A Pound of Flesh and Unstrained Mercy – MERCHANT OF VENICE at Ark Shakes

AST 2015 MoVComedy and tragedy collide in this story of lovers united and families torn apart.  At the center is Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. When the Venetian merchant Antonio is forced to seek a loan from Shylock, a man he despises for his religion and profession, he is asked to enter into an impossible contract: he must give a pound of flesh if unable to pay back the borrowed sum. What follows is a complex and challenging exploration of love, mercy, integrity, and justice that reminds us that, “all that glisters is not gold.”

The Merchant of Venice continues the 2015 season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  Performances are at 7:30 tonight, Saturday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 23.  Matinees are at 2pm on June 20, June 27 and June 28.  All performances take place in the Reynolds Theatre on the UCA campus.

The cast is led by Chad Bradford, Peter Kevoian, Paul Kiernan and Jocelyn Vammer.  Others in the cast are Jordy Neill, Taylor Galloway, Jeff Gonzalez, Hannah Moulder, Ferginho Philippe-Auguste, Hunter Ringsmith, Matthew Schmidli, Tanner Berry, Mattie Bogoslavsky, Mark Fox and Harrison Trigg.  Members of the Youth Ensemble are Anna Caroline Greg, Ethan Marotte and Olivia Marotte.

Merry Wives and Falstaff kick off 2015 Arkansas Shakespeare Theater season

AST 2015 MWWLove and deception are the name of the game in the small town of Windsor when Shakespeare’s famous larger-than-life anti-hero Falstaff comes for a visit.  Falstaff sets out to woo the Housewives of Windsor for some quick cash, but finds himself outfoxed by the wise Windsor Wives, becoming the buffoon instead of the leading man in his own ambitious tale of romance.  The entire family will laugh their way through this energetic and charming farce.

The Merry Wives of Windsor kicks off the 2015 season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  Performances are at 7:30 tonight, Friday, Saturday, June 11 and June 13 at the Hendrix Village.  It will be performed at the Argenta Farmer’s Market space on June 25, 26 & 28.

The cast is led by Paul Kiernan, Chad Bradford, Stacy Pendergraft, Paige Reynolds, Courtney Bennett, Matthew Duncan, Jordy Neill, Jeff Gonzalez, Jenna Hokanson, Austin Larkin, Ferginho Pilippe-Auguste, Ricky Pope and Matthew Schmidli.  The youth ensemble consists of Aaron Eley, Jack Ghormley, Sarah Guinee, Ethan Hemphill, Anna Beth Jeane, Camille Lambert, Madeline Leicht, Simon Marotte, Maddie Meek, Kate Parrack, Anna Reynolds, Henry Whisenhunt and Zeke Whisenhunt.

All performances are “pay what you can,” with a suggested donation of $15.

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA continues at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

PrintSet in Italy in the early 1960s, this lively production will bring music and romance to one of Shakespeare’s rarely-produced comedies. Two Gents has all the familiar Shakespearean surprises we love:  a crossdressing heroine, fickle young lovers, and a dangerous escape into the forest.  Add to that hilarious comedy from two clownish servants, along with Shakespeare’s most famous dog, and you know this is a must see! AST Artistic Director Rebekah Scallet directs this delightful exploration of lasting love and true friendship.

The cast includes Jordan Coughtry, Brendan Marshall-Rashid, Caroline Brooks, Paige Martin Reynolds, Jordy Neill, Andrew Martin, Laurie Pascale, Jesica Dean Turner, Robert Gerard Anderson, Kevin Browne, Christ Fritzges, Jordan N. Breckenridge, Salem Anderson, Zeke Whisenhunt, Anna Caroline Gregg, Mary Dean Johnston and Olivia Marotte.

The production has played several performances at the Hendrix Village.  Starting tonight, it is performed by the Argenta Library. Performances are tonight, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is “pay what you can.”


SantaLand Diaries in Central Arkansas this weekend

santalandThe stores have been in the midst of Christmas since before Labor Day.  So it is not too early for theatrical ventures to turn their attentions to Christmastime.  This weekend, the Vagabond Theatre Company presents David Sedaris’ essay-turned-One-Man Show this November!

The SantaLand Diaries is a hilarious account of Sedaris’ stint working as a Christmas elf in “SantaLand” at Macy’s department store is what shot Sedaris to national recognition. Starring Jordy Neill and directed by Chad Bradford, you can catch SantaLand Diaries on Saturday, November 9, at 8 p.m. at the Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church on 16th and Louisiana Street, in Little Rock or on Sunday, November 10, at 8 p.m. at The Lantern Theatre on 1021 Van Ronkle, in Conway.

Tickets may be purchased at the door. House opens at 7:30 p.m

Shakespeare in the Park at River Market tonight

AST_logoThe River Market and The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau are pleased to announce their second seasonal showing of “Shakespeare in the Park”, a production of a special version of the Bard’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on Sunday, June 23rd in the East Pavilion of Ottenheimer Market Hall, home to the Farmers’ Market.  The production runs from 6pm to 7pm.  Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.

The production is created by the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  It was adapted and directed by Josh Rice.  The other members of the creative team include Debra P. Holmes (scenery and puppets), Nikki Webster (costumes), Evan Harney (sound) and Chad Bradford (musical score).  The cast includes Joe Boersma, Adam Frank, Ira Grace, Jordy Neill and Julie Schroll.


About A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Shakespeare’s band of hempen homespuns have run amok and taken over this midsummer night. In a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy of magic and mayhem, Bottom and the Rude Mechanicals take center stage as they do their best to put on a show full of tragical mirth while mischievous woodland fairies do their best to get in the way. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the merriment that ensues.