First Round of Casting
Utah Shakespeare Festival Reveals First Round of Casting
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is proud to announce the casting of the first eight actors for the 2015 season. All are familiar faces, having appeared at the Festival in the past. Actors include Tony Amendola, Melinda Pfundstein, Aaron Galligan-Stierle, Sam Ashdown, Betsy Mugavero, Peter Sham, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn. Please check for complete casting available soon at www.bard.org.
After several seasons performing in the hit ABC television show, Once Upon a Time, Tony Amendola is back this year in the title role of King Lear. He’ll also be appearing in Henry IV Part Two.Amendola was last at the Festival in 2010 appearing as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and The Porter in Macbeth. Television credits include Once Upon a Time, Continuum, CSI: NY, Dexter, Stargate and The Practice.
Melinda Pfundstein, who has appeared in numerous roles at the Festival, will perform this year as Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Goneril in King Lear. Many Festival-goers will remember Pfundstein for her acclaimed portrayals last year as Olivia in Twelfth Night, Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods and Irene Adler in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. She has also appeared in such roles as Rosaline in Love's Labour's Lost, Constance in King John, Fantine in Les Misérables, Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and many others.
Aaron Galligan-Stierle will take on Luther Billis, the crafty sailor in South Pacific, and Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew. At the Festival last season, Galligan-Stierle played Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Feste in Twelfth Night. Previous seasons he has performed in Peter and the Starcatcher, Anything Goes, The Merchant of Venice, The 39 Steps, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Room Service and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Sam Ashdown returns as Prince Hal in Henry IV Part Two. Ashdown will also be Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew and part of the King Lear ensemble. Ashdown made his Festival debut last year as the young Prince Hal in Henry IV Part One and John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility. He’s performed at a variety of theatres including Chicago Shakespeare Festival, Northlight Theatre, American Players Theatre and Broadway Playhouse.
After a year away, Betsy Mugavero will return to the Festival to play Constanze, the flirtatious and resilient wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Amadeus. She will also appear as Kitty Verdun in Charley’s Aunt. Mugavero’s past Festival credits include Molly in Peter and the Starcatcher and Jaquenetta in Love’s Labour’s Lost in 2013. She’s also been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Noises Off!, The Winters Tale, As You Like It, Henry V, The School for Wives, and The Taming of the Shrew
Peter Sham, head of the acting and directing program for Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, joins the Festival company as Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew. He’ll also have roles in King Lear and Henry IV Part Two. Sham is most recently known for his work as book writer/lyricist on Lend Me A Tenor: The Musical, which celebrated a successful run at the Gielgud Theatre on London’s West End. Sham has been in several productions at the Festival, and has performed at the Asolo Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Eastside Playhouse, Perry Street Theatre, Artpark and Yale Cabaret.
Along with directing this season, both Artistic Directors, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn, join the acting company with Ivers appearing as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus and Vaughn as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.
As an actor Ivers, had been in over forty productions throughout eighteen seasons, including title roles in Richard II and Scapin. Festival directing credits include Twelfth Night, Twelve Angry Men, Romeo and Juliet, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abriged).
Vaughn has played over forty roles in the past twenty years, including the title roles in Hamlet, Henry V and Cyrano de Bergerac. Festival directing credits include Henry IV, Part One, Peter and the Starcatcher, Dial M for Murder, Greater Tuna, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare in the Schools).