Beloved rascal Falstaff returns in ‘Merry Wives’  This Week: German Village Gazette  By Gary Seman Jr. August 5, 2014

Photo: Chris Parker, courtesy of This Week News

Poor Sir John Falstaff. He just can’t catch a break in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

And, as the play illustrates, it’s of his own doing.

Merry Wives will be performed Thursdays through Sundays for the rest of this month, concluding Aug. 31, by Actors’ Theatre of Columbus. All plays begin at 8 p.m. at the amphitheater in Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St. They are free and open to the public.

The paunchy, aging Falstaff strolls into Windsor down on his luck and short of money. So he hatches a plan to woo two wealthy married women by sending them identical love letters.

The Merry Wives of Windsor’: Script a ball and chain for hardworking cast  By Margaret Quamme  The Columbus Dispatch August 1, 2014

From left, Michelle Weiser as Mistress Page; Elizabeth Harelik as Mistress Ford; Adam Simon as Sir John Falstaff; and Micah Logsdon as Ford in Actors’ Theatre of Columbus production of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo: Nick Pershing.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is the most lowbrow of Shakespeare’s comedies — and probably the one that translates least effectively for contemporary audiences.

With broad physical comedy and manic energy, the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus production makes a strenuous, if only intermittently successful, attempt to wring laughs from the oft-sour material.

The comedy centers on the schemes of the two wives of the title — Mistress Ford (Elizabeth Harelick) and Mistress Page (Michelle Weiser) — to take revenge on lecherous, self-satisfied Sir John Falstaff (Adam Simon), who tries to win both their affections and their husbands’ money.


10 British Things About Columbus, OH  BBC America  By Brigid Brown July 13, 2014 anglo-logo-2014
Columbus is the capital of Ohio, appearing on a few impressive lists like 
Forbes’ Best Cities for Tech Jobs (at No. 3), and Best Cities for Working Moms (at No. 1). It can’t be all work and no play: we’re going to take the lead on creating a new list with these 10 British things going on in Columbus: 8. The Actors’ Theatre of Columbus, founded in 1982, performs at Schiller Park, in German Village, at 1000 City Park Avenue. The theater group performs plays by Shakespeare and other “time-honored” playwrights during the summer months, from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. In addition to the outdoor season, the group will be performing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Hound of the Baskervilles at Columbus Commons, located at 160 High Street, September 5-14.
Theatre review: ‘The Barber of Seville’: Actors bring high-energy farce to Schiller Park By Margaret Quamme  The Columbus Dispatch June 27, 2014

From left, Daniel Shtivelberg as Count Almaviva; Philip Hickman as Doctor Bartholo; Sue Wismar as Figaro; and Sehri Alese as Rosine, in the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus production of The Barber of Seville. Photo by Nick Pershing.

The latest Actors Theatre production is a purely frivolous pleasure.

The Barber of Seville— Pierre Beaumarchais’s infrequently produced play, not the more frequently produced opera — in a slick contemporary translation by John Wells is a classic French comedy, directed by Mandy Fox with high energy and a broad wink to the Schiller Park amphitheater audience.

The plot is elegantly simple. Rascally barber Figaro (Sue Wismar) orchestrates a plan to help his slightly dim, lovestruck former employer Count Almaviva (Daniel Shtivelberg) win the hand of more than willing ingénue Rosine (Sehri Alese). She is being held captive by her jealous, much older guardian, Doctor Bartholo (Philip Hickman), who is relying on sly, avaricious Mistress Balize (Jennifer Feather-Youngblood) to help him get married to his ward (and her money) as soon as possible. Read More >> 
‘The Barber of Seville’ still feels razor sharp today By Michael Grossberg  The Columbus Dispatch June 26, 2014
From left: Figaro (Sue Wismar), Dr. Bartholo (Philip Hickman), Count Almaviva (Daniel Shtivelberg) and Rosine (Sehri Alese). Photo: Nick Pershing

From left: Figaro (Sue Wismar), Dr. Bartholo (Philip Hickman), Count Almaviva (Daniel Shtivelberg) and Rosine (Sehri Alese). Photo: Nick Pershing

A servant turns the tables on his former master while helping him pursue a young woman.

The story might sound like another Shakespearean comedy in Schiller Park, but it is the first park run of The Barber of Seville, a French romantic comedy.

“Sometimes when Shakespeare’s clowns come on, you get a farcical feel in his plays. But in The Barber of Seville, you get that feel and pace of farce throughout,” director Mandy Fox said.

The Actors’ Theatre of Columbus production, opening tonight in the Schiller Park amphitheater, uses John Wells’ 1997 translation of the 1775 play by Pierre Beaumarchais. (The play was later adapted into the famous opera by Rossini, which is not the version presented here.)

“It’s very funny and very accessible to modern audiences,” Fox said.

Theatre Review: “Hamlet’: Cast dazzles, from lead on down  By Michael Grossberg  The Columbus Dispatch May 23, 2014

Janetta Davis, left, plays Queen Gertrude, and Grace Bolander is Hamlet in the Actors’ Theatre Columbus production of the Shakespeare play. Photo by Courtney Hergesheimer courtesy of the Dispatch.

What a piece of work is Actors’ Theatre of Columbus’ Hamlet.

From the casting and acting to the direction and William Bragg’s evocative sound design, the troupe’s 33rd-season opener finds the turbulent essence and noble spirit of Shakespeare’s greatest drama.

John S. Kuhn and Nick Baldasare co-direct one of the year’s best productions with a deep understanding of a propulsive, multileveled work that fuses action, intellect and emotion.

Notably different from the troupe’s memorable 1990 Hamlet in style, tone and costumes (updated by designer Emily Jeu to the late Victorian era), this well-conceived version forges its own authentic path to the play’s dark heart. At last night’s opening in Schiller Park, the actors were so good — from the largest to the smallest roles — that it almost seemed unjust to single out just a few for praise. Read More >>
Actress will to her ownself be true in ‘Hamlet’ By Michael Grossberg The Columbus Dispatch May 22, 2014
hamlet (1)

Polonius (John Feather), Queen Gertrude (Janetta Davis), Hamlet (Grace Bolander) and Ophelia (Rachel Gaunce). Photo by Courtney Hergesheimer, courtesy of the Dispatch.

This year, poor Yorick’s skull will be held in gentler hands.

 Actors’ Theatre of Columbus will launch its 33rd season with a woman portraying the Great Dane in Hamlet.

 “We’re taking a more androgynous approach, so the various themes will have a more universal expression in that non-gendered approach,” Artistic Director John S. Kuhn said.

This season marks the third time that Actors’ Theatre has tackledHamlet, opening tonight in Schiller Park amphitheater.

But it is the first time that the classics-oriented troupe has cast a woman as the prince: Grace Bolander, a graduating senior at the Columbus School for Girls.

“Hamlet is one of the most iconic characters in Western literature because the questions he tackles are universal,” Bolander said.

“What does it mean to live? What about life after death? To be or not to be? All those questions transcend gender.”


Classic play gets dark spin at Columbus Commons by Gary Seman Jr. The Week Northwest News Sept. 10 2013

Daniel Turek as Romeo and Grace Bolander as Juliet. Photo: Dale Bush

Actors’ Theatre of Columbus will put a freshly ominous spin on Romeo and Juliet, to be performed Sept. 15-22 at Columbus Commons.

The play, which showcases love and tragedy in a post-apocalyptic world, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the Downtown park.

John S. Kuhn, artistic director of the acting troupe, said the dialogue remains largely unchanged, but the stage design and costumes convey a gloomy tone — more so than usual — to the Shakespearean classic.


GCAC Presents: The Actors’ Theatre Proves the Play’s the Thing By Carol Mullinax  The Columbus Underground September 5, 2013

“All the world’s a stage.” Shakespeare penned it more than six centuries ago and Actors’ Theatre of Columbus (ATC) has been proving it for more than 30 years with live, open-air productions in historic German Village. Every summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day on Thursday through Sunday evenings, families and friends gather in Schiller Park for picnics, impromptu or elaborate, before settling down with lawn chairs and blankets to see plays that have enthralled audiences through the centuries.
Read More >>  

Theatre Review: ‘Beaux Stratagem’: Rarely revived classic a crowd-pleaser By Michael Grossberg  The Columbus Dispatch August 1, 2013
beaux stratagem

Photo: Dale Bush

Love, greed and the devious pursuit of happiness prove reliable foundations of farcical humor in The Beaux’ Stratagem. Actors’ Theatre of Columbus does a nice job with George Farquhar’s Restoration comedy, which opened Thursday night to a smaller opening-night audience in Schiller Park than usual. The size of the crowd likely wasn’t because of the weather, although a few raindrops threatened to fall. Perhaps it’s because this early-18th-century British work isn’t as well known as the Shakespearean works or romantic swashbucklers that the troupe favors.
Read More >>       

Actors’ Theatre updates a classic comedy by Gary Seman Jr. This Week Northwest News July 2, 2013

Kayla Jackmon as Viola (left) with Ashley French as Olivia (right). Photo: Dale Bush

A Shakespeare classic with an ’80s twist has arrived in Schiller Park.

Actors’ Theatre of Columbus will perform the playwright’s popular comedy Twelfth Night Thursdays through Sundays through July 28 in the German Village park’s amphitheater.

All shows, which are free and open to the public, start at 8 p.m.

Mandy Fox, who has made her directorial debut with the theater company, said references to Madonna, Michael Jackson, big hair, Ghostbusters and the bright yellow Sony Walkman will be sewn throughout the show.



King Arthur and the Sword of Britain – Actors’ Theatre of Columbus by Courtney Denning Cbus52 June 28, 2013

Photo: Courtney Denning

A few weeks ago, after a long week of summer camp and Kenneth’s long week of his Advanced Preventative Medicine rotation at school, we decided to catch a performance of King Arthur and the Sword of Britain by The Actors’ Theatre in Schiller Park.  It was a relaxing break from a busy week!

This is the 32nd summer season for the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus.  All performances are outdoors and FREE to the public.  This summer the performances are either at Schiller Park in German Village, the Columbus Commons in downtown Columbus or at the Easton Commons Town Square at Easton Town Center.  I list the specific shows, dates, times and locations further down in the post.


Theatre Review: ‘Twelfth Night’: Shakespeare transported to ’80s in Schiller Park  By Margaret Quamme  The Columbus Dispatch June 27, 2013
Actors’ Theatre’s fizzy, irresistible take on Twelfth twelfth nightNight transports the Shakespearean comedy to the 1980s to goofy comic effect. The play revolves around mistaken identity and multiple cases of love — or lust — at first sight. Viola (a feisty and charming Kayla Jackmon), believes that her twin brother Sebastian (Cornelius Hubbard Jr.) has died in the shipwreck that has landed them both in a new country. Disguising herself as a young man, she renames herself Cesario, and takes a position as servant to Duke Orsino (Andrew Blasenak).

BWW Reviews: Actor’s Theatre of Columbus-Shakespeare at Schiller Gets Warm Reception Depite Chilly Evening By Lisa Norris Broadway World May 24, 2013
Photo by Dale Bush

Photo: Dale Bush

Actors’ Theater of Columbus opened its 32nd summer season with its Annual Opening Night Tent Dinner last night in the Schiller Park amphitheater. Despite the uncooperative weather canceling the performance of “King Arthur and the Sword of Britain”, the crowd was abuzz with excitement over this season’s line-up of free summer Theater Productions in the park.

Local playwright 
Philip J. Hickman has created a world of knights, maidens, and dangerous sprites. In describing his take on King Arthur, Hickman says, “The very earliest stories passed down anonymously from the 5th and 6th centuries are fairy tales- grand encounters with giants, monsters, dangerous sprites, and mysterious creatures. “King Arthur & the Sword of Britain” is this kind of story.”


Actors’ Theatre revisits ‘King Arthur and the Sword of Britain’By Michael Grossberg  The Columbus Dispatch May 23, 2013

Photo: Dale Bush

“The stirring stories of the king and knights of early Britain inspired playwright Philip J. Hickman and Actors’ Theatre to examine their quests. Actors’ Theatre will launch its 31st Schiller Park season tonight with the world premiere of Hickman’s King Arthur and the Sword of Britain.  “It’s an exuberant fairy tale — adventurous, romantic and a little fantastical,” Hickman said. ” “Reading the early Welsh stories about King Arthur brought me back to my childhood of going on quests and fighting supernatural creatures,” he said. “They are so delightful that it was hard to resist trying to put it onstage.”


Actors’ Theatre of Columbus Annual dinner is troupe’s largest single fundraiser by Gary Seman Jr. This Week News May 21, 2013

Mark Hale Jr. (left) as Merlin with Josh Katawick as Arthur in King Arthur and the Sword of Britain. Photo courtesy of This Week News.

Members of Actors’ Theatre of Columbus will don full regalia at the troupe’s annual opening night tent dinner, slated for tonight, Thursday, May 23 in German Village.

An Evening in the Silver Bough starts at 6 p.m. at the Schiller Park amphitheater.

A number of activities will mark the beginning of the evening, including strolling musicians, jugglers and jesters.

The dinner’s theme is based on the legend of the fairy queen, who sometimes offered a silver bough or branch to worthy mortals, granting them safe passage during their stay in the otherworld, said Carol Mullinax, vice president of Actors’ Theatre.

Date Night: Actors’ Theatre at Schiller Park By Amanda Pierce  Crave Magazine Summer 2013 Edition

Good food, live theater and a warm summer evening. Sound like the perfect combo? Then grab a blanket and join the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus at Schiller Park for their always-popular summer theater season. The premiere of “King Arthur and the Sword of Britain,” written by local playwright Philip J. Hickman, kicks off the season. The comedic re-telling of the Camelot story follows the adventures of Merlin and young Arthur and runs through mid-June. The playful Shakespeare classic “Twelfth Night” runs late June through late July.

Read More >>  

CSG, Actors’ Theatre team up in ‘Crucible’  by Gary Seman Jr. This Week Canal Winchester Times Feb. 26, 2013
Rehearsing are Eddy Williams as Rev. Samuel Parris (left), CSG junior Helen Abraha as Tituba (center), and Ross Shirey playing Rev. John Hail (right).

Rehearsing are Eddy Williams as Rev. Samuel Parris (left), CSG junior Helen Abraha as Tituba (center), and Ross Shirey playing Rev. John Hail (right).

Actors’ Theatre of Columbus and Columbus School for Girls are combining talents in performances ofThe Crucible.

Actors in the German Village-based troupe and the school’s theater program will present the American classic, set during the Salem witch trials.

“The roles are so complex and fun for the girls,” said Janetta Davis, theater program coordinator for CSG. “It’s nice to give them something that challenging.”


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