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Stark Naked Theatre to Round Out Third Season with Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE, 5/2-16

Stark Naked Theatre to Round Out Third Season with Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE, 5/2-16

Stark Naked Theatre Company concludes its third season with a compelling production of one of William Shakespeare's most fascinating plays, The Winter's Tale. Directed by acclaimed Houston actor/director Philip Lehl, The Winter's Tale opens on May 2nd and runs through May 16th at STUDIO 101.

A romantic drama with strong comedic elements, The Winter's Tale is, at its essence, a mesmerizing commentary on both the destructive and redemptive powers of love. Stark Naked's minimalist production features a talented ensemble cast comprised of: David Wald (Leontes), Tawny Stephens (Hermione), Jeff McMorrough (Camillo), Luis Galindo (Polixenes), Mike Sims (Autolycus), Courtney Lomelo (Paulina), Matt Lents (Florizel), and Shunte Lofton (Perdita).

Following the resounding success of Stark Naked's Macbeth, a unique pre-production planning effort for the theatre's second Shakespeare offering began in earnest last fall. Lehl, along with co-Artistic Director Kim Tobin, assembled a creative team to collaboratively identify which of Shakespeare's works would be best showcased with a bare bones, minimalist design aesthetic in the intimate setting of STUDIO 101. Lehl and Tobin's intention? To strip away a production's non-essential layers, thereby emphasizing Shakespeare's text, and allowing the actors-as well as the audience-to be truly immersed in the Bard's timeless storytelling.

As the Houston Press recently noted, "Reading the Bard is no substitute for watching talented performers put him across with masterful flair and conviction. Knotty phrases that can seem so impenetrable on the page are rendered clear and clean when Stark Naked's ensemble sinks their skills into them. The Jacobean dust of centuries past is blown away, and Shakespeare is brought smack into our life, vivid and immediate."

Selected as Stark Naked Theatre's first bare bones Shakespeare production, The Winter's Tale is an epic story spanning 16 years and two generations. The play revolves around King Leontes of Sicilia, who allows his tremendous love for his wife Hermione to devolve into obsessive jealously. Suspicious that Hermione is having an affair with his longstanding best friend, Polixenes, Leontes' reason and sound judgment become consumed by thoughts of betrayal. And when Leontes uses his power as King to exact the ultimate revenge, tragic consequences ensue.

Stark Naked Theatre Company is proud to conclude its third season with William Shakespeare's romantic drama, The Winter's Tale. Directed by Philip Lehl, The Winter's Tale previews May 1st, opens on May 2nd, and runs through May 16th, 2014. Performances will be held at Stark Naked's STUDIO 101, located at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street, Houston, Texas, 77007. During the first two weeks of the production's run, show times are as follows: Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm and a special "Pay What You Can" performance scheduled on Monday, May 12th at 7:30 pm. Performances for the last week of the run are: Wednesday, May 14th and Thursday, May 15th at 7:30 pm, with closing night on Friday, May 16th at 8:00 pm. Tickets (priced at $20 for general admission, $17 for seniors and $10 for students) are available for purchase at www.starknakedtheatre.com or by phone at 832.866.6514.

Cast and Creative Team for The Winter's Tale:

Philip Lehl (Director) is a Houston-based actor, director, and teacher. Co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of Stark Naked Theatre Company, Philip has appeared in the company's productions of Faith Healer, MacBeth, Dinner With Friends and Debt Collectors. As a director, Philip's productions include: Body Awareness (at Stark Naked Theatre), Almost, Maine and Reckless (with Brave Dog Theatre), Art (at Generations), Ferdinand the Bull (at Stages Repertory Theatre), On the Town (co-director, Bayou City Concert Musicals) and Debt Collectors (co-director, Stark Naked Theatre Company). On Broadway, Philip's acting credits include roles in Blood Brothers and The Kentucky Cycle, the Off-Broadway production of Hundreds of Hats as well as the first National Tour of Titanic, the Musical. Since arriving in Texas in 2001, Philip has been a mainstay of the Houston theatre scene, and his extensive list of credits includes: Oh, the Humanity, Yankee Tavern, I Am My Own Wife, Mr. Marmalade, Lady, Souvenir, Amy's View, The Pavilion, and Dirty Blonde with Stages Repertory Theatre; over thirty productions (and former resident company member) with the Alley Theatre, including: Clybourne Park, The Pillowman, The Farnsworth Invention, Eurydice, The Crucible, The Exonerated, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Mousetrap, Hamlet and The Invention of Love; Main Street Theatre's Arcadia; as well as King John, Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labour's Lost, Julius Caesar, and Cymbeline with the Houston Shakespeare Festival. As a current member of the Classical Theatre Company's resident acting company, Philip has appeared in productions of Ghosts, The Tempest, Uncle Vanya, and The Merchant of Venice. With Theatre-Under-The-Stars (TUTS), Philip has appeared in A Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music, and one memorable performance as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Other productions include: Our Town, Bat Boy, and Spring Awakening with Generations; Turn of the Screw at Unity Theatre, as well as several productions with the Bayou City Concert Musicals (BCCM), including: On the Town, Fiorello, Assassins, and She Loves Me. Philip has worked with numerous regional theatres throughout the country, including: St. Louis Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The New Harmony Theatre and Weston Playhouse. Film and Television credits include Tripwire, The Nanny, Martial Law and Hollywood Off-Ramp. Philip graduated from the Drama Division of the Juilliard School and Drake University, and trained with the National Theatre Institute as well as the Moscow Art Theatre School.

David Wald (Leontes) is making his Stark Naked Theatre Company debut. Theatre roles: Main Street Theater: Macbeth (Prague Shakespeare Company co-production), Into The Woods, Close Up Space, Love Goes to Press, Life Is a Dream, Dog Act, Richard III (Prague Shakespeare Company co-production), It's Only Life, A Catered Affair, The Doctor's Dilemma, A Number, But Not Goodbye, Present Laughter, Poor Richard, Wondergirl (World Premiere), and Promises, Promises. At TUTS: West Side Story. With the Houston Shakespeare Festival: Twelfth Night, Pericles, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest, Hamlet, and As You Like It. With the Prague Shakespeare Company: Cymbeline, and Macbeth. At Stages Repertory Theatre: Panto Red Riding Hood, Southern Rapture, Silence, and Baby: A Musical. With Unity Theatre: Camelot, Enchanted April, The Odd Couple, and The Heiress. With Theater LaB Houston: A Class Act and with Classical Theatre Company: Shylock, The Jew of Venice. Television: Crossing Lines (NBC). Anime Voices: Psycho Pass, Fairy Tail, One Piece, Phi Brain, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Starship Troopers: Invasion, Halo: Legends, Golgo 13, Shiki, Hakouki, and Tokyo Majin. Education: Elmhurst College/Theatre and Music; University of Miami/Studio Music and Jazz. David is a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association.

Tawny Stephens (Hermione) is making her regional performance debut after moving to Houston last April. Tawny graduated from Greensboro College in 2000 with a B.A. in Theatre Performance. After graduation she toured for several years with Stageworks, Studentlife, Inc. and The Dramatic Vagabonds. Teaching credits include: three years teaching Drama with the Calera, AL branch of MAFA, plus classes with MCAT and AD Players. Directing credits include: The Laramie Project, Murder Me Always, Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, The Jungle Book (kids), and her Houston directorial debut, The Diary of Anne Frank at AD Players. Favorite acting credits include: Audrey - Little Shop of Horrors, Nancy - Oliver!, Gertrude McFuzz - Seussical, Mrs. Walker - Tommy, Linda - Talk Radio, Pam Lukowski - The Full Monty, and Sylvie - The Odd Couple (Female Version).

Luis Galindo (Polixenes) is thrilled and grateful to be making his debut with Stark Naked Theatre Company. Luis is an ensemble member of the Independent Shakespeare Company (ISC) of Los Angeles, and a member of Company of Angels, also in LA. Previously an instructor of acting at the New York Film Academy (LA branch) and a guest artist/lecturer at Tulane University, Luis is currently an adjunct professor at Alvin Community College.

Theatre roles with ISC include: Macbeth (Macbeth), Jaques (As You Like It), Oberon (Midsummer Night's Dream), King Ferdinand (Loves Labours Lost), Ghost/Player King/Gravedigger (Hamlet), Duke (Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona), Polixenes (The Winter's Tale), Lodovico (Othello), Don Pedro (Much Ado About Nothing), and Nym (Merry Wives of Windsor). With Company of Angels: Eme in BLU. NYC roles: Zelger (The Band's Visit) at Playwright's Horizons, Mckinley (Project Balagniga) with Ma-Yi Theatre Co, and Ed (Hush) at INTAR Theatre. Regional productions: Lord/Senator (Othello), Edwin (Our Lady of 121st St.), Boy (understudy) in The Play About the Baby - directed by Edward Albee, Parker/Harris (Gross Indecency), Merchant 1-2 (Comedy of Errors), and Wilkins (A Christmas Carol) - all at the Alley Theatre; with Stages Repertory Theatre: Henry (Failure: A Love Story) and Faustus (Wittenberg); with Hartford Stage: Zelger (The Band's Visit); with Montana Shakespeare Company: Kent (King Lear) and Angelo (Comedy of Errors); and with the Houston Shakespeare Festival: France (King Lear) and Valentine (Two Gentlemen of Verona). Television: Walker, TX Ranger and Blood Relatives. Film: Vagrant in The Carrier and El Jeffe in Crossies. Luis obtained his MFA from the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program, and is the author of a collection of poems called Electric Rats in a Neon Gutter: Poems, Songs and Stories (available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble Nook).

Also featuring: Jeff McMorrough (Camillo), Mike Sims (Autolycus), Courtney Lomelo (Paulina), Matt Lents (Florizel), and Shunte Lofton (Perdita).

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