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Cleveland Play House Shakespeare in Love

Posted August 15, 2017 in Press Releases

CLEVELAND, OH (August 15, 2017) “I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all.” The Cleveland Play House produces the Academy Award-winning romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love, complete with swordfights, secret trysts, and backstage drama.

Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, Shakespeare in Love offers a sophisticated look at the power of art in society. Young playwright Will Shakespeare is short on inspiration until he encounters the beguiling Viola de Lesseps, daughter of a wealthy merchant, and their star-crossed love inspires a masterpiece. Based on the screenplay of the Academy Award winning movie by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, this lavish production is filled with action-packed adventure, fiery romance, mistaken identity and wit to celebrate the power of live theatre. Directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley, Shakespeare in Love will run from Sept. 9th– Oct. 1st in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square.

“This is a show about joy, beauty and love,” says CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. “With the bold style we’re bringing to the stage with Shakespeare in Love, it’s the perfect way to start the CPH Season. It’s everything audiences love about the movie, live on stage – including a dog!”

Shakespeare in Love Cast

LAVOUR ADDISON (Nol/Lambert/Boatman/Ensemble/Understudy: Kit Marlowe) graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a double major in Psychology and Theatre. He also holds a certificate from the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in NYC. 2017 Member of the Chautauqua Theatre Company where he played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program credits include: She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses and a cameo in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. At Cleveland Play House he has performed in The CPH Centennial Plays, the world premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes' The Good Peaches in collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra, and the world premiere reading of FEED by Eric Coble. Other credits include serving as the Acting Captain of the Hawaii Pirate Ship Adventures and working as a full time member of the Professional Acting Company with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. He recently played Macbeth with Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival. Favorite credits include The Wild Party, The Genteel Sabai, and Bug. I love you Brittni, Winnie, and Pixie.

DREW BASTIAN (Maestro/Musician/Ensemble) was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Theatre for a New Audience’s Measure for Measure where he played and co-wrote original music. In 2014, Drew performed in the national tour of HAIR where he played drums, acted in the ensemble, and understudied the role of Woof. Other favorites behind the kit include RENT with PA Centre Stage and playing for and co-producing Somewhere With You in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Favorites on stage include Romeo and Juliet in NYC with Occupy Verona, The Fantasticks as Matt with Arcadia players, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story as Jerry Allison with numerous regional theatres. As a musician, Drew has played historic venues such as Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, the Edison Ballroom, and Birdland backing up performers such as Annaleigh Ashford, James Monroe Inglehart, Randy Graff, Mandy Gonzalez, and Daveed Diggs.

TOMMY BILCZO (John Webster/Ensemble) is very excited to be returning to the stage at Cleveland Play House. Having most recently performed as Fletcher (understudy) in Disney's Freaky Friday. Tommy also took the stage in Aunt Clara's famous pink bunny suit as Ralphie in CPH's 2016 production of A Christmas Story. Tommy has enjoyed roles in numerous local productions including Young Josh in BIG, The Musical (Beck Center for the Arts); Gavroche in Les Miserables, School Edition (MAD* Factory); and Randy in A Christmas Story, The Musical (TrueNorth Cultural Arts Center), and a variety of TrueNorth and Beck Center productions. Tommy has studied the performing arts at the Beck Center, Baldwin Wallace University camps, and Broadway Artists Alliance in NYC. Tommy’s vocal coach is MAD* Factory instructor Amber Michalak. When he’s off stage, Tommy enjoys playing baseball with the Sheffield Venom, basketball, and having fun with family and friends.

PAUL BUGALLO (Tilney/Peter/Caitling/Ensemble) was raised in Seattle where he discovered his passion for the performing arts. He attended Central Washington University where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatrical Performance. Paul has performed in many of Seattle's professional spaces, including the Seattle Repertory and Center House Theatres, as well as improvisational theatres such as Unexpected Productions and Jet City Improv. Now residing in the proud city of Cleveland, Paul is absolutely ecstatic about finishing up his final year in the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program. You may have seen him over the last two years in CWRU/CPH’s productions of Clybourne Park and She Stoops to Conquer, as well as several of Cleveland Play House’s centennial season productions including The Good Peaches and FEED during his first year in the MFA Program.

MARIAH BURKS (Mistress Quickly/Musician /Ensemble) graduated from Bowling Green State University with a BAC in Musical Theatre. She is beyond thrilled and blessed to be performing this show with her amazing cast mates. Credits include: Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, Book of Days, Urinetown: The Musical, Toxic Avenger. Recipient of the 2015 National Irene Ryan Scholarship Acting Award recipient at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, DC. Currently studying at Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program and those credits include: Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Clybourne Park and She Stoops To Conquer; New Ground Theatre Festival at Cleveland Play House in The Nolan Williams Project: A New Musical. She was last seen in Caroline, or Change as "The Moon/Radio #1" at Tantrum Theatre. She couldn’t be more excited and humbled by this opportunity! Shout out to her mother for being a Wonder Woman! Enjoy the show!

DONALD CARRIER (Henslowe/Ensemble) has appeared at Cleveland Play House in All the Way; Luna Gale; The Crucible; The Little Foxes; Yentl; In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; Ten Chimneys; Noises Off; and Lincolnesque. Regional credits include The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, and The Tempest (The Old Globe); Twelfth Night and Hamlet (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival); A Christmas Carol (Great Lakes Theater); Shining City (Studio Theatre); Noises Off (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); The Duchess of Malfi and Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre); Gross Indecency (Huntington and Intiman Theatres); The School for Scandal (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); and Too True To Be Good (Shaw Festival). Highlights of nine Stratford Festival seasons include As You Like It, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, and Twelfth Night. He recently directed The Violins of Hope concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra, Becky Shaw at Dobama Theatre and Seminar and Really, Really at The Beck Center. Television/film: Guns, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Passion of Ayn Rand, and Dead by Monday. Don is the Interim Director of the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program and a 2016 Lunt/Fontanne Fellow.

KYLE CHERRY (Sam/Ensemble/Understudy: Burbage) has appeared at Cleveland Play House in the world premiere of The Good Peaches with the Cleveland Orchestra, the NGTF reading of The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh, The CPH Centennial Plays, and the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program’s productions of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Clybourne Park, and She Stoops to Conquer. Other credits include The Seagull (Huntington Theatre Company), Gross Indecency (Bad Habit Productions), Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Brown Box Theatre Project), Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird (New Repertory Theatre), as well as readings and workshops with the Cherry Lane Theatre, Red Bull Theater, and Theatre Now New York. He is a company member at The Middle Voice Theater Company in New York, for whom he has acted, written, and stage-managed. Kyle holds a B.A. in English from Tufts University.

SARAH CUNEO (Molly/Ensemble/Understudy: Viola de Lesseps) is overjoyed to be making her Cleveland Play House mainstage debut alongside her fellow classmates in the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. A New Jersey native, Sarah graduated from Princeton University with a major in Psychology and certificates in Theater and Neuroscience. Sarah has previously appeared in the New Ground Theater Festival in The Good Peaches by Quiara Alegría Hudes, and in a staged reading of Little Row Boat or, Conjecture by Kirsten Greenidge. She has also appeared in CWRU/CPH productions of She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. Other credits include Macbeth (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), Red Noses (Lewis Center for the Arts), and The Real Inspector Hound (Princeton Summer Theater). Much love and appreciation to the entire CWRU/CPH family, and infinite thanks to her father for his unwavering support.

RANDY MERRILL (Robin/Ensemble/Understudy: Will Shakespeare) is thrilled to be a part of Shakespeare in Love at the Cleveland Play House in his final year of graduate school with the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program! Most recent credits include the regional premier of Really, Really (Jimmy), Clybourne Park (Jim/Tom), and She Stoops to Conquer (Charles Marlow). He has also recently appeared in La Cage Aux Folles (Jean Michele) at The Lake Dillon Theatre Co, and the original cast and International/Asia tour of Barbie Live! The Musical. He would like to thank his family and friends for their enduring love and support as well as the faculty and staff at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House!

GRANT GOODMAN (Ned Alleyn/Frees/Ensemble) most recently appeared in Heartbreak House at Hartford Stage directed by Tony Award winner Darko Tresnjak. National Tours include The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham. New York credits include: Richard II (Pearl Theatre); Antony & Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice (Theatre for a New Audience); King Lear, The Iliad (Lincoln Center); Pericles (Red Bull Theater). Regional credits include extensive work with such theatres as: Yale Repertory, Hartford Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company (DC), Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Old Globe, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Court Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, PlayMakers Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Syracuse Stage, People's Light (Philadelphia), Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Milwaukee Repertory, Pioneer Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and the Utah, Illinois, Notre Dame and Kentucky Shakespeare Festivals among many others. Film/Television includes: As the World Turns, Sex and the City, Sleepers. Training: Graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

PETER HARGRAVE (Wessex/Musician/Ensemble) holds his BFA from Abilene Christian University and is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Tepper Semester. Peter most recently appeared as George Hastings in the CWRU/CPH MFA production of She Stoops to Conquer. Other CPH credits include: The Good Peaches (world premiere) and The CPH Centennial Plays. New Ground Theatre Festival Reading of FEED by Eric Coble. CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program credits include: Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Regional: Gateway Playhouse, Musical Theatre West, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Disney Cruise Line. Film: Rush (DH Productions).

MEGAN MEDLEY (Kate/Ensemble) is delighted to be performing on the Allen stage at Cleveland Play House! Since joining the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program she has performed alongside her classmates in She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and the world premiere of The Good Peaches. She recently had the opportunity to perform in the world premiere of These Mortal Hosts at the New Ground Theatre Festival. Other credits include: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Giselle (NoExit Performance); and Rapture, Blister, Burn (Theatre on the Square). She would like to thank her wonderfully supportive love Aurélien Bayo, her family, and her sweet kitties! Thank you for coming, and enjoy the show!

ANDHY MENDEZ (Kit Marlowe/Ensemble) recently appeared at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s production of Timon of Athens. Off-Broadway credits include Sotto Voce and Strawberry & Chocolate. Other New York credits include Daughter of the Waves (Theatre for the New City), Between Two Worlds (NYC’s HERE Festival), and Downside Risk (Wings Theatre). Regional credits include Hamlet: Prince of Cuba (ASOLO Repertory Theatre). Film credits include Gunny, Cecilia’s Birthday, Half the Perfect World, Cuban Blood, and For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. Television credits include the upcoming Netflix series Seven Seconds, Blue Bloods, Orange is the New Black, The Blacklist, Gossip Girl, Forever, Elementary, NYC 22, and Golden Boy.

ALLEN O’REILLY (Sir Robert de Lesseps/Wabash/Ensemble) has regional credits that include Hamlet (The Alliance Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Geva Theatre), Our Country’s Good (Clarence Brown), and twenty-four seasons at Georgia Shakespeare in Atlanta. Cleveland area credits include: Barefoot in the Park and The Winter’s Tale (Oberlin Theatre Festival), Billy Elliot (The Beck Center), Denial (Oberlin College), and Cleveland Treatment Center in INCOGNEGRO. Film and TV credits include: Legacy, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, Crimes and Mr. Meanors, Sleepy Hollow and TURN: Washington’s Spies. Allen has also narrated over forty audio books, most recently Sons of Wichita. Allen is a proud member of Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA and serves as the Education Programs Manager at Cleveland Play House.

BRIAN OWEN (Burbage/Adam/Ensemble) is thrilled to return to Cleveland Play House after last season’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. New York credits include Mr. Collins in a new musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Never Have I Ever (TinyRhino at Joe’s Pub), and Lisa and Leonardo. Regional credits include Camelot (with Robert Sean Leonard at Westport Country Playhouse), Baskerville (CPH, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Dorset Theatre Festival), Sweeney Todd, Peter and the Starcatcher, South Pacific, Both Your Houses, The Matchmaker, and Sense and Sensibility (with Jon Jory at ATL). He’s been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream too many times to count. Film/TV credits include Hack my Life and Make Rome Great Again. He is a member of the political art collective Never Caesar whose viral video Trump-rested Development was featured by Time Magazine, Slate, and Vulture. His favorite role is husband to his wife Nicole. MFA: FSU/Asolo. Proud member AEA and Team Boals. @bistrowen

CHUCK RICHIE (Ralph/Ensemble) returns to Cleveland Play House having most recently appeared here in the acclaimed 2015 revival of The Crucible. Other CPH: A Christmas Carol, Much Ado About Nothing, Animal Farm, and A Tuna Christmas. Regional: Hairspray, Hello, Dolly! (Porthouse Theatre); THREADS OF COMPASSION The Voices of My Past (solo performance, Liminis Theater). New York: Starmites (original Off-Off-Broadway production); Romeo and Juliet (Gallery Players); Pericles (Theatre for the New City); The Taming of the Shrew (Performing Garage/Shakespeare & Co., founding company member). Mr. Richie is Professor Emeritus at Kent State University, and is also a voice and dialect coach.

MARINA SHAY (Viola de Lesseps) recently appeared in New York as Julie in Miss Julie at the Access Theatre. Regional credits include Estella/Biddy in Great Expectations (Syracuse Stage), Sasha in Ivanov (Trinity Repertory Company), Iphigenia in Iphigenia 2.0 (Cleveland Public Theater), Eleanor in Pulse (The Guthrie), Roxanne in Cyrano De Bergerac (Heartwood Theater), Elma in Bus Stop (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival). Other New York credits include Eurydice in Eurydice and Emily Dickinson: Paranormal Investigator. Independent films include Go On, Lux, Dog, and De Capo.

TINA STAFFORD (Nurse/Queen Elizabeth/Ensemble) is thrilled to be collaborating with this fabulous company. She was last seen in Cleveland with the National Tour of Once, The Musical with whom she toured for 2 & ½ years. She has played leading roles at Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Rep, Paper Mill Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Goodspeed Musicals, La Jolla Playhouse, Denver Center, Westport Country Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Barrington Stage, Geva Theatre Center, Florida Studio Theatre, the Maine, Texas and Utah Shakespeare Festivals, and she’s done many interesting Off-Broadway shows you’ve never heard of. All My Children fans may remember Ms. Stafford as Erica Kane’s gruff but loveable prison guard, Slim. Proud Equity member.

CHARLIE THURSTON (Will Shakespeare) is an actor and playwright who splits his time between NYC and Providence, RI, where he’s been a member of the resident acting company at Trinity Rep since 2013. There he most recently starred as Beowulf, in Dave Malloy’s rock musical Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage. He is also a founding member of The Williams Project in Seattle, WA and has appeared in theatres across the country including Fault Line Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Baltimore Centerstage, Chautauqua Theater Company, Riverside Theatre, and Redmoon Theatre. As a writer, his play, The History Room, was nominated for a Henry Award for best new play for its production at Creede Repertory Theatre in CO. He also appeared in the ABC pilot Broad Squad, and the films Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster, and Life, Itself which comes out in 2018. He holds an MFA from Brown/Trinity Rep.

EVAN ZES (Fennyman/Ensemble) Evan’s New York credits include, Incident at Vichy at The Signature Theatre; Rent Control (writer and performer) at Soho Playhouse; Freedom of the City, Man and Superman, White Woman Street, Around the World in 80 Days at Irish Repertory Theatre; and American Dreams with The Acting Company. His international credits include Julie Taymor’s The King Stagg at the Barbican, London and Dream Play at the Moscow Art Theatre. Select regional credits include The McCarter, The Alley, The Goodman, The Old Globe, NY Stage and Film, Westport Country Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Shakespeare Theatre DC, Pittsburgh Public Theater, St. Louis Repertory Theater, Baltimore Centerstage, and Berkeley Rep. Evan's Film and TV credits include: The Path, The Street and Last Night at Angelo’s, and All My Children. He has an MFA from A.R.T/ Moscow Art Theatre at Harvard University. Upcoming: Murder on the Orient Express at Hartford Stage. Follow Evan’s award winning one-man show at

Shakespeare in Love Creative Team

LAURA KEPLEY (Director) became Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House in 2013 and has directed numerous CPH mainstage productions including The Crucible; Steel Magnolias; The Good Peaches (world premiere); Fairfield (world premiere); How I Learned to Drive (also at Syracuse Stage); The Little Foxes; Venus in Fur; Good People (also at Syracuse Stage); A Carol for Cleveland (world premiere); In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; My Name is Asher Lev and CPH readings of Roe Green Award-winning plays Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976; Marjorie Prime and Daphne’s Dive. She joined CPH in 2010, having arrived from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island where she was Resident Director and Artistic Associate for four seasons and Interim Director of the Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Directing Program for one. She has also directed for The Alliance Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Contemporary American Theatre Festival, among others. A native Ohioan, Laura received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her Master of Fine Arts from Brown University/Trinity Rep. She is a Drama League Fellow and a recipient of the 2009-2011 National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors.

The Design Team for Shakespeare in Love includes: LEX LIANG (Scenic & Costume Designer), FRANK OLIVA (Assistant Scenic & Costume Designer), RUSSELL H. CHAMPA (Lighting Designer), JANE SHAW (Sound Designer/Composer), NATHAN MOTTA (Music Director), THOM JONES (Dialect Coach), DREW FRACHER (Fight Choreographer), DAVID SHIMOTAKAHARA (Choreographer). The Stage Manager for this production is JOHN GODBOUT and the Assistant Stage Manager is TOM HUMES.

Ticket Information

Shakespeare in Love will take place in the Allen Theatre from September 9-October 1, 2017. Tickets range in price from $25-$90 each, $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Subscriptions: Subscribers save up to 17%. Full and flexible season packages range from $262 – $440. To purchase subscriptions or get more information, call 216-400-7096 or visit


CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.


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