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Door Shakespeare Announces Its First Virtual Production

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Door Shakespeare, Producing Artistic Director Michael Stebbins, and Managing Director Amy Ensign, have announced their first virtual production: "Rosalind," by J.M. Barrie, running Wednesday, September 2 through Sunday, September 13. Shows are Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30, Saturdays at 5:00 and 7:30, and Sundays at 5:00. Tickets run from $7.50 to $16 and may be purchased online (doorshakespeare.com) or by phone: 920.854.7111.

"In the fall of 2019, Door Shakespeare kicked off its reading series with two contemporary plays which had a direct connection to the works of William Shakespeare," said Producing Artistic Director Michael Stebbins. "Our summer 2020 season was also to include two other contemporary plays with direct connections to the Bard. We decided to share, as our first virtual production, a little known playlet called 'Rosalind,' by J. M. Barrie, the beloved writer of 'Peter Pan.' It, too, is a bow to the Bard, and we are excited to share it with the public."

"Rosalind" tells the story of the mother of a famous London stage actress, known for her portrayal of Rosalind in William Shakespeare's "As You Like It." While vacationing at the cottage of one Dame Quickly, a young man appears at the door, a young man who just happens to be in love with the famous London actress, who mother is staying at the cottage. What unfolds is a heartfelt rollercoaster of a comedy that moves through the emotional highs and lows of first loves, that questions what is one's true self and what is a mask, and examines the powerful pull of a life on the stage and the sacrifices that one is willing to make for the sake of art.

Rehearsals will take place on Zoom, but in order to have more control over the quality and production aspects, "Rosalind" will be recorded for performance.

"In the final week of rehearsal we will be working closely with our editor, recording three run-thrus of each scene from three different angles by way of cell phone cameras in possession of each actor," Stebbins explained. "After the rehearsal and recording process is complete, myself, the editor, and the sound designer/composer, will work together, remotely, to complete the piece that will be shared with audiences."

Stebbins continued, "Door Shakespeare is taking a unique approach to its first virtual production. Since there are three actors each working in the confines of their own home, but portraying characters co-existing in the same space, it was decided that three sets of identical props and furniture would need to be created - including three fireplaces - and delivered to each actor. Period costumes, circa 1915, are also being delivered to each actor."

The cast of "Rosalind" includes Kay Allmand as Mrs. Page. Kay returns to Door Shakespeare after many seasons away for this special project. Previous appearances at Door Shakespeare include "The Merchant of Venice," "The Rivals," "Much Ado About Nothing," "The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)," "Pride and Prejudice," and "Twelfth Night." She has also appeared at Third Avenue Playhouse and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

Rhonda Rae Busch plays Dame Quickly. Rhonda Rae is a Milwaukee based actress who has worked at Skylight Music Theatre, First Stage, The Fireside, Northern Sky Theater, In Tandem, The Palace, and the Marcus Center. Favorite credits include "Les Miserables" (Madame Thernardier), "Annie" (Miss Hannigan), "Fiddler on the Roof" (Golde) "White Christmas" (Martha), "Into the Woods" (Jack's Mother), "Church Basement Ladies" (Mavis), and "Death Trap" (Helga ten Dorp).

In the role of Charles Roche is Chicago-based actor Alexander Johnson. Alexander has appeared on stage with Metropolis Performing Arts, Three Brothers Theatre, and various productions and staged readings throughout Wisconsin as a founding member of Veteran Outreach Theatre. He holds a BA in both Theatre Performance and Music Theatre from Carthage College, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and continues his studies with The Second City and Acting Studio Chicago.

Designers for "Rosalind" include Costume Designer Kim Instenes. Kim works as a freelance costume and makeup designer in the Milwaukee/Chicago area. Professional design credits include Door Shakespeare's 2019 productions of "Henry V" and "The Merry Wives of Windsor," as well as productions at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, First Stage Children's Theater, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Renaissance Theaterworks, Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Racine Theatre Guild. She is currently on the theatre faculty at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Properties and Scenic Designer Jody Sekas returns for his third season with Door Shakespeare, and has worked as a freelance designer for such venues as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage Children's Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, and Omaha Theatre Company for Young People. Jody is currently Associate Professor of Scenic Design & Technology and a core professor in the Digital Design & Fabrication Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Ryan Schabach, Editor and Title Card Designer, has been a Door Shakespeare company member throughout the last 15 years, where he has directed, designed, produced, taught, choreographed, and acted. As an actor, he has worked at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Next Act Theatre, and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

Ann Warren, Composer and Sound Designer, is the Artistic Director of Concrete Timbre. Her compositions have been performed at contemporary venues in New York City, Paris, London, and throughout the USA.

Playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie was a journalist, playwright, and novelist. In 1904 he found international fame when he wrote "Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up." He followed it with the successful premieres of more than 50 plays including "The Admirable Crichton," "The Twelve-Pound Look," "Dear Brutus," and "Mary Rose." A contemporary of G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells, and a close friend of Arthur Conan Doyle and P.G. Wodehouse, Barrie was one of the most celebrated men of his day. Barrie died on June 3, 1937.

Director Michael Stebbins has directed J. M. Barrie's "Two by J. M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals," "Mary Rose," as well as numerous readings of his plays. Michael is the Producing Artistic Director of Door Shakespeare.

"It's wonderful to be creating again," shares Managing Director Amy Ensign. "None of us knew what to expect heading into our first virtual project. And although it is new territory for all of us, the creative process is just the same. And it feels great."

For more information about Door Shakespeare and their virtual production of "Rosalind," including show schedule and updates, visit doorshakespeare.com.


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