(April 14, 2022 – New York) The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (Davis McCallum, Artistic Director; Kate Liberman, Managing Director) announced today performance dates and casting for its 2022 Summer Season, the first season at its new home. The season will begin on July 7, 2022 with Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, which will conclude on September 18. Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn with music by Michael Friedman and directed by Davis McCallum will play in repertory with Romeo and Juliet beginning on July 8 and run through September 17. The 2022 season will also include the touring production of Where We Belong by Madeline Sayet, directed by Mei Ann Teo and produced with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in association with Folger Shakespeare Library. Where We Belong will begin performances on Saturday, August 13 and will run through Monday, August 22.
The season begins with Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Performances are set to begin on Thursday July 7, with opening night set for Friday July 15. Romeo and Juliet will run through Sunday September 18 with two matinees on September 11 and 14.
The cast for Romeo and Juliet will include Nance Williamson* and Kurt Rhoads* in the title roles, alongside Kimberly Chatterjee*, Kayla Coleman*, Erin DespanieCC, Zachary Fine*, Zoë GoslinCC, Merritt Janson*, Lauren Karaman*, Sean McNall*, Emily Ota*, Will Ormsby CaryCC, Luis Quintero*, Britney Nicole Simpson*, Destini StewartCC, and Roman Alec TrevinoCC.
Romeo and Juliet will feature costume design by Enver Chakartash, lighting design by Stacey Derosier, sound design by Darron West, and properties by Samantha Shoffner. Kimiye Corwin serves as choreographer/fight choreographer, Heather Christian will be the composer, and Saul Nache will be the music director.
This most-familiar story is seen through a new lens as Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch brings us a bold take on the iconic, boisterous, poetic and above all, romantic tale of star-crossed lovers. With HVSF’s favorite longtime couple, Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson cast in the title roles, this revelatory age-blind production reminds us that, while youth may be only skin-deep, true beauty is a quality of the soul, and – in the end – love conquers all.
The season will continue with Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play written by Anne Washburn, with music by Michael Friedman and directed by Davis McCallum. Performances will begin on Friday July 8, with opening night set for Sunday July 17. Mr. Burns will play through Saturday, September 17.
The cast for Mr. Burns will include Kimberly Chatterjee*, Kayla Coleman*, Erin DespanieCC, Zachary Fine*, Zoë GoslinCC, Merritt Janson*, Lauren Karaman*, Sean McNall*, Emily Ota*, Will Ormsby CaryCC, Luis Quintero*, Britney Nicole Simpson*, Destini StewartCC, and Roman Alec TrevinoCC.
Mr. Burns will feature scenic design by Peiyi Wong, costume design by Kathleen Doyle, lighting design by Stacey Derosier, sound design by Darron West, and properties by Samantha Shoffner. Orlando Pabotoy serves as choreographer/fight choreographer and Saul Nache will be the music director.
In a not-so-distant future where the grid has failed, society has crumbled, and memories can no longer be stored on hard drives, a group of survivors come together to recreate their vanished world through the life-affirming act of telling stories under the stars. A hymn of survival and resilience (sung by America’s unlikeliest hero, Bart Simpson!), Mr. Burns is an exhilarating exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.
HVSF will welcome the national tour of Madeline Sayet’s Where We Belong to the tent from August 13 – 22, 2022. In this intimate and exhilarating solo piece, Mohegan theater-maker Madeline Sayet travels to England to study Shakespeare, and in doing so, she traverses geographic borders, personal history, and cultural legacies, in search of a place to belong. Named as one of the “great artistic achievements during the pandemic” (Broadway World), Where We Belong follows Madeline’s personal journey of self-discovery, and traces the intertwined relationship between Shakespeare and colonialism, a relationship with deep roots along the banks of the Muhheakantuck, the tidal estuary colonially known as the Hudson River.
Where We Belong is directed by Mei Ann Teo. The tour is produced with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in association with Folger Shakespeare Library. The Where We Belong national tour features production design by Hao Bai, costume design by Asa Benally, original composition and sound design by Erik Schilke, dramaturgy by Vera Starbard, dialect coaching by Liz Hayes, and casting by Judy Bowman. The tour is stage managed by Grace Chariya and has technical direction by Megan J. Coffel, with scenic drawing and rigging support by Miguel Valderrama, lighting consulting by Andrew Cissna, and makeup consulting by Dawn Newsome. The standby for Madeline Sayet will be Emily Preis.
HVSF will also present two developmental workshops from its Tent Pole Commissions, HVSF’s new program that commissions artists to animate the extraordinary site of their new home and provides an artistic home and creative time for artists. The workshops include Untitled Agatha Project by Heidi Armbruster and directed by Ryan Quinn, and Memnon by Will Power and directed by Carl Cofield. Casts for these workshops will be announced at a later date.
HVSF is also currently streaming on demand a 60-minute video production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Matthew Saldivar, which is available free of charge to regional middle and high schools through June 2022. Both in-person and remote teaching artist residencies are offered to school partners.
The cast for A Midsummer Night’s Dream includes Kendall Cafaro, Zoë GoslinCC, Erin Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Timiki Salinas, and India Shea.
The Festival Stage Manager is Janelle Caso, the Stage Manager is Julia Bates, and casting is by Calleri, Jensen, Davis.
*denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association
CC denotes member of the HVSF Conservatory Company
In addition, HVSF in partnership with several local not-for-profits including The Garrison, the Garrison Art Center, Haldane Arts Alliance, Hudson Highlands Land Trust, the Hudson Valley Performing Arts Laboratory, Arts10566, and The Philipstown Depot Theatre, will hold a community event entitled Highland Lights: A Reawakened Landscape on Sunday, April 17 featuring a procession of community-built illuminated lanterns to bring people together in a shared act of artistic expression and inaugurate the ecological restoration of the landscape. The event is the culmination of three weekends of workshops led by Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop. The event is free and open to the public. To learn more, visit highlandlights.org.
The 2022 Summer Season will be HVSF’s first on the grounds of its new home in Garrison, NY, using its pre-existing temporary theater tent while plans are still underway for construction of a permanent open-air theater venue on the site. Once the new venue is completed, audiences will have a jaw-dropping northward view of the Hudson River, with Storm King Mountain on the left, Breakneck Ridge on the right, the gateway to the upper Hudson Valley.
Audience members will still be able to continue to picnic before performances, just as they have done for decades. Additionally, guests will have the option of dining indoors at The Valley Restaurant.
HVSF produces outdoors, which is commonly thought to be a lower-risk environment for virus transmission, but the safety of artists and audiences is always paramount. The company will follow all local, federal, and union guidelines and will take all appropriate precautions to determine safe protocols for the season. The productions will only proceed in person if it is safe and responsible to do so.
HVSF is committed to becoming a more anti-racist and inclusive organization in support of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. HVSF shared their initial commitments for accountability in June 2020 and continues to regularly share more details of its actionable steps to support those commitments. To read more about the steps they’re taking, visit https://hvshakespeare.org/2022-anti-racism-update/.