Kentucky Shakespeare Festival 2017 Summer Acting Company
Jon Becraft (Don John – Much Ado, Bushy/Gardener’s Man/Guard – Richard II, Caius Ligarius/Antony’s Servant/Plebian/Lucillius – Julius Caesar) is a native of Kentucky and a graduate of Hanover College, where he studied theatre. Jon cut his theatrical teeth as part of Kentucky Shakespeare’s first Globe Players in 2003, and has been involved with the company in a variety of capacities in seasons past, including as a Touring Artist Educator in 2009 and 2016-17, Sound Designer for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and As You Like It in 2011, and recently as Chiron in the Fall 2016 production of Titus Andronicus. He is a founder and artistic director of Baby Horse Theatre Group, and is the director and co-writer of Louisville Championship Arm Wrestling. He also performs in the improvisational theatre group Lung Farm.
Chloé Bell (Ursula – Much Ado, Aumerle – Richard II, Lucius/Plebian/Volumnius – Caesar) is incredibly excited for her first summer with Kentucky Shakespeare! She graduated from duPont Manual High School/YPAS in 2014 and is a rising senior at The University of Minnesota, in the Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program. A few of her roles in college include A Servant to Two Masters (Smeraldina), Henry VI (Henry/Ensemble), and A Lie of the Mind (Beth). She also just returned recently from a semester abroad in London – she played Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing with Globe Education, and she’d love to chat about the trip with anyone interested! Before leaving Louisville, Chloé appeared in Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) at YPAS; Cowboy Mouth (Cavale), Richard II (Richard), and Summer and Smoke (Alma), amongst others at Walden Theatre. Here’s to a summer of Shakespeare!
Shaleen Cholera (Conrad/Ensemble – Much Ado, Lord Marshall/Surrey – Richard II, Carpenter/Popilius Lena/Cinna the Poet/Tintinius – Caesar) is thrilled to be onstage with Kentucky Shakespeare. He was last seen in The University of Louisville’s production of King Lear (Edmund). Favorite past credits include Othello (Othello), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander/Flute), Disgraced (Hussein), and Macbeth (Macbeth). MFA: University of Louisville, 2017.
Barrett Cooper (Leonato – Much Ado, York – Richard II, Decius Brutus/Flavius/Plebian/1st Soldier/Clitus – Caesar) Barrett’s work has been seen on the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre stage playing King Lear for Savage Rose, which he founded, and as fight director for Kentucky Shakespeare (Richard III, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo&Juliet, Twelfth Night, Henry V). Favorite roles with Savage Rose: Macbeth, Benedick, Lear, Jean in Miss Julie, Soranzo in ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Lady Bracknell, Krapp in Krapp’s Last Tape. He appeared at Actors Theatre in Dracula for three seasons as Van Helsing as Bill McNulty’s stand-by. Barrett’s fight direction has also been featured at Actors Theatre and Kentucky Opera. As a director: The Changeling, Man with the Flower in His Mouth, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, among others. Next season: directing Coyote Ugly for Alley Theatre, fight directing and appearing in Kentucky Opera’sDead Man Walking, and appearing as Mark Rothko in RED for Bunbury, directed by Steve Woodring who directed him as Bradley in Buried Child.
Alisha Espinosa (Hero – Much Ado, Queen Isabel/Groom – Richard II, Artemidora/Plebian/Young Cato – Caesar) is so thrilled to be making her Summer Season debut with Kentucky Shakespeare. She was recently touring with the company’s education production of Julius Caesar to parks and schools around the state. She also made a quick appearance in Actors Theater of Louisville’s New Voices Festival in No Hablo Espanol. She holds an M.F.A. in acting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (2015). Other Shakespeare credits include Pericles (Marina), Comedy of Errors (Luciana), King Lear (Regan), and Henry V (Katherine). She currently lives in New York City, where she has been whirling around the Indie Theater scene as a writer and actor in The Frigid Festival, The One Minute Play Festival, Planet Connections Festivity, and the Take Ten Festival. Regional, selected credits: Sticky Traps (KC Rep), Our Town (KC Rep), Water by the Spoonful (The Unicorn), Afflicted: Daughters of Salem (The Coterie).
Brian Hinds (Caius Cassius – Caesar) is on the theater faculty at Youth Performing Arts School, where he instructs freshmen theater majors and playwriting. Originally from Maine, Brian spent ten years with The Children’s Theatre of Maine. Since moving to Louisville Brian has performed with Kentucky Shakespeare as MacDuff in Macbeth, Caesar in Julius Caesar, Richard in Richard III, Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, and Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead; StageOne Family Theatre in The Odyssey, Tuck Everlasting, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; The Bard’s Town Theatre in Rx and Seminar; and Savage Rose Classical Theatre as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Blunt in The Rover, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and Prospero in The Tempest. He is also a member of The Louisville Improvisors. Recent directing credits include Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors and The Crucible at YPAS, Love’s Labour’s Lost with Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players and The Gardeners and Blizzard of ’92 with Marrow Street Theater.
Dathan Hooper (Don Pedro – Much Ado, Fitzwater/Ross – Richard II, Marcus Brutus, Caesar) previous Kentucky Shakespeare credits include Titus Andronicus, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, The Tempest, Pericles and Gammer Gurton’s Needle. His other regional credits are with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Stage One, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, The Mule Barn Theatre, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble of Los Angeles. Dathan has television and film credits and is proud of his long relationship with Louisville’s arts community.
Jon Huffman (Verges – Much Ado, Northumberland – Richard II, Cinna/Murellus/Plebian/Messala – Caesar) has appeared on the local stages of Actors Theatre of Louisville, StageOne Family Theatre, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Bunbury Theatre, 12 seasons at Kentucky Shakespeare since 1981 (including the title role in Titus Andronicus last fall), and many more. Across the country, he’s played hundreds of roles, ranging from Harold Hill in The Music Man to Iago in Othello, and from Oedipus in Oedipus Rex to Zach in A Chorus Line. His television work includes regular roles on Designing Women, Days Of Our Lives, and General Hospital. In dozens of films, Jon has shared the screen with the likes of Laurence Fishburne (Fled), Jeremy Irons (Lolita), James Earl Jones (Timepiece), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunley) and has been directed by Oscar winners Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate) and Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption). Along with his much better half, Barbara Cullen, Jon is Co-Artistic Director of Vault 1031.
Tom Luce (Antonio – Much Ado, Henry Bolingbroke – Richard II, Julius Caesar/Strato – Caesar) has been involved in the Louisville theatre scene as an actor, director and designer for the past 28 years. His Kentucky Shakespeare credits include Titus Andronicus (Marcus Andronicus), Macbeth (Duncan), and The Taming of the Shrew (Vincentio). He has worked locally with Actors Theatre, The Necessary Theatre, Horse Cave Theatre, Theater , and Savage Rose Classical Theater Company. He has also had a busy career in film and television, performing in dozens of commercials (including a national spot for A T & T directed by Michael Bay), and several film projects with local producers Kelly’s Filmworks and City on a Hill. This past year he appeared in the film My Friend Dahmer as Vice President Walter Mondale and in the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries feature An Uncommon Grace as Bishop Weaver. Tom currently works as the technical director at Presentation Academy where his loving partner, Charlie Douglas, is the drama director.
Abigail Bailey Maupin (Beatrice – Much Ado, Duchess of Gloucester/Welsh Captain/Abbott of Westminster – Richard II, Calpurnia/Plebian – Caesar) is delighted to return to Kentucky Shakespeare; recent audiences may recognize her from Two Gentlemen of Verona (Speed), The Winter’s Tale (Paulina), Twelfth Night (Olivia), The Taming of the Shrew (Kate), Macbeth (Lady Macbeth), Hamlet (Gertrude), or Henry V (Alice/Bourbon). She and her husband Greg co-founded Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, with whom she created/performed in over twenty plays, including the title role in Molière’s Don Juan; other local credits include: 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, My Fair Lady (Actors Theatre); Singin’ in the Rain, Frog & Toad, (MTL/StageOne); Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore (Iroquois Amphitheater); and Savage Rose’s Titus Andronicus: A Radio Play. Her regional work includes: Sweeney Todd (Goodspeed Opera House); Babes & Dudes, Die Like a Lady (NY International Fringe Festival); Iolanthe (Village Light Opera Group, NYC); Gift of the Magi (Vermont Stage Company), Hansel and Gretel (Theatreworks/USA).
Gregory Maupin (Benedick – Much Ado, Green/Bishop of Carlisle – Richard II, Casca/Plebian/Lepidus/2nd Solider – Caesar) has appeared at Kentucky Shakespeare in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Guildenstern), Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Launce), Tempest (Stephano), Hamlet (Polonius), Macbeth (Porter, Duncan), Henry V (Fluellen), and Dark Lady of the Sonnets (Shakespeare), among others, and is also the company’s dramaturg/text coach. He and his wife Abigail co-founded Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble in 2004, co-creating many original works, adapting classics, and building masks; they also perform as Prohibition-era ukulele duo Rannygazoo and co-wrote The Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood, produced locally at Stage One. With Actors Theatre: Macbeth, Luna Gale, At the Vanishing Point, Our Town, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, among others. With the Dell’Arte Company: Vaudeville (co-creator); Paradise Lost. With ImprovBoston: Musical! The Musical. Gregory is a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Follow his Shakespeare blog at YellowstockingTales.com.
Jon Patrick O’Brien (Borachio – Much Ado, Hotspur – Richard II, Mark Antony – Caesar) has performed with Kentucky Shakespeare as Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Cleomines in The Winter’s Tale, the Prince in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet in Hamlet and Rosencrantz&Guildenstern, Boatswain in The Tempest, Sly in The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth in Macbeth, and many others. Locally, Jon as also worked with Theatre  in The Language Archive, Red Speedo and Failure: a Love Story and StageOne Family Theatre in The BFG and And Then They Came for Me. After graduating from Juilliard, Jon returned to his hometown of Louisville, happy to work with local theatre and finally set up a workshop for his woodcarving. Recently, he’s played the reoccurring character Motlow on the AMC hit show Turn. You can follow Jon and his woodcarving journey on Instagram @bearbranchhandcrafted.
Jennifer Pennington (Margaret/Sexton – Much Ado, Duchess Of York/Willoughby/Queen’s Lady – Richard II, Portia/Plebian – Caesar) is thrilled to work with Kentucky Shakespeare again. She was last seen in the warehouse Titus Andronicus as Tamora. Other local credits include: Misalliance (Commonwealth Theatre Center); Qualities of Starlight and Rich Girl (Theatre ); King Lear and Twelfth Night (Savage Rose Classical Theatre), and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (Pandora Productions). Regionally her credits include: The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (SouthCoast Repertory Theatre, CA); Medea (Boston Court Theatre, CA); The Hostage (Theatre Banshee, CA); Much Ado About Nothing (Arizona Classical Theatre); ThreePenny Opera and Cabaret (Clarence Brown Theatre, TN); Romeo and Juliet, Winter’s Tale and MacBeth (Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, PA) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Comedy of Errors and Our Town (Turner House Festival, MI). She is currently artistic associate for the Commonwealth Theatre Center, instructor at the University of Louisville, and a vocal coach with The Speaker’s Studio.
Monte Priddy (Gaunt/Gardener – Richard II) This is Monte’s 36th summer doing Shakespeare in the Park. Since 1961 he has played more than 95 roles in 28 of Shakespeare’s plays with Kentucky Shakespeare, Alabama Shakespeare, and Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company. In addition to Kentucky Shakespeare, and its precursor the Carriage House Players, he has worked locally with Actors Inc. (the precursor to Actors Theatre of Louisville), Louisville Children’s Theater, UofL Repertory Co., Blue Apple Players, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Kentucky Cooperative Theater, Pegasus Rising, and Bunbury Theatre. Outside Louisville, he toured the southeastern USA with Alabama Shakespeare, appeared in several series for KET, did children’s theater in Nashville and dinner theater in West Virginia. Favorite Shakespearean roles include Iago in Othello, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Porter in Macbeth, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, the Old Shepherd in The Winter’s Tale, and Prospero in The Tempest. He is delighted to be back in the park again in 2017.
Neill Robertson (Friar Frances/Watch – Much Ado, Richard II – Richard II, Soothsayer/Octavius’s Attendant/Dardanius – Caesar) is so happy to be back on stage with Kentucky Shakespeare. He was seen in last fall’s Titus Andronicus (Saturninus) and the past two summers in The Winter’s Tale (Autolycus), Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Outlaw/Ensemble), The Taming of the Shrew (Tranio), The Tempest (Francisco) and Macbeth (Witch/Young Siward). Neill is a 2005 graduate of the Studio program at the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York City. NY credits include My Big Gay Italian Wedding/Funeral (Maurizio), Doctor Faustus (Pride, et al.), The Maderati (Ritt), Commedia! (Arlecchino) and Alice in Wonderland (Cheshire Cat). Neill moved back to Louisville in 2010. Local credits include Misalliance (Bunny), Cock (M), The Tempest (Ariel), King Lear (Edgar), Auctioning the Ainsleys (Aiden), Thrill Me (Leopold), The Rover (Belvile), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Molina), The Changeling (Lollio), A Midsummer Nights Dream (Quince), Alls Well That Ends Well (Parolles), among others.
James Stringer, Jr. (Balthasar/Watch – Much Ado, Bagot/Prison Guard – Richard II, Trebonius/Plebian/Octavius – Caesar) is thrilled to be making his Kentucky Shakespeare debut this summer. James graduated in May from the University of Louisville with a BS in Theatre Arts. He won the David Palmer Award in 2015 and the Taustine Award in 2016 from the University. Works at the University of Louisville include The Meeting (Malcolm X), Baltimore (Bryant), King Lear (Albany), Fences (Lyons), Polaroid Stories (Orpheus), The African Company Presents: Richard the Third (James Hewlett).
Kyle Ware (Dogberry – Much Ado) is an actor, artist, writer and educator, proudly serving as Kentucky Shakespeare’s director of education. Kyle has appeared onstage with the company in Titus Andronicus, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V and Hamlet. Kyle directed The Globe Players productions of The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It in the 2015 and 2016 Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. He is Co-Artistic Director of Think Tank Theatre, a collaborative theatre ensemble, and was a Producing Founding Artistic Director of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, co-creating and performing in nearly 20 new works. He is a featured writer at Insider Louisville, where he originated the weekly “In Other News…” column.
Crystian Wiltshire (Claudio – Much Ado, Mowbray/Scroop/Exton/Servant to York, Richard II, Cobbler/Metellus Cimber/Plebian/Pindarus – Caesar) is delighted to return to the Central Park stage, after appearing last summer in Romeo&Juliet (Romeo), The Winter’s Tale (Lord of Sicilia) and The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Eglamour). He spent the past year performing as an ensemble member of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, in The Tempest (Ferdinand), A Raisin in the Sun (George) and Much Ado About Nothing (Borachio). Other local credits include: Twelfth Night with Kentucky Shakespeare; And In This Corner… Cassius Clay and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse with StageOne Family Theatre; Othello, The Piano Lesson, and Gem of The Ocean with the University of Louisville.