The Acting Company to Present Annual Louanna O. Carlin & John MacDonald Reading Series

Readings include PUCK'D: A Middle-Aged Summer Night's Dream, Hamlet and more.

By: Oct. 12, 2023
The Acting Company to Present Annual Louanna O. Carlin & John MacDonald Reading Series
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The Acting Company will present the New York performances for their annual Louanna O. Carlin & John MacDonald Reading Series. The series will feature a trio of unique, insightful and sometimes hilarious interpretations of works by William Shakespeare, featuring acclaimed artists Matt Hoverman (Disney Jr., Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program), John Rando (Broadway's Back to the Future, Mr. Saturday Night, Urinetown (Tony Award)), Reynaldo Piniella (Thomas Barbour award for Playwriting, Broadway's Thoughts of a Colored Man and Trouble in Mind) and Emily Lyon (Artistic Director of Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park's The Tempest), Artistic Director Kent Gash (Off-Broadway's Miss Ever's Boys, Call the Children Home, and Samm-Art William's Home) and John Douglas Thompson (Broadway's King Lear, Carousel, Jitney, A Time to Kill, Cyrano de Bergerac, Julius Caesar).

Each season, The Acting Company hosts a series of staged readings. A mixture of new texts, classics of the canon, and forgotten favorites, these readings are a showcase of The Acting Company's alumni and a chance to explore other works by playwrights and directors featured in the company's National Tours. The Acting Company gratefully recognizes the generous supporters of The Louanna O. Carlin and John MacDonald Reading Series, including Richard J. Reilly, Jr. (Series Producing Sponsor), Lori-Anne Wynter (Underwriter, Hamlet) and John and Jill Gilbert (Underwriters, Antony and Cleopatra).

The Acting Company's Louanna O. Carlin & John MacDonald 2023-2024 Reading Series includes:

PUCK'D: A Middle-Aged Summer Night's Dream

By Matt Hoverman
Directed by John Rando

Monday, December 11, 2023 at 7:30 pm
Peter Jay Sharp Theater
416 West 42 Street, New York, NY, 10036

In this farcical sequel to A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's four young lovers are now middle-aged and unhappily married. Chasing after their own teenaged kids - who have impetuously fled into the enchanted woods to elope - the two aging couples once again fall under the forest's spell (and the mischievousness of an existentially-depressed Puck and his fairy queen Titania). As they shift from prose to rhyming couplets in iambic-ish pentameter, the four middle-aged lovers must face their deepest fears and - youthful passions rekindled - decide whether to evolve together or end their relationships once and for all. A comic, heartfelt play filled with romantic misfires and magical hijinks - about how for marriages to thrive long-term, we must all "return to the woods" - and grow.

Hamlet

By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Reynaldo Piniella and Emily Lyon
Directed by Artistic Director Kent Gash

Monday, February 12, 2024 at 7:30 pm
Peter Jay Sharp Theater
416 West 42 Street, New York, NY, 10036

Hamlet is a Black, Latinx prince in this radical bilingual reimagining of Shakespeare's tragedy, with text infused by the Spanish spoken in present-day New York City. This exciting new perspective on the renowned play celebrates two diverse communities, reconsiders the way language shapes the intimacy in our relationships, and considers whose stories get told, and how.

Antony and Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare
Featuring John Douglas Thompson as Mark Antony
Produced in association with Red Bull Theater

Monday, March 25, 2024 at 7:30 pm
The Mainstage Theatre
416 West 42 Street, New York, NY, 10036

In this classic Jacobean tragedy of love and duty, Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen, and the Roman general Mark Antony scandalize Egypt and Rome alike through their passionate love affair, setting off a chain of broken alliances, jealous rages and civil war that reverberate through the known world in one of Shakespeare's greatest historical love stories.

Series ticket packages are now available for the Louanna O. Carlin & John MacDonald Reading Series' New York performances. Reserved and General Admission seats for each show may be purchased together at a special price for a limited time, and Premium and General Admission Single Tickets are available for PUCK'D: A Middle-Aged Summer Night's Dream. Seating is subject to availability. Visit theactingcompany.org/reading-series or call 212-258-3111 to purchase tickets.

For more information, visit www.theactingcompany.org.

ABOUT The Acting Company

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kent Gash, Managing Director Erik Schroeder, and Producing Director Devin Brain, The Acting Company brings professional productions and education programs, in-school residencies, and teacher training workshops to thousands of audience members and students in underserved communities and schools each year. Founded by John Houseman and Margot Harley, the company seeks to develop emerging actors and build enthusiastic, knowledgeable audiences for the theater in towns across the United States. The Acting Company launched the careers of nearly 500 actors, including Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Mary Lou Rosato, Keith David, Rainn Wilson, Lorraine Toussaint, Frances Conroy, Harriet Harris, Lisa Banes, Jeffrey Wright, Hamish Linklater, Jesse L. Martin, Roslyn Ruff, Jimonn Cole, and Kelley Curran.

Over 5,000 students in New York City and across the country benefit from The Acting Company's in-school residencies and educator workshops every year. Annually, over 30,000 audience members see an Acting Company production across the country who otherwise lack access to professional classical theatre.

Among many accolades, The Acting Company received the 2003 Tony Award for Excellence in the Theater, and recently won the 2019 Audelco Award for Best Play for its production of Nambi E. Kelley's Native Son directed by Seret Scott.

Since 1972, The Acting Company has performed for over four million people in 48 states, 10 foreign countries, on and Off-Broadway, and at leading resident theaters including The Guthrie and The Kennedy Center. New works commissioned by the company include plays by William Finn, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, John Guare, Beth Henley, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, Meg Miroshnik, Ntozake Shange, Maria Irene Fornés, Spalding Gray, Marsha Norman, Charles Smith, Samm-Art Williams, and Wendy Wasserstein.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAMS

Matt Hoverman (Playwright, PUCK'D: A Middle-Aged Summer Night's Dream) is a TV writer/producer and playwright whose groundbreaking work in children's animation has been recognized with an Emmy, the Humanitas Prize and the Sentinel Award - as well as nominations for Annie, NAMIC and two GLAAD Awards. He created Disney Junior's first character on the autism spectrum (Fancy Nancy) and Disney's first princess with a disability (Sofia the First). He also developed the upcoming series RoboGobo for television, served as head writer/story editor on Firebuds and wrote for Spidey & His Amazing Friends, Goldie & Bear, Arthur and Curious George.

As a playwright for grown-ups, Matt's farcical comedies include Puck'd: A Middle-Aged Summer Night's Dream, The Glint, Who You See Here, Thrillsville, In Transit and Christmas Shorts - which have been given starry readings on and off-Broadway featuring actors like Beau Bridges, Jean Smart, Michael McKean, Cecily Strong, Edie Falco, Hank Azaria, Debra Messing, Alicia Silverstone and Christina Ricci. Matt's plays have been produced and/or developed by the La Jolla Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Huntington Stage, Guild Hall, The Acting Company, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, the Transport Group, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Edward Albee Foundation and theatres across the country - and have been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and won the FringeNYC Best Playwriting Award and the Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival. His mini-musical It's Okay, Mom! - with music by Lisa Loeb and starring JoBeth Williams and Josh Hamilton - streamed on Broadway on Demand as part of Together Apart: 10 Mini-Musicals about One Life-Changing Year. Matt also co-wrote magician David Copperfield's Vegas show and wrote the book for the Disneyland Paris live stage musical Disney Junior Dream Factory.

Once an actor, Matt was part of the 2001 Acting Company tour, where he was directed by John Rando. Other credits include the La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep, the Women's Project, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and many voice-over appearances on the cartoons Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Sonic X, Shaman King, The WinX Club, Sofia the First, Viva Piñata, Dinosaur King, One Piece, The Harlock Saga, Chaotic, Cubix and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Education: Brown University: BA in Playwriting; UCSD: MFA in Acting. MattHoverman.com

John Rando (Director, PUCK'D: A Middle-Aged Summer Night's Dream) London: Back to the Future. Broadway: Urinetown (Tony Award), Back to the Future, Mr. Saturday Night, On the Town (Tony nomination), A Christmas Story, The Wedding Singer, Penn & Teller, The Dinner Party. City Center Encores!: The New Yorkers, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Damn Yankees, Face the Music, The Pajama Game. New York Philharmonic: Carousel. Off-Broadway: The Heir Apparent (SDCF Callaway Award), All in the Timing (Obie Award). China: The Secret, Spirit of Life, and The Island. For The Acting Company, he directed Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Trevor Nunn's musical adaptation of Comedy of Errors.

Reynaldo Piniella (Co-Adapter, Hamlet) is an actor, writer, activist and educator from East New York, Brooklyn. In 2021, he was in The Acting Company of two Broadway shows at the same time - Thoughts of a Colored Man and Trouble in Mind. His Off-Broadway acting credits include work at Signature Theatre Company, the Public, the Working Theater, TFANA and Rattlestick, regionally with Baltimore Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Long Wharf, the O'Neill, Cleveland Playhouse, NY Stage & Film, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and Actors Theatre of Louisville and internationally with the Sundance Theatre Lab in Morocco. TV credits include Reservation Dogs, Sneaky Pete, Law & Order: SVU, The Carrie Diaries, Flesh & Bone, Blue Bloods, Greenleaf, Louie, NYC 22, Us & Them and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Film: "Madeline's Madeline" (Sundance Film Fest, Showtime), "Shadows" (HBO Max) and "Broken City" (20th Century Fox.) As a playwright, his work has been commissioned by Baltimore Center Stage and has been produced by Ars Nova, San Diego Rep, Single Carrot Theater, the Lee Strasberg Institute at NYU Tisch, the Center at West Park, Harlem9, the 24 Hour Plays and Pioneer Theatre Guild. His plays have been developed by the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Folger Theatre, National Black Theater, the Lark, the Billie Holiday Theatre, Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective, HB Studio and The Public Theater's Shakespeare Initiative. He received the Thomas Barbour award for Playwriting for his play Black Doves. He is a current faculty member at NYU Tisch and AMDA and has taught theater at Rikers Island Correctional Facility and with members of the NYPD. He has received fellowships from TCG, NALAC, Weeksville Heritage Center and the All Stars Project. He is an alum of All for One Theater's Solo Collective, The Civilians' R&D Group, New Victory Theater's LabWorks and was an artist-in-residence at Abingdon Theatre Company and Culture Lab LIC. @ReynaldoRey

Emily Lyon (Co-Adapter, Hamlet) is a director, dramaturg, and artistic director that carves out the humor and authenticity in new and classic texts. She leads and curates Expand the Canon - a celebration and call to action to include historic women writers in the canon of classics - as Artistic Director of Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre. Over the past three years, she also created a Social Impact Writers Lab, founded Future Facing Films, helped develop the 2021 Hollywood Climate Summit, joined the first US cohort of the Creative Climate Leadership, and created an environmental justice card game with The Civilians R&D Group. With Hedgepig, she has directed 9 productions, including Hannah Cowley's A Bold Stroke for a Husband from the 2020 Expand the Canon list. As a freelance director, Lyon has directed 8 world premiere plays, and worked with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Geva Theatre, The Old Globe, LaMaMa, Yale Rep, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Folger, University of Michigan, and others. As a freelance dramaturg, she's worked with writers on shaping 25+ new plays, as well as editing classical texts, including the Expand the Canon plays, and The Tempest for Shakespeare in the Park. Find out more at expandthecanon.com and EmilyALyon.com.

Kent Gash (Director, Hamlet, The Acting Company Artistic Director) brings to The Acting Company professional collaborations with stellar living dramatists Tarell Alvin McCraney, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Robert O'Hara, Dominique Morisseau, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Regina Taylor, among many others. He has also directed dynamic modern reconsiderations of Alexander Dumas, Langston Hughes, Noël Coward, Duke Ellington, Frank Loesser, Stephen Sondheim, William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and August Wilson. As a director, Kent's productions have been seen at leading U.S. theaters including The Public Theater, Steppenwolf, the Guthrie, Fords Theatre and The Acting Company's newly commissioned production of The Three Musketeers, centering Dumas and the Black origins of the classic swashbuckler at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, playing through October 2023. Recent projects include the world premiere musical Billy Strayhorn: Something To Live For. Kent was Associate Artistic Director of Alliance Theatre and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He is the founding director of NYU-Tisch's New Studio on Broadway, he serves on the SDC Foundations' Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency for Black Directors selection committee and the Princess Grace Foundation Arts Advisory Council. Carnegie-Mellon (BFA, Acting) and UCLA (MFA, Directing).

John Douglas Thompson (Mark Antony, Antony and Cleopatra). Through his impressive body of work John has established himself as a highly regarded and versatile actor in theater, film, and television. Broadway: Jitney (Tony nomination); King Lear; A Time To Kill; Cyrano de Bergerac; Julius Caesar. Off-Broadway: Hamlet; Endgame (Drama League, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel nominations); The Iceman Cometh (Obie, Drama Desk Awards); Tamburlaine (Obie, Drama Desk Awards); Satchmo At The Waldorf (Drama Desk, NAACP, Outer Critics Circle Awards); King Lear; Macbeth; Othello (Obie, Lucille Lortel Awards); The Emperor Jones (Lucille Lortel, Drama League, Drama Desk nominations); Hedda Gabler. Regional: The Tempest (Elliott Norton Award); Man In The Ring (Elliott Norton Award); Joe Turner's Come And Gone (Ovation Award); Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (Barrymore Award). Film/TV: Till; The Gilded Age; Mare Of Easttown; For Life; 21 Bridges; Glass Chin. John is a recipient of 2022 Eugene O'Neill Medallion.

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