logo nea vertical2016-17 Romeo and Juliet Project

  • 12 Partner Schools
  • 4,040 Students Served
  • 504 Classroom Sessions
  • 15 Performances

The Project is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The Project also is funded under a Grant Contract with the State of Tennessee.

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Romeo and Juliet Project Schools

Celebrate the Holiday Season with the
Elegant, Comic Romance of
Much Ado About Nothing

December 8-18 at Dixon Gallery & Gardens

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Carey Urban as Beatrice and Tony Molina, Jr. as Benedick. Photos: Joey Miller.

Tickets are on sale now for William Shakespeare’s elegant romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing from December 8-18, directed by founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary.

Played inside Dixon Gallery & Gardens’ Winegardner Auditorium in East Memphis, Much Ado About Nothing continues TSC’s ninth season following its critically-acclaimed, popular production of To Kill a Mockingbird at Hutchison School.

The production’s Title Sponsors are Pat, Ernest, Martha, and Marian Kelly.

Tickets may be purchased now by calling TSC’s Box Office at (901) 759-0604 or online at www.tnshakespeare.org

Tickets for the Preview performance on December 8 are only $16.  Regularly-priced tickets for all other performances are $34.  The December 8 and 15 performances are Free Will Kids’ Nights:  Children 17 years and younger are admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying/attending Guardian. The Free Will Kids'  tickets cannot be purchased online and are only accessible by calling the Box Office at 901-759-0604.  Senior tickets (62 years and older) are $29, and Student tickets (18 years and older) are $16 for any performance.  Tickets for Opening Night on December 9 include a complimentary post-show reception and toast with the actors.  Performances are general admission; first-come/first-seated.

The professional cast of nine actors, each of whom will be doubling in the show, include returning favorites Tony Molina, Jr. (To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth) as Benedick and Watch #2, Carey Urban (Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet) as Beatrice and Conrade, Phil Darius Wallace (Henry V, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew) as Don Pedro and Watch #3, and Michael Khanlarian (To Kill a Mockingbird, Henry V, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night) as Leonato and Watch #4.

New to TSC this season are Marquis Archuleta (Borachio/Balthasar/Friar) and Nathan Snow (Claudio/Sexton) from Montana, Cally Shine (Hero/Verges) from Washington, Brian Russell (Dogberry/Don John) from Nashville, and Jillian Barron (Margaret/Watch #1) from Memphis.

The design team consists of TSC veterans, including lighting designer Jeremy Fisher, scenic designer Brian Ruggaber, costume designer Ashley Selberg, and associate lighting designer Kristen Reding.  The production stage manager is Melissa A. Nathan, and the assistant stage manager is Kilby Elisabeth Yarbrough.

TSC’s production, featuring the merry war of love between Benedick and Beatrice, is inspired by the coastal, breezy port town of Messina and the permanent Impressionist collection in Dixon Gallery & Gardens.  Messina’s marbleized architecture and curving silhouettes form the foreground of a Messina in nighttime firework-laden celebration as imagined by Vincent van Gogh.

The evening celebrates, in true Italian wedding style, the decorative holiday season.  The actors, as masked revelers, perform the play in their formal eveningwear and double into their second roles with holiday masks for the occasion. 

The coastal soundscape and music of the masque is inspired by the jazz of Paul Desmond, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, and Tito Puente.

“When we produced Love’s Labor’s Lost last season,” says McCleary, “we continued to note the relationship it had with Much Ado About Nothing’s characters, perspective to war, elevation an potency of the women’s point of view, modern sense of wit, and genuinely funny, malapropping clowns.  It makes for a fun stretch to imagine Much Ado as the ‘lost’ play titled Love’s Labor’s Won – a fine, comedic, resounding response or sequel to Love’s Labor’s Lost.

“That the play was performed for weddings in Shakespeare’s time and then has remained so wildly popular for the past 300 years is testament to its modern wit, charm, and celebration.”

Artists’ Bios

Marquis Dijon Archuleta (Borachio/Balthasar/Friar) is a graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Theatre & Dance program with a B.F.A. degree and a minor in Psychology.  A few credits include: Of Mice and Men (Crooks), Cyrano De Bergerac (Comte De Guiche), Pentecost (Antonio), Pippin (Louis) Romeo and Juliet (Lord Capulet), and Jesus Christ Superstar (Simon Peter). 

Jillian Barron (Margaret/Watch #1) is a native Illinoisan who moved to Memphis in 2013 after receiving her B.A. in Theatre Performance and French Literature and Culture from Union University.  Past Credits: Byhalia, MS at Playhouse on the Square (Ostrander Nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at GCT (Ostrander Nomination), and In Search of Tonto Goldstein at The Women's Theatre Festival of Memphis (Global Premiere). 

Jeremy Fisher (Lighting Designer/Technical Director) TSC: To Kill A Mockingbird, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew, Unto the Breach, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, and Hamlet.  He is the Resident Lighting Designer for Theatre Memphis.  Recently, Jeremy completed the lighting design for the Broad Avenue Water Tower and was awarded the Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist grant, awarded to an outstanding Tennessee artist.  He has worked with Santa Fe Opera, Opera Memphis, Ballet Memphis, Busch Gardens, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, and Northern Oklahoma College.  Since moving to Memphis in 2011, he has been nominated for nine Ostranders with two wins for his lighting designs of Proof (2013) and The Addams Family (2015). 

Michael Khanlarian* (Leonato/Watch #4) is a founding member of TSC where his credits include To Kill A Mockingbird, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Othello, As You Like It, and Romeo and Juliet.  Michael is a graduate of the University of Memphis.

Dan McCleary+ (Director) is a native Memphian and a graduate of Germantown High School and its Poplar Pike Playhouse.  Dan directed and acted in TSC’s inaugural production of As You Like It (Jaques) as well as The Glass Menagerie (Old Tom) and The Taming of the Shrew (Sly).  He directed TSC’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet, The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all-female Julius Caesar, Othello, Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), and Themes from a Midsummer Night.  He also has directed productions of As You Like It at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Servant of Two Masters outdoors in downtown Atlanta and at Seattle Shakespeare Company, and All’s Well That Ends Well at Georgia Shakespeare Festival.  At the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, he directed the Buster Keaton world premiere of The Stone Face and played the title roles in Antony and Cleopatra and Richard III, Brutus in Julius Caesar, Porfiry in Crime and Punishment, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, and Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor.  As Associate Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, Dan acted in and directed over 30 productions, appearing as Coriolanus, Macbeth, Herman Melville, Stephano, Don Armado, Hotspur, Master Ford, Bertram, and Antipholus/Dromio of Ephesus.  He directed S&Co’s first production of The Servant of Two Masters, also his own adaptation of Anaïs Nin’s Henry & June, Vita & Virginia, My Own Stranger, and The Fiery Rain. Other Regional/New York theatre: Merrimack Rep, North Shore Music Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, StageWest, Alabama Shakespeare, Arden Theatre, Studio 4-A, and Huntington Theatre.  Dan is a published poet and teaches Shakespeare master classes around the country.  Memphis Magazine has named him among the “Who’s Who in Memphis” for four years, and the Germantown Arts Alliance honored him with its 2009 Distinguished Arts and Humanities Medal for Performing Arts.  He holds a B.A. in Advertising and Journalism from Temple University.

Tony Molina, Jr.* (Benedick/Watch #2) is a proud founding member of TSC, having been seen previously as Rev. Sykes in To Kill a Mockingbird, the title role in Macbeth, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Duke Frederick and his brother in As You Like It.  At Shakespeare and Company, he played Othello, Mercutio, and Dromio of Syracuse, in addition to many other roles.  At Swine Palace at LSU, he played Didi in Waiting for Godot, Oberon in Midsummer, and Belize in both Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America: Perestroika.  At the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, he played Petruchio, Banquo, and Claudius in Hamlet.  At the Tulane Shakespeare Festival, he played Hamlet, Othello, Feste, and Autolycus, as well as many others.  He played the police captain on HBO's Treme for two seasons, and he was also been seen in eight episodes of True Detective.

Melissa A. Nathan* (Production Stage Manager) is thrilled to be back with TSC for her fourth season.  TSC: The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, Twelfth Night, and All’s Well That Ends Well.  Her favorite credits include: The Mousetrap (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); The Winter’s Tale, The Real Inspector Hound, and What the Butler Saw (Theater at Monmouth); Underneath the Lintel and Side By Side By Sondheim (Riverside Theatre); RED (Triad Stage); Educating Rita (Florida Rep); Bonnie & Clyde (Asolo Rep); Measure for Measure and The Imaginary Invalid (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre).  She is a proud member of Actors Equity and is an executive board member of the Stage Managers’ Association.

Kristen Reding (Assistant Lighting Designer for Much Ado About Nothing) is a third year M.F.A. candidate in Lighting Design at the University of Memphis.  She has worked with TSC, Theatre Memphis, Desoto Family Theatre, Summer Repertory Theatre Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, and Six Flags Over Texas.  Kristen was nominated for a Desoto Alley Award for Lighting Design in 2016 and won an Ostrander Award in Lighting Design for the University of Memphis’ production of Oklahoma!  She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Technical Theatre.

Brian Ruggaber (Scenic/Props Designer for Much Ado About Nothing) is proud to return to TSC for a third season (Henry V, All’s Well That Ends Well, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Richard III).  A recent transplant to Memphis, TN, he is an award-winning scenic designer who currently heads the Scenic Design Program at the University of Memphis.  He has designed scenery for over 130 productions, including Opera, Drama, Musical Theatre, and Dance.  Prior to joining UM’s faculty, he was an Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and an Associate Professor of Design at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and has a M.F.A. from The University of Massachusetts and B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brian Webb Russell* (Don John/Dogberry) joins TSC for the first time from Nashville, where he just completed a successful run of Nashville Repertory's Noises Off and will return there in January to start rehearsals for Treasure Island for the Nashville Children's Theatre.  No stranger to Shakespeare, Brian has been seen as Prospero in The Tempest, Brutus in Julius Caesar, and Polonius in Hamlet with the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, among others.  Regional credits include Arkansas Repertory Theatre, American Stage Theatre, Nashville Opera, Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival, Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Festival, and Kentucky Repertory Theatre.

Ashley Selberg (Costume Designer) is a graduate of O’More College of Design with a B.F.A. in Fashion Design.  Ashley is currently a costume technician for Ballet Memphis and has worked as a costume tech for TSC on The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, and assisted with additional costume design on Romeo and Juliet.  Previous credits include 2012 & 2013 Eloise Fashion Show, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Nashville Repertory Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Middle Tennessee State University), and Beauty and the Beast (Theatre Memphis).  She also enjoys freelance designing for cosplayers and Renaissance Faires.

Cally Shine (Hero/Verges) makes her TSC mainstage debut, having just finished playing Juliet in this year’s Romeo and Juliet Project.  Her regional credits include Montana Repertory Theatre’s All My Sons (2016 National Tour), Seattle Shakespeare Company’s The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, and Macbeth, Book-It Repertory Theatre’s Breathing Lessons, and Idaho Repertory Theatre’s staged reading of Happy.  Her favorite educational credits include Bridget in Translations, Yasmin in Pentecost, and Anya in The Cherry Orchard.  Cally is a Seattle, WA, native and a graduate of the University of Montana.

Nathan Snow (Claudio/Sexton) is from Livingston, Montana, where he cultivated a love of theatre and the arts from a young age.  A recent graduate from the University of Montana with a B.F.A. in Acting, Nathan’s favorite University roles include Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet and Billy Bones in Treasure Island.  Nathan spent the summer honing his comedic chops as a company member of the Brewery Follies in Virginia City, MT, and he has been grateful to be part of Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet Project this autumn.

Carey Urban* (Beatrice/Conrade) is delighted to return to TSC, where she previously appeared in Twelfth Night (Viola), and Romeo and Juliet (Juliet).  Most recently she appeared at Palm Beach Dramaworks (Long Day's Journey Into Night) and BAM's Next Wave Festival (Alas, the Nymphs).  Other favorite credits include Cymbeline (Imogen) with Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Taming of the Shrew (Kate) with Soho Rep, and Cabaret (Sally Bowles) with TriARTS.  She is a “repeat offender” with The Queen's Company, based in NYC, and a co-founder of the short-lived but highly acclaimed Fools' Theatre.  She stars in the web series Hands of Fate (available on YouTube) and has appeared in several commercials.

Phil Darius Wallace* (Don Pedro/Watch #3) is a founding member with Tennessee Shakespeare Company.  He has appeared in Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and As You Like It.  Currently, he is touring his Off-Broadway show Self-Made Man: The Frederick Douglass Story around the country.  His film credits include Live the Dream, The Department of Signs and Magical Intervention, and the TV stream Farell.

* member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

+ member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent national labor union.

At a Glance

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
an elegant holiday revel of comic romance
by William Shakespeare
directed by Dan McCleary
sponsored by Pat, Ernest, Martha, & Marian Kelly
at Dixon Gallery & Gardens’ Winegardner Auditorium
December 8-18

Produced under agreements with the professional entertainment unions: Actors’ Equity Association and The Stage Directors & Choreographers Society

Decked to delight in tuxedoes and gown, these holiday revelers merry-make with one of the most popular comedies of all time.  Victorious military officers enter the coastal Sicilian breezeways armed with Cupid’s cocktails.  But the ladies to whom they return prove formidable.  World-weary Benedick and gallant Claudio encompass sharp-tongued Beatrice and fair Hero with altogether different romances.  Youthful passions run riot, lovers are deceived, and eternal bliss is threatened – though not before tranquility wins out with the help of constable Dogberry and his faithful dis-associates.  The professional cast returns Tony Molina, Jr., Carey Urban, Phil Darius Wallace, and Michael Khanlarian.

Dec 8               Preview/Free Will Kids Night                7:00 pm
Dec 9               Opening/Post-show reception             7:00 pm
Dec 10             Performance                                        7:00 pm
Dec 11             Performance                                        3:00 pm
Dec 15             Performance/Free Will Kids Night        7:00 pm
Dec 16             Performance                                        7:00 pm
Dec 17             Performance                                        7:00 pm
Dec 18             Closing                                                3:00 pm