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Our theatres are located at
1407 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Box Office (216) 241 6000

Subscriber Services (216) 400 7096

November 6 - 16, 2019 , The Helen

CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program

The Merchant of Venice

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sara Holdren

Run time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission

The deal was struck. The loan terms signed. Default comes with a lethal price, and now Antonio can’t pay up. Will mercy or retribution win out? The Merchant of Venice is a potent mix of suspense, romance, and courtroom drama rife with moral complexities. Join the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program’s Class of 2020 as they take on Shakespeare’s most provocative tale of money, privilege, and prejudice.

Photos & Videos Download Hi Res Photos

Foreground: Gregory James (Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble). Background: Kasey Connolly (Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble), and Courtney Stennett (Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Kasey Connolly as Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

From left to right: Alex Brightwell (Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble), Gregory James (Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble), and Elisabeth Yancey (Shylock/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

From left to right: Courtney Stennett (Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble), and Kasey Connolly (Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Comfort Dolo as Jessica/Solanio/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Foreground: Elisabeth Yancey (Shylock/Ensemble). Background: Alex Brightwell (Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble), and Gregory James (Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Foreground: Abdul Seidu (Gratiano/Prince of Morrocco/Ensemble). Background: Courtney Stennett (Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble) and Kasey Connolly (Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Gregory James as Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Foreground: Elisabeth Yancey (Shylock/Ensemble). Background: Alex Brightwell (Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble), Gregory James (Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Conor Canning as Lorenzo/Duke of Venice/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Kasey Connolly as Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Elisabeth Yancey as Shylock/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Foreground: Comfort Dolo (Jessica/Solanio/Ensemble). Background: Conor Canning (Lorenzo/Duke of Venice/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Foreground: Conor Canning (Lorenzo/Duke of Venice/Ensemble). Background: Comfort Dolo (Jessica/Solanio/Ensemble) and Courtney Stennett (Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

From left to right: Courtney Stennett (Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble) and Comfort Dolo (Jessica/Solanio/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Abdul Seidu as Gratiano/Prince of Morrocco/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

From left to right: Elisabeth Yancey (Shylock/Ensemble) and Alex Brightwell (Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

From left to right: Kasey Connolly (Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble) and Gregory James (Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Foreground: Alex Brightwell (Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble). Background: Gregory James (Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble). Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Courtney Stennett as Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Elisabeth Yancey as Shylock/Ensemble. Photo Credit: Kristin Netzband

Artists

Alex Brightwell

Alex Brightwell

(Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble) is thrilled to be working with these brilliant artists on The Merchant of Venice. He was born in West Virginia and raised in North Carolina. He earned his BFA from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. He was a Conservatory member for the 2018 and more(Antonio/Tubal/Ensemble) is thrilled to be working with these brilliant artists on The Merchant of Venice. He was born in West Virginia and raised in North Carolina. He earned his BFA from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. He was a Conservatory member for the 2018 and 2019 seasons at the Chautauqua Theater Company, where he played Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Alfie in One Man, Two Guvnors; Silvius in As You Like It; and Br’er Rabbit/Ratts in An Octoroon. Cleveland credits include the New Ground Theater Festival reading of Tiny Houses and the CWRU/CPH MFA productions of Hay Fever, The Seagull, and Fifth of July. He has also been seen at Yellow Tree Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, Public Theater of Minnesota, and the Guthrie Theater.

Conor Canning

Conor Canning

(Lorenzo/Duke of Venice/Ensemble) was born and raised in Alford, Massachusetts. He is a 2016 graduate of Georgetown University where he majored in Political Economy and minored in Theater and Performance Studies. During his time in the CWRU/CPH MFA program, Conor has played Simon Bliss in Hay Fever, Medvenko in The more(Lorenzo/Duke of Venice/Ensemble) was born and raised in Alford, Massachusetts. He is a 2016 graduate of Georgetown University where he majored in Political Economy and minored in Theater and Performance Studies. During his time in the CWRU/CPH MFA program, Conor has played Simon Bliss in Hay Fever, Medvenko in The Seagull, and Jed Jenkins in Fifth of July. Other notable credits include playing Joe Cooper in Killer Joe, Stacey Kinsella in The Metal Children, and Angelo in Measure for Measure. Conor would like to thank his family for all their love and support as well as all members of the CWRU/CPH community who have offered their guidance, wisdom, and encouragement over the last three years.

Kasey Connolly

Kasey Connolly

(Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble) came to the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program from New York City where she attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. While there, she focused primarily on classical texts and performed in Hamlet; Mother Courage; and an all-female, democratically directed production of Julius Caesar. Cleveland credits include more(Portia/Launcelot Gobbo/Ensemble) came to the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program from New York City where she attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. While there, she focused primarily on classical texts and performed in Hamlet; Mother Courage; and an all-female, democratically directed production of Julius Caesar. Cleveland credits include understudy for Maggie Dalton in Into the Breeches! and the New Ground Theatre Festival readings of Christina, Tiny Houses, and Cicada. Film credits include the upcoming independent shorts Apprehending Edmund Montrell and A Way Home. kaseyconnolly.com

Comfort Dolo

Comfort Dolo

(Jessica/Solanio/Ensemble) can't believe she's nearing the end of her CWRU/CPH adventure! She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and raised in friendly Fridley, Minnesota. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN with double majors in Honors Theatre and Communication Studies. Favorite credits include: To Kill a Mockingbird (The more(Jessica/Solanio/Ensemble) can't believe she's nearing the end of her CWRU/CPH adventure! She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and raised in friendly Fridley, Minnesota. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN with double majors in Honors Theatre and Communication Studies. Favorite credits include: To Kill a Mockingbird (The Guthrie Theater), TOUCH, a remake of the 1984 Emmy Award winning film (Illusion Theater), and various commercials ranging from the Minnesota State Lottery to hand modeling for KeyBank. She recently made her Cleveland Play House debut in Into the Breeches! (Ida Green) while also understudying the role of Jasmine in Pipeline. CWRU/CPH Credits include: Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever, Sorin in The Seagull, and Shirley in Fifth of July. Naomi in Sugar (Phoenix Theater), Carlos Sirah’s The Utterances (The Playwright’s Center). She is a big fan of theatre for social justice, the German language, and gummy bears!

Gregory James

Gregory James

(Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble) s a Buffalo, NY native who received his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from SUNY at Buffalo. Upon graduating he spent six years working in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Cleveland sketch comedy duo Flamingo City and is a sketch writing student of Michael Busch. more(Bassanio/Prince of Arragon/Ensemble) s a Buffalo, NY native who received his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from SUNY at Buffalo. Upon graduating he spent six years working in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Cleveland sketch comedy duo Flamingo City and is a sketch writing student of Michael Busch. Stage credits include Lucio in Measure for Measure, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and Brooke in Little Women (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), David in Hay Fever, Trigorin in The Seagull, John in Fifth of July, and Billy in Cicada (CPH). LA theatre credits include Summer and Smoke, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Lend Me a Tenor with the Actors Co-Op Theatre Hollywood, and Some Girl(s) with the LA Fringe. Gregory was a founding member of the Whitefire Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Film credits include Jilted for Glamour Magazine, Slow Clap Comedy, and the Actors Co-Op Series, The Fur is Gone. GregoryJamesActing.com @GregoryJamesActing

Abdul Seidu

Abdul Seidu

(Gratiano/Prince of Morocco/Ensemble) is electrified to act in the last full ensemble production of the class of 2020. Abdul graduated summa cum laude from Kent State with a BA in Theatre Arts. He has recently been seen in the CRSHD world premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival and the more(Gratiano/Prince of Morocco/Ensemble) is electrified to act in the last full ensemble production of the class of 2020. Abdul graduated summa cum laude from Kent State with a BA in Theatre Arts. He has recently been seen in the CRSHD world premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival and the CWRU/CPH MFA productions of Hay Fever, The Seagull, and Fifth of July.

Courtney Stennett

Courtney Stennett

(Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble) is a native of Eagle, Idaho. She graduated with her BFA in Performance from Baylor University. Prior to making the move to Cleveland, Courtney enjoyed living and performing in Chicago. She most recently appeared onstage at Cleveland Play House in Into the Breeches! She spent the summer at more(Nerissa/Salarino/Ensemble) is a native of Eagle, Idaho. She graduated with her BFA in Performance from Baylor University. Prior to making the move to Cleveland, Courtney enjoyed living and performing in Chicago. She most recently appeared onstage at Cleveland Play House in Into the Breeches! She spent the summer at Chautauqua Theatre Company in One Man, Two Guvnors; A Midsummer Night's Dream; and in the New Play Workshop production of Agent 355. She has been seen in the CWRU/CPH productions of Hay Fever as Judith Bliss, The Seagull as Masha, and Fifth of July as Sally Friedman. Summer of 2018 she appeared internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Call of the Void. Additional recent professional credits include Agnes of God (Aleatoric Theatre), A Little Princess (Windy City Music Theatre), and Seminar (Spartan Theatre Company). Courtney is delighted and humbled to be working toward her MFA in the CWRU/CPH Acting program and thrilled to be part of this ensemble!

Elisabeth Yancey

Elisabeth Yancey

(Shylock/Ensemble) most recently made her Cleveland Play House debut as Grace Richards in Into the Breeches! Other credits with CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program include Hay Fever, The Seagull, and Fifth of July. Internationally, Elisabeth performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the world premiere of Call of the Void. Other more(Shylock/Ensemble) most recently made her Cleveland Play House debut as Grace Richards in Into the Breeches! Other credits with CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program include Hay Fever, The Seagull, and Fifth of July. Internationally, Elisabeth performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the world premiere of Call of the Void. Other favorite credits include CPH’s New Ground Theatre Festival in Cicada and Christina, and the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival in Romeo and Juliet and Little Women, as well as work with Wellesley Repertory Theatre. Elisabeth holds a BA in Theatre Studies from Wellesley College, a certificate of classical acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and a certificate of literature from Cambridge University. She is incredibly grateful to join this ensemble in bringing another story to life! Instagram: @elisabethyancey

Sara Holdren

(Director) is a director, teacher, and writer about theater, as well as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford and the Artistic Director/co-founder of the Brooklyn-based theater company Tiltyard. She is the recipient of the 2016-17 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and from 2017 to 2019 she more(Director) is a director, teacher, and writer about theater, as well as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford and the Artistic Director/co-founder of the Brooklyn-based theater company Tiltyard. She is the recipient of the 2016-17 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and from 2017 to 2019 she served as the theater critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com. Recent projects include The Winter’s Tale with Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford; Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors with Two River Theater's A Little Shakespeare program; MIDSUMMER (a new play which she co-adapted from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the works of Shakespeare) with Tiltyard; and The Diary of One Who Vanished with Cantata Profana. In 2015 Sara served as the Artistic Director of the Yale Summer Cabaret, where she directed the original production of MIDSUMMER and Sarah Ruhl's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. She is a Drama League Fellow and a graduate of the Acting Shakespeare program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has taught at Primary Stages and the graduate acting program at the New School in New York City. She holds a BA in Theater from Yale University and an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama.

Tamara L. Honesty

(Scenic Designer) is delighted to work with Cleveland Play House and Case Western Reserve University for the first time! She has designed ten shows for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Touring Company. Her New York credits include Ghosts (Oberon Theatre Ensemble, Off-Off Broadway). Regionally, Tammy has designed repeatedly at the more(Scenic Designer) is delighted to work with Cleveland Play House and Case Western Reserve University for the first time! She has designed ten shows for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Touring Company. Her New York credits include Ghosts (Oberon Theatre Ensemble, Off-Off Broadway). Regionally, Tammy has designed repeatedly at the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton, OH. Recently, designing the world premiere of Family Ties. Her regional design work has earned a Cincinnati Acclaim Award, USITT OVS Board’s Choice Award, Peggy Ezekiel Awards of Outstanding Achievement, and was showcased in the World Stage Design 2013. Recently, the book she co-authored, The Fake Food Cookbook, was published. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Kent State University. She is a proud member of USA 829 and USITT. Tammy is the USITT Vice President for Education & Training. Check out her website at edwardlaynedesigns.com

Angelina Herin

(Costume Designer) designs costumes, wigs, and makeup for professional companies and education programs. Since 2011, she has been the Resident Costume Designer and an Associate Professor of Theater at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She is pleased to have her work presented at many venues, including Cleveland Play more(Costume Designer) designs costumes, wigs, and makeup for professional companies and education programs. Since 2011, she has been the Resident Costume Designer and an Associate Professor of Theater at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She is pleased to have her work presented at many venues, including Cleveland Play House, the Seattle Opera, Cleveland Public Theatre, American Folklore Theatre, Montana Repertory Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Theater at Monmouth. In addition, Angelina has had the opportunity to work with several television/production companies as a makeup artist and stylist. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater (Costume Design) at the University of South Carolina. She is a proud member of USITT, StateraArts, and an alumna of Alpha Xi Delta women's fraternity. Angelinaherin.com

Benjamin Gantose

(Lighting Designer) is a lighting, scenery, and installation designer and a Cleveland native. He is Resident Lighting Designer at Cleveland Public Theatre where recent designs have included Gloria, Fire on the Water, and Red Ash Mosaic. Other Cleveland design work includes Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, Beck Center for the Arts, Talespinner more(Lighting Designer) is a lighting, scenery, and installation designer and a Cleveland native. He is Resident Lighting Designer at Cleveland Public Theatre where recent designs have included Gloria, Fire on the Water, and Red Ash Mosaic. Other Cleveland design work includes Maelstrom Collaborative Arts, Beck Center for the Arts, Talespinner Children’s Theater, Mamai Theatre Company, Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, Inlet Dance Theatre, and Verb Ballets. He is Resident Lighting Designer at Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Associate Design work includes lighting and scenic designs at Cincinnati Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Cedar Fair Amusement Parks, Cain Park, and Lakeland Civic Theatre.

James C. Swonger

(Sound Designer) has designed sound for previous Cleveland Play House productions including: The Good Peaches (world premiere), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Breath and Imagination, Venus in Fur, Good People, The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, The Game’s Afoot (world premiere), Bill W. and more(Sound Designer) has designed sound for previous Cleveland Play House productions including: The Good Peaches (world premiere), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Breath and Imagination, Venus in Fur, Good People, The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, The Game’s Afoot (world premiere), Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Heaven’s My Destination (world premiere), Crime and Punishment, Noises Off!, Gee’s Bend, The Chosen, and I Am My Own Wife. CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program credits include: Fifth of July, The Philadelphia Story, The Three Sisters, and An Orchard. Additional credits include Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, Centerstage Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, and premiere productions of why i had to dance by Ntozake Shange, The Tragic Demise of the Whaleship Essex by Timothy J. Ray, and Swinging on a Star: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Burke by Michael Leeds.

Kevin Inouye

(Fight Choreographer) is a Certified Teacher and Theatrical Firearms Instructor with the Society of American Fight Director, a SAG-AFTRA stunt performer, and has choreographed theatrical violence for over 100 productions, including this Fall's Into the Breeches! at Cleveland Play House. He joined Case Western Reserve University and the CWRU/CPH MFA more(Fight Choreographer) is a Certified Teacher and Theatrical Firearms Instructor with the Society of American Fight Director, a SAG-AFTRA stunt performer, and has choreographed theatrical violence for over 100 productions, including this Fall's Into the Breeches! at Cleveland Play House. He joined Case Western Reserve University and the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program in Fall 2018 as Assistant Professor of Movement, Acting, & Stage Combat. He is a published author, actor, director, theatrical armorer, and teaches workshops regularly around the country.

Beth McGee

(Vocal Coach) is a co-founder of Shadow of the Run productions and the playwright of WanderLust, Cleveland’s first fully immersive theater experience, produced in July, 2019. She was the on-set dialect coach for Cinemax’s 2016 television series Quarry, directed by Greg Yaitanes. She has been the vocal coach more(Vocal Coach) is a co-founder of Shadow of the Run productions and the playwright of WanderLust, Cleveland’s first fully immersive theater experience, produced in July, 2019. She was the on-set dialect coach for Cinemax’s 2016 television series Quarry, directed by Greg Yaitanes. She has been the vocal coach for CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program recent productions of The Seagull, Fifth of July, Macbeth, Claybourne Park, She Stoops to Conquer, The Philadelphia Story, The Misanthrope, and An Orchard. Additional CPH main stage voice coaching credits include A Christmas Story, The Grapes of Wrath, A Kiss for Cinderella, The Imaginary Invalid, The African Company Presents Richard III, Lady from the Sea, Antigone, and Dracula. She dialect coached the 2002 film Welcome to Collinwood directed by the Russo Brothers and starring George Clooney. She has coached and/or acted in productions at numerous Cleveland area theaters. She is a Professor of Voice and Acting at CWRU. Devotees of folk music can find her 1980 Folkways album Love is Teasing housed in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution. McGee is an active member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Leigh Tennant

(Stage Manager) is a Cleveland native theatre professional. Her recent productions include Firefish Festival 2019, the World Premiere of Rastus and Hattie and Central Concern at Cleveland Public Theater, and the Regional Premiere of The Nether at Dobama Theater. A recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, Leigh spent her undergraduate more(Stage Manager) is a Cleveland native theatre professional. Her recent productions include Firefish Festival 2019, the World Premiere of Rastus and Hattie and Central Concern at Cleveland Public Theater, and the Regional Premiere of The Nether at Dobama Theater. A recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, Leigh spent her undergraduate years working locally as Production Stage Manager on Shrek the Musical and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Beck Center for the Arts.

The Cleveland Play House Apprenticeship Program

The Cleveland Play House Apprenticeship Program

Each August since 2012, Cleveland Play House has received an impactful gift from a special group of donors: 12 bright and energetic eager-to-learn app...

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