Huzzah! Now you can listen to all three parts of the fantastic Shakespeare@ audio play production of Shakespeare’s Richard II on their website ENTIRELY FREE!
Artistic Director Sean Hagerty came up with the great idea of bringing back fully-produced radio plays in response to the shutdown of theatres due to COVID-19. It’s a terrific artistic response to a troubling time–and it’s a fantastic production.
All three parts are now available for you to download or stream at your leisure, my lords and ladies! Enjoy, and let me know what you think. I am thrilled and honored to be part of this wonderful international cast.
As you may (or may not) know, I’m on the faculty of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Western Colorado University, where I serve as Performance Coach to all the writers.
The fledgling Publishing Masters Program at WCU, led by the amazing NY Times best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson, has just released a wonderfully entertaining anthology of 23 tantalizing tales: Monsters, Movies & Mayhem entirely put together by the grad students–and it’s a real winner. There are stories by award-winning authors, and stories that came from students in the creative writing program! Some of the stories are funny, some are scary–and some are both. All relate in some way to our love of movies.
As a little promotional surprise to the students, Kevin asked me to create a video reading of a terrific short story from the anthology by award-winning author and screenwriter David Gerrold. David has written over 50 novels, many short stories, and penned episodes for classic TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Land of the Lost, and Babylon 5. He also wrote my favorite classic Star Trek episode: “The Trouble With Tribbles!”
I encourage you to pick up a copy of this wonderful anthology for yourself, or as a gift for that monster-loving friend or family member. You can find it at WordFirePress.Com or wherever fine scary books are sold. All proceeds benefit the WCU Publishing MA Program’s future publications!
As as taste of the book’s contents, here is my reading of David Gerrold’s “Michael Thinks The House is Haunted.”
I’m excited to share that Episode 2 of Shakespeare@’s radio play production of Richard II is available now on their website for FREE! Episode 1 is still available as well, and Episode 3 should be released shortly. Please see my prior post for more details. This is the inaugural production of their “Shakespeare@ Home” series and it’s a winner. It’s also an extremely timely tale, about a despotic rule and a country torn apart by divided loyalties. This was a terrific project to work on, with a wonderful international cast. Artistic Director, Adaptor, and Director Sean Hagerty hit a home run with this one.
In 2019, I was honored to play Polonius in Shakespeare@’s hit inaugural production of Hamlet. I was scheduled to play Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet for them this Spring, but COVID-19 forced the theatre to cancel both of its planned stage productions for 2020.
Undeterred by that setback, resourceful and inspired Artistic Director Sean Hagerty and his Associate Producer Sydney Steele came up with a wonderfully entertaining way to keep creating Shakespeare productions and sharing them with audiences even while theatres remain closed: radio plays!
Sean brought together a host of great talent from a number of countries, including a number of Hamlet cast members, to create a Zoom-based audio production of Richard II, starring Jamie Ballard as Richard and Derek Wilson as Henry Bolingbroke. I was thrilled he asked me to take on the role of Edmund, Duke of York. Like Polonius, he’s a faithful court advisor who has trouble with his children! And in fact, Aria Shaghasemi, who played my son Laertes in Hamlet, is playing my son Aumerle in this radio play. To make it even better (if that’s possible), the fabulous Ashlie Atkinson played my wife, the Duchess of York. We’re a wonderfully dysfunctional family! This was a terrific cast of genuinely sweet people and we had a terrifically fun week together online. The two hours we all spent creating sound effects together was a highlight!
Sean did an amazing job adapting and directing this project. This man knows his Shakespeare. The production has sound design by the fabulous Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of the Emmy-winning Sonic Designs, and wonderful music by Joan Melton, who is also the company’s indispensable dialect and speech coach. Listening to it, with all the great sound effects, you’d never know the cast was spread out over a about sixteen Zoom windows and at least three countries!
Richard II is being released on Shakespeare@’s website for FREE. How cool is that??Episode One is available now. You can click here to listen to it on their website. The episode is just under an hour and I have to say it sounds wonderful. I hope you’ll give all three parts a listen as they come out–and let me know what you think!
A month ago, despite all my precautions, my doctor told me I had contracted covid-19. I will admit my husband Tim and I were both pretty scared, but my doctor said I was in great shape otherwise, so it would probably not get too bad. Happily, he was right. I had mild flu symptoms for 3 days and self-quarantined for a full week to protect Tim. My doctor said I likely got it from someone not wearing a mask. So Colin and I created and shared a video about the importance of continuing to wear masks in public settings now that the world is starting to open up again. And we also shared some fun bloopers.
You can watch the video and bloopers here on my Instagram account. Enjoy!
Protect yourself, and protect others, too. And if you can donate to @shieldsforheroes please do! This is not over yet, no matter how much we all want it to be. Be safe and stay well. ❤️😷
In this time of pandemic and social distancing, there are still times you have to go out for supplies and food. My buddy Colin wants to share a simple recipe for making your own hand sanitizer if the stores are sold out:
1 Part Aloe Vera Gel to
2 parts (or more) Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
A few drops of fragrance, as desired
Blend your ingredients together in a bowl and put the resulting mix in little travel bottles you can have with you at all times.
Keep in mind that isopropyl alcohol should make up 60% or more of your mix. And you should let your mix sit for 72 hours before using it.
Well, it was inevitable given the pandemic. But today I’ve had the official news that we must delay the upcoming Shakespeare@ production of Romeo and Juliet. We were set to begin rehearsals April 6th. I had a fantastic experience playing Polonius in Hamlet for the young company’s inaugural production last year, and was thrilled when Artistic Director Sean Hagerty invited me to play Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet this season.
We have a fantastic cast put together, including a number of familiar and fabulous faces from our production of Hamlet. Right now we are hoping that the pandemic will peak and pass over the next two months, so that we can rehearse in May and perform for you all in June.
Sean has created a wonderful new version of the play by culling the best from the various original versions, and it truly deserves to be seen. Keep your fingers crossed. Even if we have to postpone until next Spring, we’ll still work to make that happen. As Hamlet famously said “If it be not now, yet it will come.”
I’ve been slow to post on this topic, as it means acknowledging that dear @petersaide is really gone at the age of 36. The world lost him suddenly a few weeks ago from complications after a surgery, and we are all poorer for it. But anyone lucky enough to know and work with him will be forever richer for time spent with a man who was equal parts hilarious, serious, goofy, sincere, naughty, and unbelievably nice. Not to mention hard-working and insanely talented. A great listener who loved a good debate. A candid, soul-searchingly alive human. Ready for deep, meaningful talks or rampant silliness at any hour.
Peter and I met doing The Mystery of Edwin Drood two years ago at Riverside Theatre. As Fate would have it, we were not only castmates, but also suite mates, sharing both a condo and a car for the entire project. As a roommate, performer, and person, there was no one better. Insanely kind and generous, considerate and caring. Like anyone, Peter had been through his dark times–but he was able to speak about them candidly and learn from them. We became fast friends, and were both so delighted to be able to work on readings of Whisper Darkly–a musical in development in NYC over the past two years since our show closed. It gave us chances to hang out and be goofy together again. Peter saw the world with eyes wide open yet despite the challenges always chose openness and joy. He brought out the best in me and in all lucky enough to share his path for a while. My heart goes out to his partner @skputlak, roommate @matthewsolomo, his family in Australia, his faithful sidekick Gunnar the wonder dog, and all who knew him.
I was so glad to meet his parents and sisters (every bit as wonderful as I would have expected from knowing Peter), as well as more of Peter’s legion of loving friends, during a recent private remembrance. There will be a public remembrance down the road, because Peter was loved by all who met him (check out the outpouring of love and grief on Facebook and Instagram), and we all need to share our stories about this wonderful human being.
May we all be reunited someday in a hit show that never closes, my friend. I love you. ❤️
Well, the enforced social distancing of our current pandemic is giving me some time to catch up on posts! I recently had great fun auditioning for a cameo appearance in a big streaming miniseries. My character only makes a fleeting appearance but it’s a vivid one, so for the audition I bought an ascot and matching pocket square. This little wardrobe enhancement helped me feel the part as well as look it–and I booked it! I met so many great folks at the table read for our episode–including the very talented Scott Thomas, and the sublime Ms. Karen Mason! More on this project when I’m allowed to talk about it. Since the pandemic has forced all productions to shut down, we’ll all have to wait and see about the timeline for completion.
It’s been a busy couple of months: I was cast as Phillip Bax/Bazzard in a holiday production of the chamber version of the fabulous show-within-a-show multiple-ending musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, at my beloved Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, FL. Director/Choreographer Jennifer Werner was simply amazing, as were all the designers and the entire cast and crew. It was one of the loveliest experiences of my career–and that’s saying a lot!
In the chamber version, the 11 performers all visit with the audience during a pre-show segment, in the guise of our Music Hall characters. Jen asked each of us to use one of our special skills–in my case, she wanted my character of Phillip Bax to be a ventriloquist! I suggested we should expand on that idea, and make both Phillip Bax and Bazzard ventriloquists, meaning if I got chosen as Detective, Murderer, or Lover, it would be both me and my dummy singing! Jen loved the idea, and we wove my new dummy, Colin, into the whole production. Colin and I also thanked patrons in the lobby after the show; we had so many remarkable conversations! (And women flirted with Colin every single night; I didn’t see that coming!) This was the first time a ventriloquist and his dummy have played these roles, so that’s another first for me this year after becoming The Ventriloquist in the final season of Gotham.
The musical’s creator, Rupert Holmes, came to see our production. He said wonderfully generous things to the entire company, and also to me personally. He remembered the first time I played Bax/Bazzard, which was the first post-Broadway production almost 30 years ago! And he was aware I had also done the role at Riverside Theatre two years ago. He said he hoped I would play the role(s) a fourth time soon–and that if I played it as a ventriloquist again, to let him know so he could add some lines for Colin! It was a very special evening in the midst of an already special run.
Here’s a montage from the show, a promo clip, and a few images. I hope they convey in some small way what a treat this was for audience and performers alike! I’m so grateful to Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato, Jen Werner, and all involved for including me on this joyous ride.