Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Announces Cast for THE WINTER'S TALE
The vengeful and doubting King Leontes and his falsely accused wife Queen Hermione will be played by Festival veterans Charles Pasternak and Cherie Corinne Rice in Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' production of The Winter's Tale, June 2-25, at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. This marks the company's 17th season of free, outdoor, professional theatre in the park. Preview performances are scheduled May 31 and June 1. Performances run nightly, except Tuesdays, and begin at 8 p.m.
Bruce Longworth, associate artistic director for the Festival, will direct the production, his fourth time in Shakespeare Glen. Previous productions include Henry V (2014), Othello (2012) and Hamlet (2010). In 2016, Longworth adapted and directed Shakespeare Festival St. Louis projects for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the St. Louis Symphony.
The Winter's Tale will also feature original music composed by St. Louis-based Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra. This is the group's third collaboration with the Festival, having composed scores for A Midsummer Night's Dream (2016), and Twelfth Night (2013). The nightly Green Show will begin at 6:30 p.m. and feature local musicians, a synopsis of the play, and roaming performers. On Friday nights throughout the production, the Festival's advanced teen ensemble, the Shakespeare Squadron, will perform a 20-minute version of The Winter's Tale.
Pasternak, who most recently appeared in Antony & Cleopatra (Octavius Caesar, 2015), Henry IV, and Henry V (Hotspur and the Dauphin, respectively, 2014) is a classically trained actor from Los Angeles who has performed in theaters across the country. He is the founder and artistic director of the LA-basEd Porters of HellsGate Theatre Co. Rice, who played Bianca in the 2012 production of Othello, currently works in New York City. Her most recent work can be seen on Pop's new comedy series "Nightcap." She is originally from the San Francisco Bay area.
"The diversity of experiences and backgrounds makes this one of our strongest casts to date. This will be a company of many familiar faces to our audiences, making this feel a bit like a reunion," said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director for the Festival. "Bruce and I were looking for individuals who could portray the diversity of the human experience, something this production unveils with its numerous moments of magic, redemption, love and forgiveness. Overall, our cast ranges in age from 10 years old and up, comes from across the country, and represents all pockets of St. Louis."
Joining Pasternak and Rice in the lead roles will be Festival veterans Rachel Christopher (Paulina), Andy Matthews (Camillo), Antonio Rodriguez (Shepherd's Son), and Chauncy Thomas (Polixenes). Cassia Thompson, who appeared in last year's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and is also a recent graduate of the Webster University Conservatory, will play the role of Perdita.
Other Shakespeare Glen veterans include Gary Glasgow (Autolycus/Mariner/Lord), Michael James Reed (Antigonus), Whit Reichert (Shepherd/Jailer), Jerry Vogel (Cleomenes) and Peter Winfrey (Florizel/Court Officer). Recent Webster University Conservatory graduate Myke Andrews (Country Servant/Gentleman/Lord) will also be returning to Shakespeare Glen following his appearance in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Webster students making their Festival debut include Andrew Oppman (Dion/Lord), Sigrid Wise (Emilia/Dorcas), and Delaney Piggins (Mopsa). Ten-year-old Carter Eiseman, of Webster Groves, will play the role of Leonte's son, Mamillius.
The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra composes and performs original soundtrack music for silent films and other collaborative art projects. Co-founders Brien Seyle and Matt Pace have written and performed scores for more than a dozen silent films, and continue to provide music for museum exhibits, performance art pieces, and theater. Seyle appeared as an extra in Twelfth Night, playing violin as part of the incidental music ensemble, while Pace served as music director for the 2013 and 2016 seasons. Seyle studied music at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park and Maryville University, and is a veteran of St. Louis' vibrant independent music scene. Pace is an adjunct instructor of music theory and musicianship at several St. Louis colleges and universities, including Washington University where he received his PhD in 2011.
Butler's Pantry is the official VIP caterer for the Festival; the Saint Louis Zoo will provide food and beverage concessions nightly. Schlafly is the official beer of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Admission is free; ticketed and reserved seating is also available online and in the park.
Since its inception in 2001, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has surpassed the one million mark in attendance through its work In the Schools, In the Streets and In the Park with more than 710,000 people attending the free main stage productions at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. The organization has reached an additional 300,000 students In the Schools through its educational programming. In 2010, the Festival launched SHAKE 38, a marathon participatory presentation of Shakespeare's entire 38-play canon community wide. In 2012, the Festival shut down its first street, Cherokee, to present a community-based play In the Streets. Leadership support for Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' 2017 season is provided by the Whitaker Foundation. The Festival is also funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis. In 2016, the Festival was named Arts Organization of the Year by the Missouri Arts Council. For more information, please visit www.sfstl.com, or call 314-531-9800.