Cast and Creative Team Set for THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA at The Old Globe

By: Oct. 27, 2016
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The Old Globe today announced the cast and creative team for The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program presentation of William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, running November 12 - November 20 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, directed by Richard Seer, Director of Professional Training for the M.F.A. program, as part of the Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Opening night is Saturday, November 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets to The Two Gentlemen of Verona can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office.

Best friends Valentine and Proteus find themselves both madly in love with the same woman. Will their friendship survive? One of Shakespeare's most delightful comedies, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is an exuberant tale of friendship, young love, and secret identities, featuring a band of outlaws, two bumbling servants, and one unforgettable dog.

"The Old Globe and USD Shiley Graduate Theatre Program is one of the jewels in this theatre's crown, and I'm as proud of the work we do training the next generation of American actors as I am of anything else in this institution's life," said Old Globe Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "The talent that thrives in this program is top-notch, and in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, a Shakespearean delight guided with skill by our own Rick Seer, that talent will be on dazzling display. I look forward to sharing this glimpse of the future of American acting with San Diego's audiences."

The cast features Amara James Aja (Valentine), Samuel Max Avishay (Thurio), Nora Carroll (Outlaw), Renardo Charles Jr. (Antonio), Ajinkya Desai (Speed), Talley Beth Gale (Sylvia), Kevin Hafso-Koppman (Proteus), Daniel Ian Joeck (Duke), Lorenzo Landini (Launce), Jose Martinez (Sir Eglamour), Christina A. Okolo (Lucetta, Outlaw), Suzelle Palacios (Julia), Larica Schnell (Augusta, Outlaw), and Samantha Sutliff (Hostess), with a special appearance by Samson (Crab the Dog).

The creative team includes Robin Sanford Roberts (Scenic Design), Elisa Benzoni (Costume Design), Kimberlee E. Winters (Lighting Design), Melanie Chen (Sound Design), Jan Gist (Voice and Speech Coach), Brian Byrnes (Movement Coach and Fight Director), Amanda Peñaloza-Banks (Choreographer), Abraham Stoll (Dramaturg), and Nicole Ries (Production Stage Manager).

A joint venture of The Old Globe and the University of San Diego, the master of fine arts program nationally recruits seven students each year to participate in an intensive two-year, year-round course of graduate study in classical theatre. Private funding for the program has been contributed through a generous endowment established by Donald and Darlene Shiley. Additional support for the program is provided by The Dorothy Brown Endowment Fund and the Louis Yager Cantwell Foundation. Financial support is provided by The City of San Diego. For additional information, visit

Richard Seer (Director) is an award-winning director and actor who has directed and/or performed on Broadway, Off Broadway, on film and television, and in over 70 productions at regional theatres in this country and Great Britain, including The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, and the Goodman and Huntington Theatre Companies. He originated the role of Young Charlie in the 1978 Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Hugh Leonard's Da and received the Theatre World Award for his performance. At The Old Globe, he has directed productions of Constellations, Quartet, Other Desert Cities, God of Carnage, Life of Riley, The Last Romance, The Price, Romeo and Juliet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Trying, Fiction, Blue/Orange, All My Sons, Da, and Old Wicked Songs. He received his M.F.A. in directing from Boston University, where he was awarded the prestigious Kahn Directing Award. In 1990, Mr. Seer was invited to return to Boston University's School for the Arts as an Associate Professor of Acting and Directing. He has been Director of The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program since 1993. In 2010, he was awarded the Craig Noel Distinguished Professorship.

Tickets to The Two Gentlemen of Verona are $19 and can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Performances at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre begin on Nov. 12 and continue through Nov. 20. Performance times: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 8:00 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Discounts are available for students, USD faculty and staff, seniors, active military, and groups of 15 or more.


Amara James Aja (Valentine) was recently seen at the Globe in Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth. He also just completed his first year in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. Mr. Aja's previous credits include Oliver in As You Like It and Arthur in Acquainted With The Night in the program, as well as Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest with Ithaca Shakespeare Company. He received his bachelor's degree in Government from Cornell University.

Samuel Max Avishay (Thurio) is a first-year M.F.A. student at The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. From Los Angeles, he trained at UC Berkeley, American Conservatory Theater's Summer Training Congress, and Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles. His prior credits include Achilles in Aulis: An Act of Nihilism in One Long Act (Zellerbach Playhouse) and Harker in Dracula (The Underground Theater). Prior to beginning graduate studies at The Old Globe, he worked as a speechwriter at the United Nations and studied cooking and butchery at various restaurants including Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Eatrip in Tokyo. He received his B.A. in History with a special focus on international food history from UC Berkeley. He speaks Hebrew, French, and Spanish and has studied Japanese and Arabic.

Nora Carroll (Outlaw) was most recently seen in BLKS at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. She has had the pleasure of playing roles from the likes of playwrights from William Shakespeare to Lynn Nottage. Ms. Carroll received her B.F.A. in Acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and is currently in the graduate acting program at The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

Renardo Charles Jr. (Antonio) last appeared on Comedy Central's "Detroiters" as Thomas. His stage work includes Lewis in King John, Belize in Angels in America, Jackson in Pantomime, Costard in Love's Labour's Lost, and the title role in Othello. He received his B.F.A. from University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training program.

Ajinkya Desai (Speed) is a second year international student in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. His credits there include Touchstone in As You Like It, Shamrayev in The Seagull, and Maxwell in Acquainted with the Night. He also appeared at the Globe in Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth this past summer. His first acting experience in the U.S. was at UC San Diego, where he played Egeus and Snout in an undergraduate production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also has many community stage and street theatre credits in India.

Talley Beth Gale (Sylvia) was recently seen in Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth at the Globe. She is a second-year M.F.A. student in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. Her professional credits include understudying This is Our Youth (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); EL Stories: Love Train (Waltzing Mechanics); and understudying The Last Match (The Old Globe). Her M.F.A. credits include As You Like It, The Seagull, and Acquainted with the Night. Ms. Gale received her B.F.A. in Acting from Ball State University.

Kevin Hafso-Koppman (Proteus) was seen in Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth at the Globe earlier this season. He is thrilled to be with The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, where he has appeared in As You Like It, The Seagull, and Acquainted with the Night. His regional credits include Bright Star and the New Voices Festival readings of A Nice Indian Boy and peerless (The Old Globe), West Side Story, The Foreigner, and The Winslow Boy (Lamb's Players Theatre), Ether Dome, His Girl Friday, and Accomplice: San Diego (La Jolla Playhouse), Zoot Suit (San Diego Repertory Theatre), Henry IV Part I, King O' the Moon, The Drawer Boy, and Becky's New Car (North Coast Repertory Theatre), Birds of a Feather and Speech and Debate (Diversionary Theatre), The Sunshine Boys and Deathtrap (Scripps Ranch Theatre), Doubt and Into the Woods (San Diego State University), The History Boys (Cygnet Theatre Company), and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Intrepid Theatre Company). He received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University and trained at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford University.

Daniel Ian Joeck (Duke) is making his first appearance at The Old Globe. He was most recently seen as Malcolm in Macbeth and Katharina in an all-male The Taming of the Shrew (Nebraska Shakespeare Festival). His other regional credits include The Learned Ladies, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and EveryActor (Shakespeare & Company), Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Duchess of Malfi, Twelfe Night, and Love's Labors Lost (Classical Actors Ensemble), Ramona Quimby (Children's Theatre Company), Romeo and Juliet (Park Square Theatre), Come Hell and High Water (The Moving Company), A Midwinter Night's Revel (Walking Shadow Theatre Company), These Are the Men and The Awakening (Savage Umbrella), Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Metamorphoses (Theatre Pro Rata), Criminal Genius (Wayward Theatre Company), and The Nerd (Starting Gate Productions). Mr. Joeck is currently an M.F.A. candidate with The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

Lorenzo Landini (Launce) is a second-year student in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, and he was last seen at the Globe this summer in Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth. Last year he appeared in graduate school productions of Acquainted with the Night, The Seagull, and As You Like It. While based in New York City, he wrote and performed his first solo show, When I Have Cancer in 30 Years, and appeared in The Miser (Brave New World Repertory Theatre), The Cherry Orchard (TheaterLab), and A View from the Bridge (The Secret Theatre). He also played rhythm guitar, sang, and composed music in the rock cabaret GUNS, A Cabaret directed by Liz Swados. Mr. Landini received his B.A. from Columbia University and has trained at Powerhouse Theater Festival and the British American Drama Academy.

Jose Martinez (Sir Eglamour) is thrilled to be making his Globe debut. He was most recently seen in My Mañana Comes at San Diego Repertory Theatre. His other credits include ensemble in The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Orcus in She Kills Monsters, Mau in Nation, Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Vincent in Strange Bedfellows. MR. Martinez is currently in his first year of The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

Christina A. Okolo (Lucetta, Outlaw) recently appeared in the Summer Shakespeare Festival productions of Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth. She is a student in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, for which she has appeared as Celia in Acquainted with the Night and Phoebe in As You Like It. She has also performed at the Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery, Alabama, where her credits include A Raisin in the Sun and Clybourne Park. Her other credits include Broke-ology, A Song for Coretta, and No Child.... Ms. Okolo is a native of Atlanta, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Performing Arts from Alabama State University.

Suzelle Palacios (Julia) is an M.F.A. student in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. She recently appeared in the Globe's Summer Shakespeare Festival in Love's Labor's Lost and Macbeth. Her previous credits include Audrey in As You Like It (The Old Globe/USD Shiley M.F.A. Program), Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice (Houston Shakespeare Festival), and Our Country's Good, The Miser, Blood Wedding, and The Crucible (University of Houston). She received her B.F.A. from the University of Houston.

Larica Schnell (Augusta, Outlaw) has appeared on stage in Cape Town, South Africa. This is her debut at the Globe as well as in the United States. Her most recent role on stage was that of Antonia in The Open Couple. She also appeared in Cape of Rebels, Twelfth Night at the Macbeths, and Dreams of Clytemnestra. Ms. Schnell received her undergraduate degree in Theatre & Performance from the University of Cape Town.

Samantha Sutliff (Hostess) is making her debut appearance at The Old Globe. She is a B.M. graduate of the Frost School of Music at University of Miami. Arriving in San Diego this year from Los Angeles, she was most recently seen in the award-winning film Plaything and the hit web series "The Leslie," after working for two years for Carnival Cruise Line as a vocalist. Some of her favorite roles include Antigone in Antigone, Katie in Bachelorette, and Mary Lane in Reefer Madness (University of Miami) and Graziella in West Side Story (Upper Darby Summer Stage).

Samson (Crab the Dog) is an eight-year-old Great Pyrenees. Five years ago he was adopted into his family after being impounded by Animal Services as an underweight and neglected stray. Since then, he has blossomed into a happy, healthy boy who loves everyone. He enjoys cuddling humans, being admired while on his walks, lying in front of doorways, and living life as though he were a tiny lap dog. He would like to thank anyone who has ever petted or fed him (and even those who haven't).

Robin Sanford Roberts (Scenic Design) has designed over 25 productions at The Old Globe including Alive and Well, The Price, Fiction, Bus Stop (San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award), Blue/Orange, and Betrayal (SDTCC and Patté Awards). She also designed It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues on Broadway. She has designed for San Diego Repertory Theatre, MOXIE Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and Swine Palace. Ms. Roberts holds a degree in Architecture from Louisiana State University and an M.F.A. in Scenic Design from UC San Diego. She is the resident scenic designer for the University of San Diego Department of Theatre.

Elisa Benzoni (Costume Design) previously designed Reckless, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre for The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. Her select credits include Constellations (The Old Globe), Sex with Strangers (Geffen Playhouse), The Who and The What, Our Town, Tall Girls, Brahaman/i, and Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir (La Jolla Playhouse), The Cocktail Hour, Hedda Gabler, The Fox on the Fairway (Craig Noel Award nomination), Chapatti, and Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush (North Coast Repertory Theatre), Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, Sylvia, and Much Ado About Nothing (New Village Arts), and Snakeskin, Lifeblood Harmony, Chagall, and A Man Found Wanting (Malashock Dance). Ms. Benzoni's assistant costume credits include As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Old Globe), Les Dialogues des Carmélites (Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy), Paradise Found (Menier Chocolate Factory), and Milk Like Sugar (La Jolla Playhouse). She holds an M.F.A. in Costume Design from UC San Diego, where she is currently an adjunct lecturer.

Kimberlee E. Winters (Lighting Design) has the wondrous opportunity to travel extensively for work. While so much travel is often challenging, it always brings new experiences and people into her life that are irreplaceable and the memories will last a lifetime. She has recently designed in Las Vegas, Scotland, New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Chicago, North Carolina, and more. Her lighting design credits include the Panasonic APEX convention and Lamborghini media reveal in L.A. as well as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Odd Couple, and Christmas and tribute concerts (Flat Rock Playhouse), Medea with Child (Sideshow Theatre Company), and Jekyll & Hyde and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Twin City Stage). Her associate design credits include Miss You Like Hell, The Last Tiger in Haiti, Guards at the Taj (La Jolla Playhouse), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Lend Me a Tenor (Paper Mill Playhouse), and The Other Place (Alley Theatre).

Melanie Chen (Sound Design) is a San Diego-based freelance Sound Designer who has designed over 70 productions in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Most recently, she designed North Coast Repertory Theatre's Laughter on the 23rd Floor as well as Cygnet Theatre Company's Seven Guitars and King Hedley II for their August Wilson repertory. Coming up, Ms. Chen will travel to Beijing as the Sound Design Associate on a large-scale immersive installation version of Peter Pan with Broadway Asia. Ms. Chen holds an M.F.A. in Sound Design for Theatre and Dance from UC San Diego.

Amanda Peñaloza-Banks (Choreographer) trained as a contemporary dancer at the London Contemporary Dance School in the early '90s, subsequently touring for 12 years with European dance companies. Her extensive choreographic and movement-education work with dance and theatre professionals and educators has taken her to the U.K., Ireland, Norway, Lithuania, and Kenya. In the U.S., Ms. Peñaloza-Banks teaches Laban principles, creative-movement techniques, and period dance in a variety of educational, academic, community, and professional settings.

Brian Byrnes (Movement Coach and Fight Director) worked on The Old Globe productions of Rain, Arms and the Man, The Twenty-Seventh Man, and The Winter's Tale. He also designed As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre for The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. His other work includes Intrepid Theatre Company's 2016 production of Art; New York theatres; regional theatres; Shakespeare festivals; and motion capture animation in the U.S. and Sweden. Mr. Byrnes has worked with Alley Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, Stages Repertory Theatre, The Ensemble Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Houston Ballet, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Texas Ballet Theater, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Prague Shakespeare Company, American Players Theatre, John Housman Theatre, Lucille Lortel Theatre, Westbeth Theatre Center, and others. He is an Actors' Equity Association actor, a director for theatre and opera, and a writer of several plays that have been professionally produced. Mr. Byrnes is a longtime member of the Society of American Fight Directors as a certified teacher, fight director, and fight master.

Jan Gist (Voice and Speech Coach) has been the voice, speech, and dialect coach for The Old Globe on 89 productions, and she has coached at theatres around the country including Ahmanson Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company, American Shakespeare Center, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, San Diego Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, and Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. She is an original member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association, and she has presented at numerous conferences in addition to Voice Foundation's conferences. Ms. Gist has taught workshops at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and the International Voice Teachers Exchange at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia. She has been published in numerous VASTA journals and has authored chapters in the books Voice and Speech Training in the New Millennium: Conversations with Master Teachers, The Complete Voice and Speech Workout, and More Stage Dialects.

Abraham Stoll (Dramaturg) specializes in Renaissance and early modern literature. He has published on Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, and others. He is currently finishing a book, Conscience in Early Modern English Literature, which is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, and he is beginning work on a new edition of Paradise Lost. Mr. Stoll teaches Shakespeare in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program and is Chair of the English Department at USD.

Nicole Ries (Production Stage Manager) is happy to return The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, where her previous productions include Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Antigone, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Trelawny of the "Wells", Clybourne Park, Reckless, and Acquainted with the Night. Her other regional credits include the 2015 and 2016 Ben Vereen Awards (Broadway/San Diego), Jade Heart, Coming Attractions, and A Man, His Wife and His Hat as well as staged readings of The Cancer Play and Seven (MOXIE Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors and A Behanding in Spokane (Cygnet Theatre Company), and Into the Woods, Tom and Huck and Jim, Paradise Hotel, and Little Women: The Musical (San Diego State University). Ms. Ries is currently MOXIE Theatre's Production Manager and has also worked with San Diego Repertory Theatre (Company Manager/Assistant Production Manager, 2003-2009) and Starlight Musical Theatre (General Manager 2010-2011). She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Arts Management from San Diego State University.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country's leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre's artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.


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