All-Female JULIUS CAESAR Makes History For 15th Season Of Pittsburgh Shakespeare In The Parks




Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks All-Female Julius Caesar

Making history with its first all-female cast for its 15th anniversary season, PITTSBURGH SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKS stages JULIUS CAESAR for eight performances, Sept. 7-29 at 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, rotating among Frick, Highland, and Arsenal Parks.

Featuring 10 actors playing all the characters in Shakespeare's timely political drama, the compressed, fast-paced version drawn from Shakespeare's First Folio, The Tragedie of Julius Caesar. PSIP's 90-minute version recounts the triumphant post-war return of General Caesar to Rome and the rebellion against his ascent to power.

The month-long run features these highlights:

  • The opening performance on Sat., Sept. 7 in Frick Park is part of the annual Britsburgh Festival, celebrating British culture and heritage.

  • Founder and Artistic Director Jennifer Tober will be honored at the opening performance and with a City of Pittsburgh proclamation for PSIP on Tues., Sept. 10 in City Council Chambers.

  • Chatham University senior Lydia Aceto has created a graphic novel-style synopsis of the play, inspired by cast members and capturing the story for audience members of all ages.

  • A new online education guide for parents, kids, and teachers features information and tools to introduce newcomers to Shakespeare and assist all audience members in their experience.

  • Young people in the audience will receive printed interactive activities handouts.

  • Six pre-show acting workshops by PSIP Teaching Artists Tonya Lynn (fight choreographer) and Sarah Carleton (ensemble member playing Brutus' wife Portia and other roles) will explore acting basics and performing outdoors.

  • Alan Irvine, storyteller, introduces performances Sept. 8-29 with the story of the play.

In addition, PSIP invites fans to its Fiesta for Fifteen at Mad Mex in Shadyside on Tues., Sept. 24 to gathers friends and funds for Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks. Guests will include CAESAR cast members, board, patrons, and fans with raffles and silent auction items, 6 to 9 pm at Mad Mex, 220 S. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh (15206). Tickets:

Pittsburgh-based actor and director Elena Alexandratos directs PSIP's second production of a history play with this timely and timeless political drama that explores the price of loyalty in the face of tyranny. Lisa Leibering is production designer, creating costumes and props for eight outdoor performances.

Following PSIP's first and hugely successful history HENRY V in 2016, JULIUS CAESAR is the 14th Shakespeare play to be produced by the group founded in 2005 by Jennifer Tober, artistic director, when she moved to Pittsburgh and found there was no longer a company performing Shakespeare outdoors.

"With this production," Tober says, "we are reminding the world that women are pushing back against that type of sexism, creating excellent work that is gender-blind. Our mission at PSIP is to bring Shakespeare and theatre to all, using performers of all shapes, sizes, colors, gender identities, and abilities. Our emphasis is on telling the story, building community wherever we go, and breaking down the barriers that hold us back artistically and culturally."

Admission is free, with donations of $15 suggested to support the expanded activities of the 15th season.

The all-female cast of JULIUS CAESAR is led by four actors who bring extensive experience in interpreting classics to their roles.


Irene Alby of Morgantown, West Virginia, appears in the title role of Caesar.


Ensemble members appearing in multiple roles are: Gretchen Breslawski (fight captain), Sarah Carleton, Kristin Conrad, Melissa Franklin, Kalee George, and Jessica Pierson-Turner.

All-Female JULIUS CAESAR Makes History For 15th Season Of Pittsburgh Shakespeare In The ParksElena Alexandratos, director, is well-known as an actress and singer in Pittsburgh where she has graced nearly every theater stage. Recently, Elena was seen as Mrs. Bennet in Pittsburgh Public Theater?s 44th Season opener Pride and Prejudice. Her directing credits include: Fool of the World for Looking Glass Theater and Into the Woods for Duquesne University?s Spotlight Productions. For her company PANDORA?S BOX THEATRE, she co-directed Titus Andronicus, Amphitryon, and Chantecler.

Longtime PSIP collaborator Lisa Leibering serves as Production and Costume designer (Two Gentlemen of Verona, Comedy of Errors, Supernatural Shakespeare, King Lear, As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet). Tonya Lynn, who regularly stages combat for PSIP, returns as production fight choreographer.

Shakespeare's history JULIUS CAESAR was first performed by an all-male company of players in 1599 in The Globe Theatre in London. Timeless themes of loyalty, betrayal, and ambition collide in a story based on the history of Octavius Caesar's growing power and territories while the men in the Roman Senate begin to become uncomfortable.

PSIP's first Parents' and Kids' Guide for Julius Caesar is a downloadable pdf containing information about the production, activities, links to further educational materials, and an abridged freeze/action script.

PSIP's inaugural Illustrated Synopsis is a 44-page comic by local artist Lydia Aceto, a senior at Chatham University. The graphic novel-style story may be viewed as a flipbook (mobile), flipbook (computer) or downloaded as a pdf. (The project is licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND.)

All links at the PSIP blog:

JULIUS CAESAR is performed on Saturdays and Sundays, from September 7 to 29 at 2 pm, running approximately 80 minutes with no intermission on four weekends in September.

The opening performance on September 7 will be introduced with a special tribute to the 15th season.

Storyteller Alan Irvine will present the story of the play at 10 minutes prior to curtain (1:50 pm), September 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29.

An acting workshop for audience members of all ages will be held before six performances, Sept. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 1 pm. PSIP Teaching Artists Tonya Lynn and Sarah Carleton lead the half-hour interactive program about acting, production, and Shakespeare's play.

All children attend any performances will receive handouts with activities further engaging them with the story, Shakespeare, and the characters, including a color page of Lydia Aceto's illustration of the leading players.

Sept. 7, 8, 28, 29 - Opening and closing weekends in Frick Park, Blue Slide Playground, Beechwood Blvd. and Nicholson St, Squirrel Hill. Enter from 2500 block of Beechwood at Nicholson.

Sept. 14, 15 - Highland Park, across from the Super Playground, Reservoir Drive.

Sept. 21, 22 - Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, 40th St. between Penn Ave. and Butler St. Enter from Penn or 40th.

Admission is FREE with donations of $15 or any amount encouraged to support free Shakespeare in Pittsburgh city parks.

Audience members are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets and a picnic. Friendly dogs are also welcome. Productions are rain or shine except in the event of dangerous storm conditions.


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