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Meet the Cast: Henry VIII

The Festival is delighted to announce the cast of Henry VIII. This is only the third time this Shakespeare play has been produced here, the first being in 1974 and the most recent nearly thirty years ago, in 1995.

Director Derek Charles Livingston encourages patrons to take advantage of seeing this rarely-performed play. As the director, he is thrilled at the chance to tell Henry’s story.

“We think we know who Henry VIII was, but here’s a chance to see the alternative of it,” Livingston said. “I want people to leave saying, ‘Henry really pulled that off––he went through a crisis and emerged as his own person.’”

The lead cast is as follows:

Cassandra Bissell

Cassandra Bissell is returning to the Festival as Queen Katherine in Henry VIII and Tranio/Huntsman in The Taming of the Shrew. Previous roles at the Festival include Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, and Rosalind in As You Like It to name a few. She has also performed at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and many more. Bissell received a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Chicago. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Topher Embrey

Topher Embrey is returning to the Festival, this time as King Henry in Henry VIII, Christopher Sly/Curtis in The Taming of the Shrew, and Shepherd’s Son/Officer in The Winter’s Tale. Previous roles at the Festival include Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bobo in A Raisin in the Sun. He has been in various productions Off-Broadway with Red Bull Theatre and has performed for five seasons at American Shakespeare Center, as well as Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Denver Center for the Performing Arts, to name a few. Embrey received a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from Christopher Newport University. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Chris Mixon

Chris Mixon is returning to the Festival as Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII, Baptista Minola/Player in The Taming of the Shrew, and Old Shepherd/Jailer in The Winter’s Tale. Previous roles at the Festival include Dennis in The Play That Goes Wrong, Mr. Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical, and Earl of Gloucester in King Lear. He’s been in the national Broadway tour of How to Succeed in Business Without Trying, world and NYC premieres at Pearl Theatre Company, and productions at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

The supporting cast is as follows:

Evelyn Carol Case

Evelyn Carol Case is returning to the Festival as Brandon/Patience/other in Henry VIII and Verges/Attendant in Much Ado About Nothing. Previous roles at the Festival include Mrs. Bates/Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical and Prince Escalus in Romeo and Juliet. She has appeared onstage with Prague Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare Orange County, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Laguna Playhouse, and ten seasons as a resident artist with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Christopher Centinaro

Christopher Centinaro is returning to the Festival as Surveyor/Capuchius/Cranmer in Henry VIII, Nicholas/others in The Taming of the Shrew, and Florizel in The Winter’s Tale. Previous roles at the Festival include Sempronius in Timon of Athens and Adrien in Coriolanus. Centinaro has also been in Mojada at the Indiana Shakespeare Festival and has received the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award.

Trent Dahlin

Trent Dahlin is returning to the Festival as Wolsey’s Secretary/Gardiner in Henry VIII and Conrade/Candle Bearer in Much Ado About Nothing. Previous productions at the Festival include Pericles, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Twelfth Night, among others. Other roles include Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol at Theatre Squared, Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility at Lyric Repertory Theatre, and more. Film credits include Mission Stories and American Prophet. Dahlin received his education at Southern Utah University and is an Equity Membership Candidate.

Alaysia Renay Duncan

Alaysia Renay Duncan is making her Festival debut as Anne Bullen in Henry VIII, Petra/others in The Taming of the Shrew, and Perdita in The Winter’s Tale. She has also been in productions of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at Engeman Theater, Dorian Gray at The Tank, Strange and Splendid at Chain Theatre, and more. Duncan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Ithaca College.

Darin F. Earl II

Darin F. Earl II is returning to the Festival as Sands/Campeius/Dr. Butts in Henry VIII and Soldier/Friar/First Watch in Much Ado About Nothing. Previous roles at the Festival include Claudius/Ghost of Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Schools Hamlet Tour, Painter/Varro/Soldier in Timon of Athens, Sicinius Velutus/Roman Citizen/Soldier in Coriolanus, and more. Off Broadway productions include Ye Bear and Ye Cubb at 59E59 Theatres. Other acting credits include A Midwinter’s Night Dream at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Richard II at Luna Stage, and Love’s Labour’s Lost at Scranton Shakespeare Festival. Earl II boasts film credits including Hell House Origins and 825 Forest Road and received a Bachelor of Arts from Rider University.

John Harrell

John Harrell is returning to the Festival as Guilford/Cromwell in Henry VIII, Hortensio/Player in The Taming of the Shrew, and Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale. Previous roles at the Festival include the 2017 productions of Treasure Island, As You Like It, and Shakespeare In Love. He was also the title characters in Hamlet, Cyrano, Richard II, and more at the American Shakespeare Center. Harrell received a Bachelor of Arts in English from James Madison University. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Geoffrey Kent

Geoffrey Kent is returning to the Festival as Buckingham/Lord Chancellor in Henry VIII, Vincentio/others in The Taming of the Shrew, and Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale. He directed The Play That Goes Wrong last season and has been in the Festival’s productions of Treasure Island, As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love, and more. Kent received a Henry Award for Excellence in Fight Direction. His teaching credits include University of Northern Colorado, University of Denver, and Asolo Conservatory. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Walter Kmiec

Walter Kmiec is debuting at the Festival as Duke of Norfolk in Henry VIII and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. Other roles include those at Orlando Shakes, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Endstation Theater Company, and more. Film credits include The New Year, and Kmiec boasts teaching credits from Stetson University and Florida State University. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Florida State University and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Chloe McLeod

Chloe McLeod is debuting at the Festival as Lady in Waiting/Working Woman/Party Guest in Henry VIII, Biondello/Huntsman/Server The Taming of the Shrew, and Dorcas/Lady in The Winter’s Tale. She has performed in The Two Gentlemen of Verona at Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Anna Karenina at Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and Fun Home at Miners Alley Playhouse, and more. McLeod trained at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

Trenell Mooring

Trenell Mooring is debuting at the Festival as Margaret in Henry VIII, Phillipa/other roles in The Taming of the Shrew, and Paulina in The Winter’s Tale. She has been Belinda in Noises Off and Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing at Orlando Shakes, Salima in Ruined at GableStage, and more. Mooring received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Dariana Elise Pérez

Dariana Elise Pérez is debuting at the Festival as Lady in Waiting/Working Woman/Party Guest in Henry VIII and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing. Other roles include those in Twelfth Night at Ten Thousand Things, Troilus and Cressida at Guthrie Dowling Studio, I Am Betty at History Theatre, and more. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Minnesota and is an Equity Membership candidate.

Chauncy Thomas

Chauncy Thomas is debuting at the Festival as Duke of Suffolk in Henry VIII and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale. Other roles include those in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, A Raisin in the Sun at Bay Street Theatre, and As You Like It at Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Film credits include Madam Secretary and Run the World. Thomas received a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Marco Antonio Vega

Marco Antonio Vega is returning to the Festival as Surrey/Servant/Executioner in Henry VIII and Don John in Much Ado About Nothing. Previous roles at the Festival include Narrator in the Every Brilliant Thing Tour, Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Paris in Romeo and Juliet, and more. Other theater credits include Puck in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) at The Reduced Shakespeare Company. He boasts teaching credits at Utah Tech University and Southern Utah University and was a Recipient of the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Michael and Jan Finlayson Acting Award in 2017. Vega received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Utah University and a Master of Fine Arts from University of San Diego.

Patrick Vest

Patrick Vest is debuting at the Festival as Lovell in Henry VIII and Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing. Other roles include Iago in Othello at Nebraska Shakespeare, Macbeth at Shakespeare by the Sea, Major Arnold in Taking Sides at Rubicon Theatre, and many more. Vest received a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Spencer Watson

Spencer Watson is returning to the Festival as Monk/Guard/Party Guest/Anglican Priest in Henry VIII and Balthasar/Sexton/Messenger in Much Ado About Nothing. He was in last season’s production of The Greenshow. Other roles include Betty/Edward in Cloud 9, Cinderella’s Prince/The Wolf in Into the Woods, and Whizzer in Falsettos at Southern Utah University. Watson was also Brutus in Finding the Fickle Fortune and Smee in Peter Pan at Pickleville Playhouse. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance from Southern Utah University.

Henry Woronicz

Henry Woronicz is returning to the Festival as Lord Chamberlain in Henry VIII and Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing. Previous roles at the Festival include Henry V, Macbeth, Richard III, and more. He also directed As You Like It, Taming of the Shrew, Coriolanus, among others. Broadway credits include Julius Caesar. Other credits include those from American Players Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and much more. Television credits include Seinfeld, Ally McBeal, Cheers, and more, while film credits include Primary Colors, Living Out Loud, and The Good Catholic. Woronicz was the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director and Executive Producer at Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. He boasts teaching credits as Head of MFA Acting, Illinois State University and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Braedon Young

Braedon Young is returning to the Festival as Scribe/Messenger/Party Guest in Henry VIII and Soldier/Second Watch in Much Ado About Nothing. Previous roles at the Festival include Abram in Romeo and Juliet, Robin Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and other roles in All’s Well That Ends Well and King Lear. Other theater credits include Georg in She Loves Me, Roger in Don’t Stop Me, Father in Paperboy, and more. Additional credits include multiple solo performances at Carnegie Hall and earning a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theater at The Manhattan School of Music.

It’s not too early to purchase tickets! The play lineup for the 63rd season includes Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing, along with the hilarious The 39 Steps, the moving Silent Sky, and the inspirational The Mountaintop.

The season runs June 17 through October 5.

Visit here for more information about the play. Catch up here on our 10 Fun Facts about Henry VIII. Don’t miss out on our study guide, where you can find a synopsis, character summaries, and several articles on the play.

What's On

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The Winter's Tale

June 18 - September 6, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

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The 39 Steps

June 22 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

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Much Ado About Nothing

June 21 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

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The Taming of the Shrew

June 19 - September 7, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

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RADA 2024 Production

July 30-August 3, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

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Henry VIII

June 17 - September 5, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

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The Mountaintop

July 13 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

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Silent Sky

July 12 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2024 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah