STC Presents Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera)


The Shakespeare Theatre Company continues celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season with the second installment of the Bard's Broadway series with the Tony Award winning musical Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera) performing January 27-29, 2012 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW). Galt MacDermot, John Guare and Mel Shapiro come together to create the music, lyrics and book that add a spicy, funky twist to Shakespeare's work of the same name. The rock opera performances will run concurrent with STC's mainstage production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

STC's first installment of the Bard's Broadway, The Boys From Syracuse was in November and the series continues with another classic tale of romance and adventure. This second installment will prove to be just as entertaining as the first, with a soulful, rock vibe. It also brings back the successful design team that created the New York Philharmonic's star-studded concert version of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical Company.

Amanda Dehnert will direct and Spencer Liff will choreograph Broadway veterans Terence Archie, Robin De Jesus, Javier Muñoz, Ken Page and Danny Rutigliano along with D.C. theatre favorite Eleasha Gamble in this special concert version of one of Shakespeare's early comedies. Director Amanda Dehnert explains, "This is such a funny, free, spontaneous piece of musical theatre. It doesn't conform to any tradition that came before it, and it still stands as a testament to what can be created with a spirit of adventure, a desire to reach an audience and the willingness to take creative risks."

Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera) centers on the relationship between two friends, Proteus and Valentine, as they battle for the affections of the same woman. Since STC's mainstage production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona will run at the Lansburgh Theatre from January 17-March 4, audiences have the opportunity to see this production in two different styles-the play, with a contemporary twist that focuses on what happens when teens are left without parental guidance, and the musical, that focuses on how different types of people deal with each other in a big city.

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Robin De Jesus will play the role of Speed. He is best known for his portrayal of Sonny in the Broadway musical In the Heights for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. His other Broadway credits include performances in La Cage Aux Folles for which he received another Tony Award nomination and Rent. He also starred in the cult classic film Camp.

Eleasha Gamble will perform the role of Silvia. She was most recently seen as Laurey in Arena Stage's production of Oklahoma! for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. She appeared Off-Broadway in Kathie Lee Gifford's Under the Bridge. Regionally, she has performed in Chess, Les Miserables and First You Dream at Signature Theatre, The Civil War, Little Shop of Horrors and A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre and The Women of Brewster Place at Arena Stage.

Javier Muñoz will perform the role of Proteus. He recently took over the role of Usnavi in the hit Broadway production of In The Heights. He has performed in The Porch and In The Heights Off-Broadway. His regional credits include performances in Los Otros with Victoria Clark at the New York Theatre Workshop, Venice at Center Theatre Group and domesticated which is currently in development at the Lincoln Center.

Ken Page will perform the role of the Duke of Milan. His Broadway credits include performances in Guys and Dolls, The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin', Cats and It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues. His Off-Broadway credits include Happiness, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol, Louis and Ain't Misbehavin'. He also appeared in the national tours of Purlie and The Wizard of Oz. Regionally, Page has performed in Randy Newman's Faust, Most Wanted and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Page has many international credits including Children Of Eden, My One & Only, Harlem Swing-Ain't Misbehavin' and Grumpy Old Men The Musical. His film credits include Torch Song Trilogy, Dreamgirls, The Nightmare Before Christmas, All Dogs Go To Heaven and I'll Do Anything.

Danny Rutigliano will play Launce. Rutigliano has performed in numerous Broadway productions including Billy Elliot, Born Yesterday, Bells Are Ringing and Kismet. He also originated the role of Timon in The Lion King. His film credits include The Producers, Dumbo II, Goodfellas and The Tree House Trolls. On television, he has appeared in Bored to Death, Without a Trace, Law & Order: SVU, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and many others.

The cast of Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera) also includes Terence Archie as Valentine, Florrie Bagel as Lucetta, Tom Deckman as Thurio, Arielle Jacobs as Julia and Manu Narayan as Eglamour. Ensemble members include Carolyn Agan, Kellee Knighten Hough, Matthew John Kacergis, Kristian Lauren, Kevin S. McAllister, Katie McManus, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Chris Sizemore and Bayla Whitten. Additional cast members will be announced at a later date.


STC welcomes Amanda Dehnert to direct this exciting anniversary project. Her recent directing credits include Cabaret for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Romeo and Juliet for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and developmental workshops of the new musicals Not Wanted On The Voyage with writers Brian Hill and Neil Bartram and Unlock'd with writers Sam Carner and Derek Gregor. She is the resident director with Trinity Repertory Company where her productions include My Fair Lady, Annie, West Side Story, Charles Strouse's You Never Know (world premiere), Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Henry IV, A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Skin of Our Teeth, Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, Noises Off, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The New England Sonata (world premiere), Othello, Saint Joan, We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, A Christmas Carol (1997 and 2005) and Cyrano de Bergerac. Her regional directing credits include productions for The Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Cleveland Playhouse, the Virginia Stage Company and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She has also composed original scores and songs for the theatre works of Oskar Eustis, Kevin Moriarty, Michael Goldfried, Mark Sutch and Peter Sampieri.


The Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera) design team brings together the scenic and costume designers who created the first installment of the Bard's Broadway, The Boys From Syracuse, as well as numerous other concerts with the New York Philharmonic: Scenic Designer James Noone and Costume Designer Tracy Christensen. They are joined by Lighting Designer Nancy Schertler and Sound Designer David Budries.


Amanda Denhert is assisted by Music Director George Fulginiti-Shakar and Choreographer Spencer Liff. The Artistic Team also includes Stage Manager Shari Moxley, Assistant Stage Manager Joseph Smelser and Assistant Director Jenny Lord. Casting for Two Gentlemen of Verona (a rock opera) is by Resident Casting Director Daniel Neville-Rehbehn and Binder Casting.


The play, perhaps Shakespeare's earliest, focuses on Valentine and Proteus, lifelong friends who are unexpectedly thrust into the rivalries and complications of adolescence. When both fall in love with the Duke of Milan's daughter, Silvia, the cunning Proteus betrays his friend. Will the banished Valentine find his home in the woods, amongst the outlaws? And what of Julia, Proteus' first love, who comes to court disguised as a boy? What happens when a group of youths is left without parents to guide them through life's journey? Directed by PJ Paparelli, this production will run from January 17-March 4 at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW).

ABOUT THE Shakespeare Theatre Company

In the 2011-2012 Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is set to celebrate! Not only is it the 25th year of Michael Kahn's leadership, vision and artistic direction but, over the past quarter of a century, STC has become one of the nation's leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation's premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company's artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights' language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

In its 2007-2008 Season, the company opened the Harman Center for the Arts, consisting of the new 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall and the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre, both located in downtown Washington's Penn Quarter neighborhood. A dynamic hub of activity, the Harman Center showcases the company as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC's annual Free For All performance, a re-creation of a production from seasons past staged for free in August and September, is now held at Sidney Harman Hall. Sidney Harman Hall is located at 610 F Street NW. The Lansburgh Theatre also plays host to a number of different performing arts organizations, among them Synetic Theater and several of STC's mainstage productions. The Lansburgh Theatre is located at 450 7th Street NW.

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