By Christopher Arnott
7:42 AM EDT, April 25, 2013
Hartford Stage knows who’s in its upcoming production of Twelfth Night, directed by the theater’s new artistic director Darko Tresnjak.
Tresnjak clearly has a thing for familiar faces. Not only do the majority of the Twelfth Night actors have previous Hartford Stage credits, two of them—Bruce Turk (who plays Malvolio), Michael Spencer Davis (Toby Belch) were in the last Shakespeare show Tresnjak directed at the theater, The Tempest.
(Next season’s Shakespeare, Macbeth, will further this repertory-company-inspired route by having the show’s cast also perform in a Marivaux comedy running concurrently with Macbeth.)
The rest of the admirably multi-cultural cast for the fanciful island-set romantic comedy of errors Twelfth Night includes Kate MacCluggage (of the Hartford Stage/Long Wharf Theatre co-production of Bell, Book and Candle, not to mention Long Wharf’s rendition of It’s a Wonderful Life) as Viola, Joe Paulik as Sebastian, Che Ayende as Feste, McKinley Belcher III as Antonio, Stacy Yen as Olivia, Lea Coco as Orsino, Jennifer Regan as Maria, Adam Green as Andrew Aguecheeck and Gregor Paslawsky as Fabian/Sea Captain.
Several Hartt School students from the University of Hartford have been enlisted in small roles: Josh Boscarino, Celina Lopez, William Macke, Katie Schenker and Arielle Soloman.
It will be interesting to compare this Twelfth Night to former Hartford Stage artistic director Mark Lamos’ production at Westport Country Playhouse in the autumn of 2011. That one, at a theater much less used to staging Shakespeare, was abundantly musical and was also distinguished by the mountain of sand on its stage.
This Twelfth Night starts previews on May 18, opens to the press May 22, has its opening night May 24, and plays through June 16. Hartford Stage is at 50 Church Street, Hartford; (860) 527-5151, www.hartfordstage.org
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