Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre opens June 10

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre’s 10th anniversary season will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, with A Midsummer Night’s Dream outdoors on The Lawn of McAlister Hall on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas.

Romeo and Juliet will open in Reynolds Performance Hall on Friday, June 17, and West Side Story will open Friday, June 24. AST’s family-friendly adaptation of Twelfth Night will open Thursday, June 30, in Reynolds and will also tour across the state in June and July, with performances at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain, Hot Spring’s Farmer’s Market, Argenta Community Theatre, The Joint in Argenta and two venues in El Dorado, Leslie, Helena and Pine Bluff.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by AST’s producing artistic director Rebekah Scallet, features some of Shakespeare’s most beloved actors from years past, including Conway native Nisi Sturgis, fresh off a critically-acclaimed tour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced at the Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep. Sturgis will play Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Jordan Coughtry, who most recently starred in the title role in AST’s Hamlet, will play Puck in Midsummer and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. He will also performing original music he wrote for Midsummer. Robert G. Anderson, who famously stole the show with his dog Salem (Crab) in AST’s 2014 production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, will return with roles in both Midsummer as Peter Quince and Romeo and Juliet as Friar Laurence. Both Paige Reynolds and Dan Matisa, AST veterans who have each appeared in eight of AST’s previous nine seasons, will be featured this year. Reynolds will play Hippolyta in Midsummer and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, and Matisa will return to the role of Bottom, the same part he played in AST’s 2007 production of Midsummer as part of AST’s inaugural season. Matisa will also appear as Doc in West Side Story.

Romeo and Juliet will be directed by Robert Quinlan, who was previously with AST as director of Richard III and Hamlet. This production will be set in the Italian Renaissance.

Playing the title roles in Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story are Sophina Saggau, a young actress earning her degree at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre BFA training program, and Haulston Mann, returning to AST for his second season. These actors will also play the young lovers Hermia and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

West Side Story, directed by Jeremy Williams (Pippin, Fiddler on the Roof) features Michelle Alves in the key role of Anita. Alves recently appeared in the same role in the acclaimed National Broadway tour of West Side Story. Starring as Maria and Tony are Lauren Langbaum and Dylan Stasack, respectively, both of New York City. Rounding out the company is a talented group of veterans and newcomers. Audiences will be will be seated onstage for West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night in brand new chairs purchased in commemoration of the 10th anniversary season.

Chad Bradford will make his directorial debut with AST for the touring family friendly production of Twelfth Night and will also take the stage as Oberon in Midsummer. AST’s 10th season will close on Saturday, July 9, with a final performance of Midsummer.

For more information about the complete season, visit Tickets are now on sale; call 866.810.0012.

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is the state’s only professional Shakespeare company and is proud to make its home on the UCA campus. Each summer, AST offers full productions of a range of Shakespeare’s works, as well as other plays and musicals that help fulfill AST’s mission to entertain, engage, and enrich the community.