Timon of Athens: "A Wild Ride"
“Like madness is the glory of this life,” Timon of Athens, Act I Scene II
The Utah Shakespeare Festival announces the cast members for this summer’s production of Timon of Athens, directed by Lisa Peterson, who is making her directorial debut at the Festival this season. She is also directing Coriolanus and is a two-time OBIE Award-winner for her productions of An Iliad and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire. Her most recent production, Good Night, Oscar starring the Tony Award-nominated Sean Hayes, is currently on Broadway.
“I think of Timon of Athens as one of the most experimental of Shakespeare’s plays,” Peterson said. “It’s about an extraordinary individual who ends up being in conflict with his own society. It asks the question ‘what does society owe to our remarkable individual and what does that individual owe to society?’”
Timon of Athens is the perfect play for the present day, exploring themes of friendship, wealth, and the foibles of materialistic society. Ultimately, Timon learns that you can’t buy friendship, just as money can’t buy happiness. Shakespeare’s tragedy is satiric, clever, and will be sure to deeply move our patrons.
“We’re doing [the play] in the period in which it was written––1607––so it’s a Jacobean satire,” Peterson said. “I think the show is quite funny––until it isn’t. It’s going to be a wild ride.”
The cast is as follows:
Elijah Alexander is returning to Festival as Timon in Timon of Athens and Tullus Aufidius/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. His productions previously at the Festival include Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice and more. Alexander has performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Festival, and The Guthrie, among many others. He can be seen as Atticus Aemilius in seasons two and three of The Chosen TV series and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Anastasha Blakely is returning to the Festival as Isadore/Poet in Timon of Athens and Valeria/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. She is also understudying the roles of Menenius Agrippa/Citizen in Coriolanus and Lucullus/Caphis in Timon of Athens. Previously at the Festival, she was in last season’s The Tempest and All’s Well That Ends Well, and the Shakespeare in the Schools education tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2012.
Jasmine Bracey is returning to the Festival as Lucullus/Caphis in Timon of Athens and Menenius Agrippa/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. Bracey’s previous roles at the Festival include Prospero in The Tempest, Belarius in Cymbeline, and Mrs. Dickenson in Intimate Apparel. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and has performed at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and The Goodman, among others, as well as films and television.
Christopher Centinaro is debuting at the Festival as Sempronius/Merchant/Soldier in Timon of Athens and Adrian/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. He has performed at Indianapolis Shakespeare Company, Studio Theatre, Ruth N. Halls Theatre, and Kean University.
Jack Doherty will be Servilius/Soldier inTimon of Athens and Nicanor/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. Making his debut at the Festival, Doherty has also performed at the Round Barn Theatre and Western Michigan University.
Darin F. Earl II is returning to the Festival as Varro/Painter in Timon of Athens and Sicinius Velutus/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. He is also understudying Alcibiades in Timon of Athens and Coriolanus in Coriolanus. He was Othello in this year’s Shakespeare in the Schools education tour of Othello and has also performed at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Scranton Shakespeare Festival, as well as in television shows and films.
Nell Geisslinger will be Apemantus in Timon of Athens and Junius Brutus/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. Previously at the Festival, she was in Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility, and Boeing Boeing. In addition to eleven seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Geisslinger has performed at South Coast Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and more, in addition to film and television roles. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
James Ryen is making his Festival debut as Alcibiades in Timon of Athens and Coriolanus in Coriolanus. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and has participated in seven seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, as well as performing at American Repertory Theatre, New Art Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, and more. He is also an active television and film actor.
Gabrielle Francine Smith will be making her debut at the Festival as Flaminius/Jeweller/Soldier in Timon of Athens and Virgilia/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. She is also understudying the roles of Flavius in Timon of Athens and Volumnia/Citizen in Coriolanus. Smith has also performed at the Phoenix Theatre Company, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Kansas Repertory Theatre, Oregon Cabaret Theatre, and more.
Jeremy Thompson is returning to the Festival as Ventidius/Factotumus/Soldier in Timon of Athens and Titus Lartius/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. Previously at the Festival, he recently performed in the Festival’s Utah tour of Every Brilliant Thing earlier this year and was in All’s Well That Ends Well, King Lear, Trouble in Mind, and Cymbeline, to name a few. Thompson has also performed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Island Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Repertory Theatre, and Book-It Repertory Theatre.
Sheila Tousey will be Flavius in Timon of Athens and Volumnia/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. Although this is her debut at the Festival, she has performed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Yale Repertory Theatre. She is also a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Jeorge Bennett Watson will be Lucius/Hortensius in Timon of Athens and Cominius/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus, making his Festival debut this season. He has performed at Manhattan Repertory Theatre, The Huntington Theater, Williamstown Theater, and Resident Ensemble Players and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and is also a prolific film and television actor.
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.