Matt Chiorini Directs MACBETH To Open 2013 For Nashville Shakespeare Festival


Matt Chiorini Directs MACBETH To Open 2013 For Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Matt Chiorini directs Macbeth-one of the bard's best-known political tragedies-to kick off 2013 for Nashville Shakespeare Festival  at Belmont University's Troutt Theater January 10-27. Eric D. Pasto-Crosby and Shannon Hoppe lead a cast of NSF veterans and newcomers in the much-anticipated production.

 "Macbeth is a timeless and timely tragedy about a man whose ambition outweighs his judgment," says Denice Hicks, NSF executive artistic director. "The talent involved with this production is a potent combination that will create a fresh, moving and haunting show."

Nashville Ballet will contribute choreography to a Nashville Shakes production with dancers portraying Macbeth's three witches.

The festival's 2013 winter production is directed by Chiorini, who currently teaches at LeMoyne College after serving as founding artistic director of the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival, and assisted by Hicks. A familiar face to Nashville audiences, Chiorini is former artistic director of People's Branch Theatre and has been an actor and teacher for Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children's Theater and Nashville Shakespeare Festival.

Hicks has been part of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival since 1990 as an actor, director and teaching artist. She has held the position of artistic director since 2005. An Ingram Fellowship award winner and advocate for Arts in Education, Hicks has developed and facilitated workshops for students of all ages and designed and implemented the festival's Apprentice Company Training and Shakespeare Allowed! programming.

Pasto-Crosby will play Macbeth, with Hoppe as Lady Macbeth. The roles of Duncan and Seward will be performed by Brian Russell

Pasto-Crosby and Hoppe played the witty lovers Berowne and Rosalind in the 2010 production of Love's Labor's Lost. Pasto-Crosby had the role of Mark Antony in the festival's 2012 production of Julius Caesar and played Laertes in the 2008 production of Hamlet.  Hoppe was also seen as Lady Capulet in the 2011 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Russell has been working for the festival for many years and most recently appeared in the role of Brutus in last winter's production ofJulius Caesar.  In 2010 he was Prospero in The Tempest, and Russell played the Bard himself in the original play Shakespeare's Case, performed in 2011.

Other Nashville Shakes alumni in the ensemble are: Evelyn O'Neal Brush as Lady Macduff, Jon Royal as Banquo, and Robert Marigza as Malcolm. 2012 Apprentice Company members Rachel Woods and Eryn Haber are also in the cast.

Making their Nashville Shakespeare Festival debuts are Aaron Muñoz as Macduff, Tony Nappo as Ross, Kraig Kelsey as Lennox, Andrew Derminio as Angus, Edd Garcia as Seyton, Ben Hutto as Young Seward, Charlie Webb and Jack Woods as Fleance, and Brooke and Abby Jones as the Macduff children.

Costumes for the festival's 2013 winter production are by Billy Ditty, with set design by Made First and light design by Anne Willingham.

Opening night is Thursday, January 10, and the show runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons through January 27. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Tickets available through or by calling (615) 852-6732. Discount group rates are available. 

Pictured: Shannon Hoppe and Eric D. Pasto-Crosby/photo by Jeff Frazier

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.

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