We are only a few weeks away from beginning rehearsals for this summer’s outdoor production of Macbeth. If you haven’t heard about our 2015 season yet, you can check out the Current Season page or read the full press release. We have exciting things planned this year, including a new winter show in December inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
But before that, we have a whole summer to enjoy first! Midsommer Flight is especially thrilled to announce the cast and crew of Macbeth. We can’t wait to get to work with these incredibly talented artists.
Macbeth runs July 11 through August 30, touring to four different parks. We hope to see you this summer!
Cast (in alphabetical order):
Matt Bartholomew……….Duncan / Seyward
Jerome Beck……………….Donalbain / Norwegian Soldier / Dunsinane Soldier Adam Habben…………….Murderer 1 / Menteith / Macdonwald
Christina Renee Jones……Porter / Messenger / Doctor
Margaret Kellas……………Fleance / Son / Young Seyward
Keyanna Khatiblou……….Witch 1
Francisco Lopez, Jr………..Ross
Stephanie Mattos…………Witch 2
Andrew McClelland……….Seyton / Norwegian Soldier
Elizabeth Rentfro………….Lady Macduff / Gentlewoman Chris Smith……………….Macduff / Norwegian Soldier
Elise Spoerlein…………….Witch 3 Julian Stroop…………….Malcolm
Jeremy Thompson……….Banquo / Dunsinane Soldier
Adam Welsh………………Murderer 2 / Caithness / Norwegian Soldier
Maureen Yasko…………..Lady Macbeth
Crew: Beth Wolf……………Director
Sarah Franzel……….Assistant Director
Matt Singleton………Violence Designer
Vivian Knouse……….Props Designer Beth Laske-Miller….Costume Designer
Midsommer Flight is excited to announce that we will be offering new professional development workshops for actors. Our first series of workshops is coming up on March 14, 2015, and will be taught by Midsommer Flight’s Producing Artistic Director, Beth Wolf.
The upcoming workshops will focus on Shakespeare Audition techniques; the morning session will be dedicated to monologue auditions and the afternoon to cold reading. Actors may sign up for one or both sessions, with a discount for doing the full day. More details and registration information are posted on our For Artists page. Check it out!
Meredith Ernst and Martel Manning appeared in our recent production of Much Ado About Nothing as Margaret and Benedick, respectively. Adam Habben played Lysander in our inaugural production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2012, and returned this year to play Claudio in Much Ado.
Meredith, Adam, and Martel join Midsommer Flight’s existing company members Ashlee Edgemon, John Ham, Kanome’ Jones, Beth Laske-Miller, J. Preddie Predmore, Brian Scannell, Chris Smith, Julian Stroop, and Sheila Willis.
HowlRound, a “center for the Theatre Commons,” has published an article in their NewCrit series which includes a positive review of this summer’s Much Ado About Nothing, along with a friendly interview with Midsommer Flight’s Artistic Director, Beth Wolf, about presenting Shakespeare in the Park.
The acting style was broadly comedic and easy to follow (no easy feat, given the complexity of Much Ado’s plot), and the pacing tight—as the performance clocked in at ninety minutes. The words fit comfortably in the actors’s mouths as they made clear sense of the complex language. Martel Manning’s Benedick gave a particularly memorable performance leaping and hiding to eavesdrop on Leonato (Scott Olson) and Claudio (Adam Habben) as they gossiped about Beatrice’s (Ashlee Edgemon) love for him. The audience erupted into peals of laughter at the physical comedy.
Great news! Midsommer Flight has been awarded a generous grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. We are so honored and grateful to have state government support backing our mission to bring Shakespeare into Chicago communities.
While we are sad to see the summer end, this news certainly lifts our spirits!
The great reviews just keep rolling in for Much Ado About Nothing! James Murray from Showbiz Chicago writes,
Midsommer Flight has been performing his plays in different parks throughout Chicago since 2012 and if their current production of Much Ado About Nothing is any indicator, this is a company with a strong vision, great artistic direction and some strong actors who are at ease with the language, possess excellent diction and understanding of the text and excel at the art of story-telling…. Director Beth Wolf has done a fine job with staging the piece and getting some really great comic performances out of the actors…. Benedick and Beatrice [are] played with matched skill and strong chemistry by Martel Manning and Ashlee Edgemon…. Beth Wolf and Midsommer Flight’s Much Ado about Nothing is highly entertaining and people should flock to see the magic that is created by this talented group through poetic language, superb story-telling and strong direction and acting. Read the whole review.
Yet another reviewer loves Much Ado About Nothing. Hugh Iglarsh of Newcity Stage writes,
Some of the nicer things in life really are free, such as Shakespeare served al fresco on a summer evening by the talented and community-minded Midsommer Flight theater collective. Now in its third year, the troupe is presenting a rollicking, high-energy “Much Ado About Nothing” …
The trick to staging the most difficult-to-follow playwright in the most distracting of settings is to visually underscore the action. Director Beth Wolf gives us a good example of this…
Ashlee Edgemon [as Beatrice] and Martel Manning [as Benedick] offer us convincingly zesty, bawdy versions of the two lovers… Midsommer Flight gives us the meat of a marvelous play in a form that all can enjoy, for one evening turning a nothing scrap of city park into an imaginative something to behold. Read the whole review.
Another rave review for Much Ado About Nothing! Barbara Keer of Splash Magazine called the show an “amazing production.” She writes,
Summer Magic in a Chicago Park We could not remember a Shakespeare production that we found more enjoyable including outdoor productions in Cardiff, Wales, Livermore, CA and even formal productions at the Stratford Festival in Canada. …
The large cast kept the action moving and with no raised stage, the actors essentially surrounded the audience and involved us in the action. It was fascinating to see the way the performance space became defined. The actors spoke each and every word clearly and audibly. It was a delightful performance, accessible and involving. The costuming was perfect and the actions, sword fight, dancing, singing and movements into the performance space and away held the audience’s attention including the children who attended. All of the actors were convincing in their roles and the language seemed to flow into the action. (This play is unusual in that it is written in prose rather than poetry.) However, Ashlee Edgemon as Beatrice was irresistible. I have been telling all my friends, so I should also tell my readers to “Get thee to a park. Make haste!” Read the whole review here.
Ms. Keer also snapped some great pictures of the crowd at the opening performance. Check out the review on Splash Magazine’s website to see her photos!