Director, The Merchant of Venice
Eli Simon is the Artistic Director of New Swan Shakespeare Festival. A Chancellor’s Professor of Acting in the Department of Drama, this marks Eli’s 30th year at UC Irvine, where he has served as Head of Acting, and Chair of Drama. Eli is the author of three books: The Art of Clowning, Masking Unmasked, and Power Speech. He specializes in Shakespearean productions, clowning, musicals, and original masked performances. Eli has directed over 100 productions at major Shakespearean festivals, regional theatres, and international theaters across the states and overseas. Critically acclaimed productions include his original two-part clown saga – War of the Clowns and Clown Aliens – which is currently being produced by the National Theater of Romania in Cluj. Eli’s original clown troupe, CLOWNZILLA, received rave reviews in California, Korea and Italy. His original commedia productions have enjoyed successful tours to international festivals in England, Spain, Korea, and Italy. For New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Eli has directed The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, As You Like It, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Director, The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Beth Lopes is a founding company member and Associate Artistic Director of New Swan Shakespeare Festival. She received a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MFA in Directing from UC Irvine. Recent projects include The Velveteen Rabbit and Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook with South Coast Repertory and Julius Caesar at UNLV. Beth is delighted to be working on The Two Gentlemen of Verona this season after directing previous Swan shows The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale. Beth is a proud member of SDC. For more information visit Beth’s website at www.bethlopes.com.
THE FOLLOWING ACTORS ARE FEATURED IN OUR 2019 SEASON
Hope Andrejack is thrilled to be a part of the New Swan company this season! Hope is a first year acting graduate candidate at UCI. She moved here from NYC where she received her BA in Acting at Marymount Manhattan College. Some of her past performances at Marymount Manhattan College include Natasha in The Three Sisters, Queen Simonides in Pericles and Lorna in Golden Boy. Hope hopes that everyone enjoys the show! Special shout out to her parents for their constant support!
Meg is thrilled to return to New Swan Shakespeare Festival where she was seen last summer as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Camillo in The Winter’s Tale. Other credits include Rosaline and Dull in Love’s Labours, Margaret Cavendish in Mad Madge with CounterBalance Theatre Company, The Survival Project directed by Mihai Măniuțiu and Andrea Gavriliu, and Cie Willi Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Spaces in Dublin, Ireland. Meg holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and a degree in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College, Dublin. Meg is currently an MFA acting candidate at UC Irvine.
Abel Garcia is thrilled to be making his New Swan debut and is so blessed to be working with such a talented group of artists. Abel is a first year MFA Acting candidate here at UCI. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas where he received his BFA in Theatre Performance from UT El Paso in 2016. After graduating, he moved to Irvine and has been a part of productions around Orange County. Most recent credits include Kris in Hold Steady at UCI, Hamlet in All the Worlds a Grave at STAGEStheatre, Reverend Hale in The Crucible at Attic Community Theater, and Hal in Proof at Newport Theatre Arts Center.
Ryan is jazzed to reunite with Beth, Eli, Gio and Greg at the New Swan where he previously played Petruchio in Shrew, Trinculo in The Tempest and Benedick in Much Ado. Regional credits include work with American Players Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Windy City Playhouse, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, B Street Theatre, New Theatre, Human Race Theatre, Little Theatre on the Square, Know Theatre and Theatre Out. TV/Film: Chicago PD, Wilt. You may also recognize him as ‘The Dude’ from Dude Wipes commercials. Education: MFA at UCI, BFA at WSU. Love to his family and to Christine.
Crystal is thrilled to be back with the New Swan family this summer! She was born in Philadelphia and received her BA in Theatre Arts at Brown University. She’ll be graduating from UCI’s MFA Acting program this coming spring. Last summer at New Swan, she played Hermia in Midsummer, and Dion/Mopsa in Winter’s Tale. She has also played Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, Antigone in AntigoNick, Mary South in The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry, Cassius in Julius Caesar and Mayor in Hype Hero. Outside the Swan, you’ll most likely find her talking about her next meal.
Gio is so pumped to be returning for his second summer at New Swan. He is an incoming MFA actor at UCI, where he also received his BFA in Music Theater. He was first seen at New Swan as Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing, and has also played Warren in Junie B. Jones at South Coast Repertory, and a couple of original plays at the Wyoming Theatre Festival. He also played Che in Evita, and Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success, both at UCI. He is honored to be working with the talented people at New Swan. He’d like to thank his mom, family, and Beth and Eli for all their unconditional support, always!
Hirsch’s Need a Rally Tonight
Rally is excited to be making his acting debut at New Swan. In fact, this is Rally’s very first time on stage, although he likes attention and being with people, especially when they admire his impressive girth and lush fur. Rally can be seen heeling like a good dog on the streets of University Hills, as he proudly strolls with his pack, Posey, and New Swan supporters Mary Gilly and John Graham.
Hunter is so thrilled to be joining New Swan for the first time this summer. A current MFA candidate at UCI, this is his first time performing in beautiful California. Selected credits include Equivocation, Cymbeline, and Henry VI pt 2 at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Merchant of Venice and Fiddler on the Roof at the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre; First Date, Bad Jews, Ghost the Musical, Sherlock Holmes, and Sister Act the Musical at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company; Fiddler of the Roof at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and Macbeth at Great River Shakespeare Festival. He received his BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University. Love always to mom. www.hunterringsmith.com for more!
Rebecca is a Los Angeles based actor, improviser, and musician. She graduated from UC Irvine in 2018 with a BA in Drama, having been awarded Honors in Acting. As a proud feminist and storyteller, she especially loves working on pieces that feature empowered women and that encourage intersectional dialogue. Rebecca is thrilled to be joining the New Swan team for her first season, and she hopes you enjoy the shows!
Maya Smoot is a second year MFA Acting candidate at UC Irvine. As a Bay Area native, Maya graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Theatre Arts and was chosen as the department honoree. Last summer, Maya made her New Swan debut as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Cleomenes in The Winter’s Tale. She was most recently in The Survival Project and Mad Madge at UC Irvine. Maya studied abroad at the British American Drama Academy, and had an apprenticeship with Sonoma Valley Shakespeare Company. Maya is excited to spend another summer in the Swan!
Sean Spann works as an actor, teacher, and director in Los Angeles. This is Sean’s 5th season with the New Swan – past roles include Oberon and Theseus in separate productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kent in King Lear, Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, and Polixines in The Winter’s Tale. Other stage credits include Road to Nirvana and Turn of the Screw at the Harold Clurman Lab Theatre, Circle X Theatre’s world premiere of Bad Apples, and Courage Theatre’s Secret in the Wings. TV credits include co-starring or guest-starring roles in The People vs O.J. Simpson, Shameless, American Woman, Jane the Virgin, The Mentalist, and Southland. Film credits include the award winning feature film Novem. Sean teaches Acting, Movement and Speech at Studio School, Los Angeles. He holds a BFA from the University of Evansville and an MFA in Acting from UCI.
Greg is thrilled to be back for his sixth consecutive season at New Swan Shakespeare Festival, where he has been featured as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prospero in The Tempest, Polonius in Hamlet, Macduff in Macbeth, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, and Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night, among others. Greg has also appeared at South Coast Repertory, The Arvada Center for the Arts, Curious Theatre, Hunger Artists Theatre, Orange County Shakespeare and The Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Greg is an Associate Artistic Director at New Swan, has an MFA and PhD from UCI and is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Denver. Love, gratitude and joy to Courtney, Mom and Dad, and my New Swan Family.