He is a Roman general, handsome & brave. She is the Queen of Egypt, beautiful & proud. Together they will defy the power of an Emperor. Together they will destroy that which they strive to uphold. Award-winning actress and director Petronia Paley leads the TWAS Classical Actors of Color as they share the stage with classical actor Christopher Sutton as Marc Antony and Debra Ann Byrd as Cleopatra, Egypt’s last Queen.
CHRISTOPHER SUTTON* [Marc Antony] An award-winning actor and three-time Barrymore Award Nominee for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor as Mickey in Blood Brothers and Don in Singin’ in the Rain, Christopher received the Barrymore Award for Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, and is a recipient of the Louis B. Sudler National Prize in the Arts. He played the role of Prince Herbert/Not Dead Fred in the 1st national tour of Monty Python’s Spamalot for over 1,200 performances under the direction of Mike Nichols, and created the title role in the World Premiere of Flight of the Lawnchair Man at Goodspeed Opera House and NYMF (Outstanding Actor Award). Christopher recently appeared as Jack in David Ives’ Ancient History at 45th Street Theatre, and as John in the new play Lola-Lola by Peter Michalos. Other New York credits include I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and the original casts of Golf: The Musical and The It Girl with Jerry Zaks. Regional credits include: Of Mice and Men (George), Desire Under the Elms (Eben), Odet’s Golden Boy (Joe), The Sea Gull (Treplyev), Me and My Girl (Bill), Carousel (Billy), Henry IV pt 1 (Prince Harry), Twelfth Night (Feste), As You Like It (Orlando), Henry VI Pts 1-3 (Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York).
DEBRA ANN BYRD* [Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt] Last seen as Lady Bracknell in the 1920’s Harlem production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Debra Ann is an award-winning actress, producer & AUDELCO Award Nominee for Best Lead Actress as Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra (2011). She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College, completed advanced studies at The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab; is a recipient of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Lucille Lortel Award & Josephine Abady Award; and is the Founder & Producing Artistic Director of Take Wing And Soar Productions and the Harlem Shakespeare Festival. Her classical roles for the stage include Love’s Labors Lost (Winter), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hippolyta), Richard III (Queen Elizabeth), Antigone (The Choragos), Coriolanus (Volumnia) & Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals. Roles in other new American classics include Luce Morgan in Loose by Petronia Paley, Dido Queen of Carthage in Massinissa: The Man Who Betrayed Hannibal to Rome by Lorey Hayes & Queen Yemmo in David D. Wright’s Obatala: King of the White Cloth.
Other company members for this Equity Showcase Production are actors David Heron* as Caesar, Tauriq Jenkins as Enobarbus, Renauld White* as Agrippa & Natasha Yannacañedo* as Charmian, with Getenesh Berhe, Egbert Bernard, Marckenson Charles*, Andrew R. Cooksey, Selina Hernandez, Julius Hollingsworth, Nicholas Johnson, Aixa Kendrick*, Tom Martin, Norman Anthony Small, Tarantino Smith*, Dwayne Walker-Dixon, & Justin Walker-White. Scenic Designer: Pavlo Bosyy; Lighting Designer: Joyce Liao; Costume Designer: David Withrow; Sound Designer: David D. Wright; Casting Associate: Sara Koch Casting; Stage Manager: Jacqueline Anscombe; Assistant to the Director: Troi Danielle Hall; Patron Affairs: Natalie Clarke; Volunteer Divas and Divos Plus: LaZette McCants. Producers for Antony & Cleopatra: Debra Ann Byrd, Voza Rivers, Raphael Benavides & Dathan B. Williams. Assistants to the Producers: Julius Hollingsworth, Anna Chico, Carmen Borla & Lainie Cooke.
TAKE WING AND SOAR PRODUCTIONS & VOZA RIVERS/NEW HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP in association with RAPHAEL BENAVIDES/EAST HARLEM PRESENTS … set to bridge the arts across Harlem with the launching of the HARLEM SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL // 16 EVENTS, OVER 5 MONTHS, SPANNING AUGUST 28 – DECEMBER 15, 2013.
Three award winning, Harlem-based arts organizations have teamed up to launch the inaugural season of Take Wing And Soar’s newest initiative, the HARLEM SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL, an indoor/outdoor theatre festival spanning summer through late fall, consisting of 2 mainstage plays; 1 concert staged reading; 3 international Shakespeare films; 1 musical/concert opera performance; featuring related talk backs, lectures, panel discussions, picnics, master classes, youth workshops & family fun for all. The HARLEM SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL runs Wednesday, August 28 through December 15, 2013.
FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: An outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s ANTONY & CLEOPATRA at the Waterfront Amphitheatre in Riverbank State Park [August 29th through September 1st]; a Family Day Picnic in the Park & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony [Saturday, August 31st]; Shakespeare-On-Film Series, featuring the Royal Shakespeare Company’s contemporary African Julius Caesar, directed by Gregory Doran [October 2013]; an indoor mainstage production of CORIOLANUS: The African Warrior, directed by Jeffrey V. Thompson, starring Petronia Paley* [Opens October 31st]; a Shakespeare-In-Music concert Come Again Sweet Music created and directed by Dathan B. Williams [November 2013]; & an all-female production of The Tragedy of OTHELLO, directed by Lisa Wolpe of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company featuring staged combat by Safe Violence with Dan Burke [December 2013].
*DENOTES MEMBER AEA
SPECIAL PRE-SHOW EVENT // August 31st 1pm – 6pm
FAMILY DAY PICNIC IN THE PARK & RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY
Join us for a special Family Day Picnic in the Park celebrating the Launch of the HARLEM SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
This special Launch event, hosted by State Committeewoman Hon. Theresa Freeman, will honor Councilwoman Inez E. Dickens, the West Harlem Development Corporation & the leadership of the Festival. Food, Friends & Family fun for all!
DATES & TIMES: Wednesday, August 29 – Sunday, September 1, 2013 @ 7pm
THEATRE: Waterfront Amphitheatre ~ Riverbank State Park
West Harlem, NY ~ 145th Street & Riverside Drive
TICKETS: $ FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
RESERVATIONS: Limited Seating. Book your seats in advance at www.harlemshakespearefest.org