American Shakespeare Center's Wicked Folly Troupe Celebrates Its 150th Performance

American Shakespeare Center's Wicked Folly Troupe Celebrates Its 150th Performance

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) celebrated 150 performances of the Wicked Folly Tour and Spring Season productions on May 30 with a performance of The Taming of the Shrew.

The "Wicked Folly" troupe, now in residency at the Blackfriars Playhouse, launched its national tour in September 2017 with performances of Shakespeare's Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, and a world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility by Emma Whipday with Brian McMahon. The Spring Season at the Blackfriars Playhouse features those productions alongside Bill Cain's Equivocation and plays through June 10.

Since launching, the troupe has produced 51 performances of Macbeth, 40 performances of The Taming of the Shrew, 20 performances of Sense and Sensibility, and 7 performances of Equivocation along with 32 performances of A Christmas Carol during the Blackfriars Playhouse Holiday Season.

The troupe features Hilary Alexa Caldwell, Josh Clark, Topher Embrey, Ally Farzetta, J.C. Long, Mitchell McCollum, Kyle Powell, Annabelle Rollison, Ronald Román-Meléndez, Calder Shilling, and Constance Swain. Thomas J. Coppola is Troupe Manager and Assistant Director. Rigel Powell is Assistant Troupe Manager.

Two weeks of performances remain at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia. Best seats start at $54. Information and tickets are available at or by calling the box office at 1.877.MUCH.ADO.

Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, Harrisonburg, or Rockingham County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Wednesdays, and Thursdays. College student rush tickets at $14 are available for all performances, 60 minutes before showtime with valid student ID. Student, Senior, Military, and AAA discounts are available. Groups of 15 or more who order together save 20%.

Sense and Sensibility
By Jane Austen
Adapted by Emma Whipday with Brian McMahon
Directed by Stephanie Holladay Earl

After their father dies, the Dashwood women must learn to embrace a new life, for better or for worse. Sisters Marianne (a hopeless romantic) and Elinor (a stoic realist) experience the pitfalls of society, the generosity of new friends, and the passion of unexpected love in this world-premiere adaptation of Jane Austen's exquisite early work. By battling through vicious gossip, relative poverty, and silly characters (not to mention countless set-ups by the "helpful" Mrs. Jennings), these sisters learn the importance of both sense and sensibility.

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Benjamin Curns

From the first words of the play until the title character loses his head, Shakespeare's shortest tragedy is also his most unrelenting examination of the dark side of humanity. Driven to bloody deeds by their lust for power and supernatural predictions, Macbeth and his Lady fight to hold on to their ill-gotten throne, their sanity, and each other by any means necessary.

The Taming of the Shrew
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jemma Alix Levy

This hilarious comedy is much more than a "battle of the sexes"; it is also a profound look at the necessity of "play" in our lives. This production includes Shakespeare's "Induction," which presents the Kate and Petruchio story as a play within the play. Blending romantic comedy and outlandish farce, Shakespeare gives us a love story of psychological liberation and the mysteries of being married.

By Bill Cain
Directed by Vanessa Morosco

Equivocation is "the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself" - and Equivocation is exactly that. Robert Cecil, Secretary of State to James I, commissions the unwilling playwright William Shagspeare to write a history of the Gunpowder Plot, the failed assassination of King James. Shag takes on this controversial play and uncovers a murderous conspiracy so scandalous even he couldn't have written it.

The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining" and by The Boston Globe as "phenomenal...bursting with energy." Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at

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