forty students will engage in training on Shakespeare’s text and voice, as well as masterclasses with local and nationally renowned artists from CSC’s past productions. The online training will culminate in public virtual presentations of scenes and monologues.
Further information will be announced in the near future as plans develop.
Directed by Founding Artistic Director Steven Maler and featuring Boston and New York’s finest actors, The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final play, transports the audience to a mysterious and enchanting island inhabited by a host of colorful characters. In this tale of magic, betrayal, revenge, and family, the wise and powerful Prospero struggles to maintain the world he’s created as order is thrown off balance by those around him: his curious daughter, Miranda; a man who’s just washed ashore, Ferdinand; the half human, half monster, Caliban; two fools, Stephano and Trinculo; and the mystical spirit of the air, Ariel, among many others. With elements of tragedy and comedy, this “brave new world” is a charming escape to revel in under the stars for the 25th production of Free Shakespeare on the Common.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council and administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.
Remo Airaldi 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: 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 and public speaking at Harvard University.
Nora Eschenheimer is delighted to return to the CSC stage after last appearing as Imogen in Cymbeline. Her other recent credits include Rosalind in As You Like it, Perdita in The Winter’s Tale, and Gwendolen Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gamm Theatre, as well as Rachel Brown in Inherit the Wind at the Ocean State Theatre Company, and the Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. She is the co-founder of the Tiny Traveling Theatre (as recently seen on HGTV and DIY Network) and has spent the last few years traveling the country to raise awareness of the importance of accessibility to the performing arts. www.noraeschenheimer.com | @noraeschenheimer
John Kuntz 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, ART, Speakeasy and many 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.
Nael Nacer Recent area credits include: 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 (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 has appeared previously with CSC as Edward IV et al. in Richard III (2018) and Philario et al. in Cymbeline (2019). In Rhode Island he has also appeared in numerous productions of the Perishable, Epic, Burbage, Gamm, and other theatres. In (much) earlier days he appeared 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. By day he catalogs rare books for the Brown University Library.
John Douglas Thompson Lauded by critics, John Douglas Thompson has been extolled by the New York Times “as one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation.” Thompson was last seen on Broadway in King Lear in the role of Earl of Kent. In 2018, he costarred in the two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical Carousel. He also starred in the Huntington Theatre Company’s Man in the Ring, (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards). In 2017, he appeared in the titular 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. Thompson’s other credits include The Father and A Doll’s House at Theater For A New Audience, and in Troilus & Cressida at The Public. 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); Tamburlaine at Theater for a New Audience (Obie and Drama Desk Awards); 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 at The Public Theater; Macbeth (title role); Othello (Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Joe A. Callaway Award) at Theatre for a New Audience; 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 television credits include “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, “Bull”, “Person of Interest”, “Madam Secretary”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order: SVU”. His film credits are “Conviction”, “Wolves”, “The Bourne Legacy”, “Glass Chin”, “Michael Clayton”, “Midway”, and “Malcolm X”. Upcoming film releases include “21 Bridges” with Chadwick Boseman and Sienna Miller, “355” with Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyongo, and Steven Soderbergh’s “Let Them All Talk” with Meryl Streep, Candace Bergen, Dianne Wiest and Lucas Hedges. 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.
Michael Underhill is thrilled to be returning to CSC for his seventh production (Othello, Two Gentleman of Verona (u/s), Macbeth (CSC2), Richard III, Romeo & Juliet (CSC2) and Cymbeline). Michael is a graduate from Northeastern University and a Boston born and bred actor. Additional favorite 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 but are not limited to Huntington Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Central Square Theatre and imaginary beasts. Find out more at www.michaeljamesunderhill.com
Steven Maler 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 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 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.
In a joint venture between CSC and Google, he most recently directed a Virtual Reality adaption of Hamlet entitled Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, which is currently available for viewing on Boston public media producer WGBH’s YouTube channel.
Other CSC works include the critically acclaimed production of 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. He directed Peter Eötvös’s operatic treatment of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (U.S. Premiere) and Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face, 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 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 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.
William Shakespeare was a renowned English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. His birthday is most commonly celebrated on 23 April, which is also believed to be the date on which he died in 1616. Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre (sometimes referred to as the English Renaissance or the Early Modern Period). Shakespeare’s plays are perhaps his most enduring legacy, but they are not the only things he wrote. Shakespeare’s poetry has also remained popular to this day.
Shakespeare’s work includes 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, a collection of 154 sonnets, and other poems as well. No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today, and about half of Shakespeare’s plays are only available to us because a group of actors in his company collected them for publication after his death. 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, and 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, and 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 by different entities, which usually include all of his plays, his sonnets, and his other poems. From Stratford to London and beyond, William Shakespeare was and is one of the most important literary figures of the English language.
Jeffrey Petersen returns to CSC after designing last season’s Stage2 production of Romeo and Juliet and after assisting Clint Ramos on the recent productions of Birdy and Death and the Maiden. Recent New England design credits include: Maria Regina d’Inghlterra (Odyssey Opera) Mary Stuart, Everyman (NEU) Barefoo
Nancy Leary is a Costume Designer who’s visionary work for Opera and Theater has graced stages across the United States. Experienced in producing both highly conceptual and more traditional models of Opera and Theater costuming, Nancy has successfully applied her expertise to a wide array of theatrical styles and artistic endeavors. From 2000 to the present Nancy has worked on well-established productions, recently developed pieces, and the premier of new works for such places as; Opéra Royal Château de Versailles, Glimmerglass Festival, The Pittsburg Symphony, Virginia Opera, Utah Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Saratoga, Mannes Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Mobile Opera, Juilliard Opera, Opera Boston, as well as Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.mpany, Westin Playhouse, The Julie Harris Theatre, The Barrow Group Theatre, and New York Live Arts to name a few.
David Reiffel (Sound Designer) is a Boston-based composer, songwriter, playwright and sound designer. Recent national credits include Shakespeare in Love (U.S. national premiere), Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Cymbeline (
Hannah Huling is thrilled to work with CSC this summer! Hannah earned her BFA in Technical Theatre and Design in 2011 from Wichita State University. Originally from Franklin, MA, she traveled all over the US, making theatre as a Stage Manager, Technician and Production Manager. When she is not at CSC, she works at New Repertory Theatre as the Production Manager.
Scott Wallace has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 35 years, starting his career in Boston for prestigious companies like Boston Ballet, and Boston Lyric Opera. He worked for Cirque du Soleil for 15 years as General Manager, and toured over 30 countries and 6 continents on several big top shows such as Quidam, Kooza, and OVO. He currently works at Emerson College for the Office of the Arts as Senior Manager of Production for the past 8 years.
Ashlyn Frank is thrilled to be back on the common this summer and working on The Tempest. She is a recent graduate of Fordham University Lincoln Center with a major in theatre where she directed The Turn of the Screw, Anne of the Thousand Days, and My Papier Mache Monster. Past Professional directing credits include: Stupid F#cking Bird at Theatre 54, Romeo and Juliet (AD) at CSC, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (AD) at the Iris Theatre in London. She has ben a casting director for Chamber Theatre Productions as well as an intern at Telsey + Co.