American Shakespeare Center Concludes Its 35th Anniversary Season with Hamlet, Coriolanus, and Much Ado About Nothing
STAUNTON, VA – American Shakespeare Center (ASC) finishes its 35th Anniversary Season and
its celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio with a flourish, with vivid
portrayals of two of Shakespeare’s most complex and compelling characters: the bitter,
tortured prince Hamlet and the proud, relentless warrior Coriolanus. The players will also
continue the merry run of Much Ado About Nothing through November 19. All performances
will take place in the beautiful Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, the world’s only re-creation of
Shakespeare’s original indoor theater.
“Again and again, we turn to Shakespeare for the words to describe the workings of the heart,” said ASC Artistic Director Brandon Carter. “In the rage of Hamlet and the unbending pride of Coriolanus we find the emotions that sear our souls–only to find our hearts melting as all-healing love finds the reluctant couples of Much Ado About Nothing. Imagine the poverty of our language without Shakespeare! In the company of these indelible and all-too-human characters, enrapt by Shakespeare’s immortal words, we close our 35th Anniversary season.”
SEPTEMBER 28-NOVEMBER 18, 2023
A royal family unravels in this thrilling drama. Shattered by his father’s death and horrified by his mother’s hasty remarriage to his scheming uncle, Denmark’s Prince Hamlet plots revenge, feigning madness that soon consumes him. Plot and counterplot build to a devastating finale as Hamlet’s obsession finally destroys everyone around him. Cameron Knight (Utah Shakespeare Festival) makes his ASC debut as director of this engrossing production, which features an intriguing casting twist at its heart: ASC veteran actor Meg Rodgers plays Hamlet and Artistic Director Brandon Carter plays Ophelia.
OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 18, 2023
Class war and the struggle for equity and justice were unlikely themes for a theater company called the King’s Men, but Shakespeare’s Coriolanus pits a leader whose pride places him so far above his subjects that he can scarcely hide his disdain. When hunger drives the people to sedition, Coriolanus wins back their regard in feats of battle—only to lose their faith and his life. Unbending pride and untrammeled power make a deadly mix in this riveting tragedy. Coriolanus is an “Actors’ Renaissance” production, with the players staging the show with no director. Like the actors in Shakespeare’s day, it falls to them find the pace and passion in every line, creating a bond between the players as well as with the audience. For the audience, it’s an experience that led Washington Post theatre critic Peter Marks to declare: “I arrived a skeptic, I left a believer.”
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
THROUGH NOVEMBER 19, 2023
One of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies! You’ll feel the joy of love won and the
ache of love lost as this story makes you laugh, breaks your heart, and then somehow puts it
back together again. This merry play, staged in ASC’s “Actor’s Renaissance” tradition, has been
delighting audiences since July—don’t miss the final performances this fall!
In the ASC tradition, members of the repertory cast will perform multiple roles across the fall season. Players marked with * are members of Actors Equity.
Marcellus in Hamlet; Caius Martius in Coriolanus; Margaret and George Seacoal in Much Ado About Nothing
Familiar to ASC summer 2023 audiences for his performances in The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure, Alexis has lit up the stage in past ASC productions including The Tempest, Pericles, Une Tempête, The Grapes of Wrath, Imogen (aka Cymbeline), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and A Christmas Carol.
Ophelia in Hamlet; Lieutenant in Coriolanus; Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing
Brandon Carter has served as ASC’s Artistic Director since 2022. A member of the ASC company since 2018, he has performed more than 40 roles, from lovers (Orlando, As You Like It) to fighters (Menas, Antony & Cleopatra), schemers (Cassius, Julius Caesar) and incomprehensible scholars (Hugh Evans, Merry Wives of Windsor). At ASC, Carter made history as the first Black man in the United States to follow the journey of a wayward prince to King (Hal/Henry V). He also served as an Artistic Associate and actor with the Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH), under mentors Ty Jones and Carl Cofield. Productions with CTH include: The Tempest, Macbeth, The First Noel, and The Three Musketeers. Other Off-Broadway credits include: Drunk Shakespeare NYC as Macduff, and Black Angels Over Tuskegee as Theodore.
Barnardo in Hamlet; Virgilia in Coriolanus; Don John/Sexton in Much Ado About Nothing
On the heels of her moving portrayal of Isabella in Measure for Measure in her ASC season debut, Gabriela returns to the Blackfriars stage in multiple roles this fall. Gabriela brings diverse performance experience including Belmira in River Bride (American Players Theatre); Jaquenetta in Love’s Labour’s Lost (American Players Theatre); Adalina in ¿Y tu abuela, Where is she? (Visión Latino); Chalie in Back in the Day (UrbanTheater Company); Carmen in Sergio’s Museum (Theatre); Ariel in The Tempest (Warehouse Theatre Educational Tour); and Yordanka in Erógenas (Teatro Fragmentario).
Horatio in Hamlet; Valeria in Coriolanus, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
After her nuanced characterization of Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, Corrie returns as Horatio in Hamlet, among other roles this fall. Previous ASC performances include Belle and Belinda in A Christmas Carol; Ariel in The Tempest and Une Tempête; Antiochus’s Daughter, Marina, Ensemble in Pericles; Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet; and Angelo in The Comedy of Errors. Past roles have included Miranda in The Tempest (Firebrand Theatre Co); Juliet in the touring production of Romeo and Juliet, Luciana in The Comedy or Errors, Perdita in The Winter’s Tale (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre); Ellison in Crying on Television; and Emmy in A Doll’s House Part 2 (Nashville Repertory Theatre).
Claudius/Ghost in Hamlet; Junius Brutus in Coriolanus; Antonio and Verges in Much Ado About Nothing
Erica Cruz Hernández*
Gertrude in Hamlet; Titus Lartius in Coriolanus; Borachio and Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing
ASC audiences have seen Erica in many past performances including The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol, The Tempest, Pericles, Une Tempête, Romeo and Juliet, and The Comedy of Errors. Other theater credits include Medea in Mojada, Luis Alfaro’s adaptation of Euripides’ Greek Tragedy (Indianapolis Shakespeare Company); The River Bride, Hamlet, Cymbeline, and Assistant Director of The Moors (American Players Theatre Company); and performances in the Illinois, St. Louis, and Arkansas Shakespeare Festivals. Her television and film appearances include Law & Order: SVU, En Algun Lugar, and Midwestern.
Polonius in Hamlet; Volumnia in Coriolanus; Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing
Angela made her ASC debut in the summer season including turns in The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure. Angela is an accomplished director, actor, scholar and playwright who has directed and acted with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theatreworks, Titan Theatre Company in NYC, CATCO in Columbus, and others.
Reynaldo and Francisco in Hamlet; Young Martius in Coriolanus; Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing
Jess made her ASC debut in summer 2023 as a fiercely funny Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew and roles in Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing. Past acting credits include Viola in Twelfth Night and Regan in King Lear in Montana Shakespeare in the Parks; Alabaster (16th Street Theatre); The Locusts (The Gift Theatre); I Now Pronounce (New Jewish Theatre); Twelfth Night, Henry V, Travesties, Failure: A Love Story, Iago’s Plot, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Kingdom City (Illinois Theatre); My Father’s Keeper (Latinx Theatre Commons); La Fulana Respetuosa, Blowout (Aguijón Theatre).
Guildenstern in Hamlet; Aufidius in Coriolanus; Conrade/Balthazar in Much Ado About Nothing
Joe made his ASC debut in summer 2023 with roles in The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure, and Much Ado About Nothing. Past acting credits include Shakespeare in the Park/The Public Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Judson Theatre Company, Grassroots Shakespeare DC, 1st Stage in DC, Toms River Shakespeare Festival, and Compass Rose Theater. This season marks his ASC debut.
Laertes in Hamlet, Cominius in Coriolanus, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing
With an impressive resume including performances at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Queer Classics Theater, Artist Repertory Theater, Road Theater Company, and Nomadic Theater Company, Philip makes his ASC debut this season.
Player King in Hamlet, Menenius in Coriolanus, Friar Francis in Much Ado About Nothing
ASC summer 2023 audiences applauded Aidan as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew; now he returns in a tragic role as Laertes in Hamlet, among other fall portrayals. Aidan has performed in 44 roles in 25 ASC productions including: Jaques in As You Like It, Bertram in All’s Well That Ends Well, Don John/Verges in Much Ado About Nothing, Malcolm in Macbeth, Fred in A Christmas Carol, Claudio/Froth in Measure for Measure, Horatio in Hamlet, Merrythought in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Esculus/Barnardine in Measure for Measure, Trinculo in The Tempest, Angelo in The Comedy of Errors, Paris/Gregory in Romeo and Juliet, Horatio in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Clarence/Ratcliffe in Richard III. Between his many and welcome ASC visits, Aidan has performed at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Marin Shakespeare Company, Prague Shakespeare Company, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Renegade Players (Artistic Director from 2007-2011), Sonoma Valley Shakespeare Company (Artistic Director from 2012-2015), and Actor’s Theatre of Santa Rosa.
Hamlet in Hamlet; First Citizen in Coriolanus; Hero in Much Ado About Nothing
Including her portrayal of Hero, the much-wronged lover in Much Ado About Nothing, Meg has thrilled ASC audiences since 2018, performing more than 48 roles in over 29 productions. Some favorites including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Katherine/Dauphin in Henry V, Meg Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Anne Page in Anne Page Hates Fun. She has also performed with Virginia Stage Company (Pistol and Alice in Spring 2023’s Henry V), Hope Repertory Theatre, and Houston Shakespeare Festival.
Rosencrantz in Hamlet; Sicinius in Coriolanus; Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing
As a very merry Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Nic has beguiled ASC audiences this summer. Past seasons have seen Nic in many roles including Christmas Present/Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol; Duncan, Porter, Old Man, Lord, Siward in Macbeth; Grey, French King, Gower, York in Henry V; Clown (Lavatch), Soldier in All’s Well That Ends Well, Cover/Swing in Twelfth Night; and First Gentleman/Cover/Swing in Othello. At other theaters, Nic has played Toby in Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the ‘Burg); Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare-to-Go); Josh in These and Those (New York Theatre Festival); Officer in Comedy of Errors and Lucio, Froth, Barnadine in Measure for Measure (Smith Street Stage).
Tickets for Hamlet, Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing, and A Christmas Carol are on sale now, online at AmericanShakespeareCenter.com, by phone at 540-851-1733 or 1-877-MUCH-ADO, or in person at the Blackfriars Playhouse Box Office located at 10 South Market Street, Staunton, VA.
About the American Shakespeare Center
Located in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley in Staunton Virginia, The American Shakespeare
Center is a world-class professional theater company whose mission is to recover the joys and
accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English
Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Year-round in its
Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — ASC’s
innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions
have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the
past 35 years. Beyond the Playhouse, ASC is a hub for Shakespeare education and scholarship.
Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American
Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com
and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.