The Play That Goes Wrong: A Bit Like a Clown Car
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce the cast members for this summer’s comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong, which features both new and returning actors.
For those who enjoy hilarious farces, this show is described by director Geoffrey Kent as if “Noises Off drank a case of Red Bull.” It is a play within a play, put on by a group of amateur actors where practically nothing goes as planned and everything falls apart…including the set. It is “one of the more complex shows that the [Festival] has staged in recent memory.” Its scenic elements are “a bit like a clown car”: just when you think there aren’t any more tricks to be seen, it will surprise you over and over!
The cast is as follows:
Jeffrey Marc Alkins is new to the Festival this year and is performing the roles of Jonathan in The Play That Goes Wrong and George and Moving Man in A Raisin in the Sun. He has worked on Broadway in Mr. Saturday Night and off-broadway as Richard of Gloucester in Richard III at The Flea, Planchet in The Three Musketeers at Classical Theatre Harlem, Orderly in Me and the Girls: A Noel Coward Musical at Mary MacArthur, and many more. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Nazlah Black is making their Festival mainstage debut as Sandra in The Play That Goes Wrong and Mrs. Johnson in A Raisin in the Sun. They toured in the Festival’s 2023 Shakespeare in the Schools production of Othello as Emilia and Bianca. Black played Viola in Twelfth Night for Emit Theatre, Cordelia in King Lear at Barefoot Shakespeare, and Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest at Encounters Theatre. They also played Rosalind in the film As You Like It, presented by Shakespeare in the Woods.
Laura Brennan performed with the Festival’s Shakespeare in the Schools education tour of Much Ado About Nothing in 2022. This season will be her mainstage debut as well, playing Stage Hand in The Play That Goes Wrong and Harriet Smith and Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical. She has also performed with Hoosier Shakespeare Festival, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Cider Mill Playhouse, and First Folio Theatre, among many others.
Rhett Guter returns to the Festival, playing Chris in The Play That Goes Wrong and Mr. George Knightley in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical this season. He has performed in over twenty Festival productions between 2005 and 2021, including Ragtime, The Pirates of Penzance, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Music Man, and The Greenshow. He is also a magician and prolific choreographer, having choreographed numerous productions here. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Blake Henri will play the role of Robert in The Play That Goes Wrong and Karl Lindner in A Raisin in the Sun and is new to the Festival. He played The Poet in The Iliad at Oklahoma Shakespeare, Murray in The Odd Couple at WaterTower Theatre, Boddy in Clue at Dallas Theater Center, and much more. Henri has appeared in film and television on Love and Death, American Underdog, Great Plains, and more.
Chris Mixon returns for his eleventh season at the Festival since 2002. This time he will be playing Dennis in The Play That Goes Wrong and Mr. Woodhouse and Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical. His theatre work includes 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, Pioneer Theatre Company, Geva Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, and Alabama Shakespeare Theatre, among many others. He also has film and television credits including The Rosa Parks Story (CBS), All My Children (ABC), One Life to Live (ABC), and Law & Order (Wolf Films/Universal TV). He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Melinda Parrett returns as Annie in The Play That Goes Wrong and Miss Bates and Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical. She has performed in nearly twenty productions at the Festival since 2007, including as Mrs. White in Clue, Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music, Titania and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes. Other theatres she has worked at include Denver Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Geva Theatre, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and Oregon Cabaret Theatre. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Jim Poulos returns for his fourth season at the Festival, having previously played Ross in Macbeth, Henry VI and Ensemble in Henry VI Part One and The Conclusion of Henry VI: Parts Two and Three, and The Duke and Ensemble in Big River. This season he will perform as Max in The Play That Goes Wrong and Mr. Elton and Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical. Other theatres include American Repertory Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Geva Theatre, Denver Center, and Great River Shakespeare Festival, among others. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Cameron Vargas is new to the Festival and will perform the roles of Trevor in The Play That Goes Wrong and Robert Martin and Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical. He has also acted in Dogfight at Sierra Repertory Theatre, West Side Story and Little Women at Granbury Theatre Company, Indivisible With… and Julius Caesar at Milwaukee Rep Project, and several others at PCPA.
Grace Wissink is also new to audiences at the Festival. This season she will perform as Stage Hand in The Play That Goes Wrong and Elizabeth Martin and Ensemble in Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical. Previous experience includes Hamlet at Playmakers Repertory Company, Nia and Dance Nation at Kenan Theatre Company, Fun Home at Company Carolina, and The Birthday Party at LAB! Theatre.
The 2023 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival runs from June 21 to October 7 and includes Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical, A Raisin in the Sun, The Play That Goes Wrong, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus, as well as all the experiences surrounding the plays, such as The Greenshow, seminars, orientations, and backstage tours. Tickets and information are available by calling 800-PLAYTIX or visiting bard.org.