Scarlett Strallen, Esau Pritchett, and John Lavelle Lead Cast for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Hartford Stage

Scarlett Strallen, Esau Pritchett, and John Lavelle Lead Cast for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts announced today the cast and creative team for William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tresnjak. The comedy, which runs September 7 through October 8, opens Hartford Stage's 2017-18 season. Actors Scarlett Strallen, Esau Pritchett, and John Lavelle lead the distinguished cast.

One of Shakespeare's most popular works, A Midsummer Night's Dream captivates with the intertwined stories of six bumbling actors; four lovestruck teenagers; one royal wedding; and the infinite magical realm of the fairies. Lust, folly, madness-and even true love-hide in the shimmering lights of the enchanted forest.

"We are thrilled to open our 2017-18 season with a celebratory and joyous production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream," Tresnjak said. "Both populist and sophisticated, delightful and profound, Midsummer is a play of infinite riches. I believe that it is Shakespeare's most perfect play."

Tresnjak's Hartford Stage credits include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical for Tresnjak); the new musical Anastasia, currently on Broadway; Heartbreak House; The Comedy of Errors; Rear Window; Romeo & Juliet; and Hamlet. Other recent credits include The Killer (2014 Obie Award for Direction) at Theatre for a New Audience and The Ghosts of Versailles at LA Opera.

English stage actress Scarlett Strallen will play Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, and Titania, the Fairy Queen. Strallen, a two-time Olivier Award nominee, assumed the role of Sibella in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murderon Broadway in 2015. In 2013, she played Cassie in the West End revival of A Chorus Line. Strallen also starred as Lady Macduff in Kenneth Branagh's production of Macbeth and as Mary Poppins in the London West End and Broadway productions. She most recently appeared in the Encores! Off-Center revival of Cole Porter's The New Yorkers.

Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and Oberon, the Fairy King, will be played by acclaimed stage actor Esau Pritchett.Pritchett starred as Mark Antony in the McCarter Theatre Center's production of Antony & Cleopatra. He has also appeared in A Free Man of Color on Broadway, The Crucible at the Cleveland Play House, August Wilson's King Hedley II at the Matrix Theatre, and August Wilson's Fences at Long Wharf Theatre. His film and television credits include The Narrows, Iron Fist, and Orange is the New Black.

John Lavelle will portray Nick Bottom, the hapless weaver. Lavelle played journalist Roy Reed in the 2014 Academy Award-nominated film Selma. He also played Benjamin opposite Lorraine Bracco in John Reid's 2002 Broadway adaptation of The Graduate. Additional stage credits include Macbeth and Red Velvet at The Old Globe and The Royale at Lincoln Center Theater. Lavelle portrayed Gratiano in Darko Tresnjak's acclaimed production of The Merchant of Venice at Theatre for a New Audience and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has done voice work for the hit animated films Zootopia and Frozen and, most recently, for the scripted audio drama Bronzeville.

Joining Strallen, Pritchett, and Lavelle in the company of A Midsummer Night's Dream are: Will Apicella (As You Like It, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; Andromache, Teatro della Pergola, Florence) as Philostrate/Puck; Brent Bateman (Birdman; Boardwalk Empire; Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular - National Tour) as Snout; Robert Hannon Davis (Romeo & Juliet and A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas, Hartford Stage) as Peter Quince/Egeus; Fedna Laure Jacquet (Proof, Kenny Leon's True Colors; The Tempest, Classical Theatre of Harlem) as Helena; Jenny Leona (The Underpants, Hartford Stage; Frankenstein, Denver Center Theatre Company) as Hermia; Matthew Macca (The Comedy of Errors, Hartford Stage; Brighton Beach Memoirs, Playhouse on Park) as Francis Flute; Anne O' Sullivan(Hedda Gabler, Hartford Stage; Becoming Dr. Ruth, B Street Theatre) as First Fairy; Tom Pecinka (Cloud 9, Hartford Stage; Arcadia, Yale Repertory Theatre) as Lysander; Alexander Sovronsky (The Comedy of Errors, Hartford Stage; Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway) as Robin Starveling; Damian Jermaine Thompson (Fly, Pasadena Playhouse; The Whipping Man, Arkansas Repertory Theatre) as Demetrius; and Louis Tucci (The Comedy of Errors, Hartford Stage; Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story on Broadway) as Snug.

Melody Atkinson, Gabrielle Filloux, Madison Vice, students at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, will portray the fairies.

In addition to Tresnjak, the creative team includes: Set Designer Alexander Dodge (Anastasia and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder at Hartford Stage and on Broadway); Costume Designer Joshua Pearson (Private Lives and La Dispute at Hartford Stage); Lighting Designer York Kennedy (August Wilson's The Piano Lesson and Rear Window at Hartford Stage); Sound Designers Broken Chord Collective/Daniel Baker and Aaron Meicht (The Whipping Man, Hartford Stage; Eclipsed on Broadway); Composer and Music Director Alexander Sovronsky (The Comedy of Errors, Hartford Stage); Fight Choreographer Thomas Schall (11 productions on Broadway last season, including The Little Foxes and The Front Page); and Voice and Text Coach Claudia Hill-Sparks (Anastasia on Broadway; Hamlet, Hartford Stage). Hartford Stage Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Williams on,Dramaturg for Anastasia and Heartbreak House, will serve as Dramaturg.

Robyn M. Zalewski (Heartbreak House and The Comedy of Errors at Hartford Stage) will serve as Production Stage Manager, with Nicole Wiegert as Assistant Stage Manager (James and the Giant Peach and Big Fish at First Stage Milwaukee).

Sponsors
A Midsummer Night's Dream is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national theater program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

The Executive Sponsors for A Midsummer Night's Dream are Travelers and The John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.

The Producing Sponsor is Federman, Lally & Remis.

Individual Producers are William and Judith Thompson.

The 2017-18 Season is also sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

Special Dates
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 7
Opening Night: 8 p.m., Friday, September 15
Closes: 2 p.m., Sunday, October 8

Tickets & Performances
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 7:30 p.m.-Fri, Sat at 8 p.m.-Sat, Sun at 2 p.m.
Wed matinee at 2 p.m. on September 20 only.
Weekly schedules vary. For details, visit www.hartfordstage.org.

Follow Hartford Stage
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Tickets for all shows start at $25. Student tickets: $18.

For group discounts (10 or more), email groupsales@hartfordstage.org or call 860-520-7114.

For all other tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit www.hartfordstage.org.


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