Eli Simon

Director, The Comedy of Errors

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. 

 Greg Ungar

 Director, Julius Caesar 

Greg is thrilled to be back for his seventh consecutive season at New Swan Shakespeare    Festival, where he has been featured as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, 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.

THE FOLLOWING ACTORS  ARE FEATURED IN OUR 2020 SEASON

Hope Andrejack          (Antony / Emelia, Jailer, Luce, Second Merchant)

Hope Andrejack is thrilled to be joining the New Swan Company for a second season! Last year she made her debut with Swan as Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and Lucetta/Outlaw #1/Host in Two Gentlemen of Verona. Hope has just completed her second year in the MFA program at UCI; prospect for 2021 graduation. During her time here, she has had the honor of playing Penelope in Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, Joanne in Sondheim’s Company the Musical, as well as originating the role of Amari in the show Hold Steady written by Tira Palmquist. Hope would like to send a shout out to her incredibly supportive parents. They are, and always will be her biggest fans. For this she is extremely grateful! Enjoy the show!

Tolu Ekisola          (Portia, Ensemble / Angelo)

Tolu Ekisola is a first year candidate for the MFA program in Acting here at UCI. She will be playing the roles of Portia in Julius Caesar and Angelo the jeweler in Comedy of Errors. This is her first time working with New Swan Shakespeare! “‘In the time of your life – live!’ That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, Loss, Loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.” – Tennessee Williams.

Meg Evans          (Cassius / Courtezan, First Merchant)

Meg is thrilled to return for her third season with New Swan Shakespeare Festival. She was seen last summer as Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice. Other credits include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Rosaline – Love’s Labours Lost, Margaret Cavendish – 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, an MPhil. in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College, Dublin and most recently holds an MFA in Acting from the University of California, Irvine. www.itsmegevans.com | @itsmegevans

Abel Garcia          (Flavius, Ligarius, Ensemble / Dromio of Ephesus)

Abel Garcia is thrilled to be back at New Swan and is blessed to be working with such a talented group of artists. Abel is a second year MFA Acting candidate at UC Irivne. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas where he received his BFA in Theatre Performance from UT El Paso in 2016. In the 2019 New Swan season, he played Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice and Various Roles in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Most recent credits include John Heminges- The Book of Will (UCI), Peter Shaw- Silent Sky (UCI), The Creature- Reading Frankenstein (CounterBalance Theater).

Evan Lugo          (Octavius, Soothsayer / Antipholus of Syracuse)

Evan Lugo is currently in his first year of the MFA Acting program here at UCI. He is originally from Sterling Heights, MI and danced competitively in high school. He has training in hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap, and modern. Before coming to UCI, Evan graduated with his BFA in Acting from Western Michigan University. Most recent theatre credits include John Proctor in The Crucible, Elliot Ortiz in Water by the Spoonful, and Will in Shakespeare in Love. You can follow him on Instagram at @evan_lugo

Gio Munguia          (Marullus, Pindarus, Poet / Dromio of Syracuse)

This is Gio’s third season with New Swan! He is currently going into his second year as an MFA actor at UCI. He was seen at the Swan last year as Valentine in Two Gentlemen of Verona, and as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice. He was first seen at New Swan as Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing. Gio has played Warren in Junie B. Jones at South Coast Repertory, and done couple of original plays at the Wyoming Theatre Festival. He is honored to be working with such and incredibly talented and delightful group of people, and with brilliant directors. He’d like to thank his friends, family, Beth and Eli for all their unconditional support!

Veronica Renner          (Calpurnia, Lepidus, Citizen / Adriana)

Veronica Renner (she/her) is originally from the Bay Area and is pumped to be joining the cast of New Swan for the first time this summer as Adriana in Comedy of Errors and Calpurnia/Ensemble in Julius Caesar. She is a UCI Class of 20′ undergraduate with a B.A. in Drama/Honors in Acting. This summer will be her first time ever performing the bard’s works on stage for an audience! (And hopefully not her last.)  Kudos to her Aunt Rusty & Uncle Steve for giving her a healthy amount of exposure to Shakespeare in her youth, looks like those chilly nights in Berkeley are paying off!

Hunter Ringsmith          (Metellus, Ensemble / Antipholus of Ephesus)

Hunter Ringsmith is overjoyed be spending another summer in the Swan. Previously at the festival he played Proteus in Two Gentlemen of Verona and Gratiano in Merchant of Venice. Other credits include Company and Living Out on the UCI mainstage; 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. A rising third year in UCI’s MFA Acting program, he received his BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University. Love always to mom. www.hunterringsmith.com for more!

Sean Spann          (Brutus)

A St. Louis native, this is Sean’s 6th season with New Swan. Past roles include Oberon and Theseus in separate productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Polixines in The Winter’s Tale, and Antonio in The Merchant of Venice. TV credits include roles in The People vs O.J. Simpson, Shameless, American Woman, Jane the Virgin, and The Mentalist. Film credits include The Little Things (in theatres 10/20/20). Sean is the Head of Voice/Speech at Art of Acting Studio, and teaches Movement, Acting, and Shakespeare at Studio School, Los Angeles. He holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Evansville and an MFA in Acting from UCI.

John Walcutt          (Julius Caesar / Egeon, Balthazar, Dr. Pinch)

John Walcutt is a filmmaker, director, actor, writer, producer, and teacher. He has appeared in nearly 200 film and television shows, from tiny little Indie films like the award-winning Return (Best Actor Houston and Sitges Film Festivals), to Indie films that broke through (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE-SAG AWARD for OUTSTANDING CAST), to Oscar winners like TITANIC and SEABISCUIT. TV roles: HILL STREET BLUES, SLIDERS, JAG, CRIMINAL MINDS, LOST , MAD MEN, and IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. John has played leading roles in most of the West Coast’s  finest theaters, including The Old Globe, The La Jolla Playhouse, The Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Orange County, and South Coast Repertory. He has been named A MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN THE ARTS by THE OC REGISTER, and is the  Director of The Acting Conservatory at The Orange County School of The Arts. He is honored to be a member of The New Swan Shakespeare Festival Company in 2020.

Olivia Wilder          (Lucius, Citizen / Luciana)

Olivia Wilder is a first year acting MFA candidate at UCI and delighted to be a part of the New Swan company for the first time! She was born and raised in Kansas and graduated from Wheaton College in 2016 with a BA in Communication/Theater. Olivia has since moved to Chicago and continued her acting work through Shakespeare and Meisner study as well as mask and clown work at the Pig Iron Theater in Philidelphia. Most recent theater credits include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Grusha in Caucasian Chalk Circle, Marc Antony in Julius Caesar (all at Arena Theater), and Eurydice in Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice with Backyard Chicago.

Fox Worth          (Casca / Duke Solinus, Officer)

From Detroit, Michigan, I attended Western Michigan University where I got my BFA in Acting (2018). Currently, I will be going into my 3rd year of UCI’s MFA Acting program. I am so blessed to be here with this lovely cast and crew. I found a home in New Swan last year and I’m so happy to be back this time around performing my first ever Shakespeare plays. I’m excited to play with you all and feel your supportive energy in the space! Past Credits include: UCI: The Book of Will (Henry), Hoodoo Love (Jib), Hold Steady (Jayden). Famer’s Alley Theatre: The Christians (The Associate/Joshua). Chicago Dramatists: Box Step (Joe). Western Michigan University: Ameriville (Ensemble), Waiting to be Invited (Palmeroy), A Soldier’s Play (CJ Memphis).