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Orlando Shakespeare Theater to Present THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, 2/4-3/7

Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF presents The Merry Wives of Windsor from February 4 - March 7, 2015 in the Margeson Theater. Directed by Brian Vaughn (2013's Othello), Shakespeare's comedy meets 1950s sitcom in this high-spirited romp full of mistaken identities, cross-dressing, and lots of canned laughter. Also part of the Theater's Classic Repertory Series, To Kill a Mockingbird (January 21 - March 8) and Henry V (February 18 - March 22) will play concurrently. Tickets to all three productions are available now by calling (407) 447-1700 ext. 1, visiting, or in person at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 East Rollins Street).

Set in the fictional town of Windsor in late 1950's America, The Merry Wives of Windsor centers on the pompous and rotund John Falstaff. Hard up for money, he conspires to woo the two wealthiest wives in town and pocket their riches-with disastrous and hilarious consequences.

"This play reminds me of sitcoms that highlighted the innocence of the late 50's like The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, and Leave it to Beaver," said Director Brian Vaughn. "The central theme that resonated among all of these programs was that of community and people coming together in the midst of adversity. But they never took themselves too seriously."

The production features Jean Tafler (Nicholas Nickleby and Titus Andronicus) and Suzanne O'Donnell (Othello and It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play) as Mistresses Ford and Page, who outsmart Falstaff played by John Ahlin (Baptista in 2013's The Taming of the Shrew) by devising a scheme of their own. "The Merry Wives of Windsor is very much about 'Girl Power'. The fifties were a time of conformity and compliance, as well as great rebellion--each of which is richly inside The Merry Wives of Windsor," said Vaughn.

Additional casting includes Warren Kelley (Master Ford), Chris Mixon (Dr. Caius), Jamil A.C. Mangan (Master Page), Eric Hoffmann (Sir Hugh Evans), Allison DeCaro (Mistress Quickly), Christopher Niess (Host of the Garter), Mark Ferrera (Shallow), Michael Sheehy (Pistol), Liz Mignacca (Rugby), Ryan M. Skiles (Nym), Anna Carol (Bardolph), Christopher Joel Onken (Fenton), Chris Metz (Simple), Rashad Guy (Slender), Danielle Reneè (Anne Page), and Luke Timmel (Robin).

The Orlando Shakes artistic team includes Set Designer Bert Scott, Lighting Designer Kevin Griffin, Costume Designer Holly Payne, and Sound Designer Britt Sandusky.

Photo by Landon St. Gordon

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