Eli Simon

Eli Simon

Director, The Tempest

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 29th 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, and As You Like It.

Beth Lopes

Beth Lopes

Director, The Taming of the Shrew

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.  Beth is particularly drawn to ensemble driven pieces with heightened text and a sense of the fantastical.  She is a highly collaborative director who believes in the connective power of theater and its ability to alter our individual and collective futures.  Beth is delighted to return to the Swan with The Taming of the Shrew after having directed previous Swan shows: The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet.

THE FOLLOWING ACTORS  WERE FEATURED IN OUR 2016 SEASON

 

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Stephanie Philo Newman

Gertrude / Rosalind

Stephanie Newman (UC Irvine MFA, ’09) is the Director of Theatre Arts at UCC in Oregon, where she teaches, directs, designs, paints and constructs.  Last summer, she was featured at New Swan as Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing), and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth).   Regional Acting Highlights: (as Stephanie Philo)- Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA)– Sylvia, Sylvia; Masha, The Three Sisters; Lydia Languish, The Rivals; Julia, Two Gentlemen of Verona; Pamela et al, The 39 Steps. CO Springs Fine Arts Center– Catherine, In the Next Room. Chance Theater- Amy, Tape; Meg, Little Women. Transversal Theatre: Elvira, Lumping in Fargo (tour of Poland). SRT- Susan, Woman in Mind; Mrs. Potts, Beauty & the Beast; Mother Superior, Agnes of God. University Highlights: Titus, Titus; Agave, The Bacchae; Yvonne, Sunday in the Park with George; Barbara, Dark of the Moon; Nell, Endgame; Amanda, The Glass Menagerie; Edith Piaf, Fetes de la Nuit; Mistress Overdone, Measure for Measure. Directing: UCC– Bus Stop, Romeo & Juliet, Brownstone (OR premiere), Noises Off, Twelfth Night, The Merry Lives of Windsor High, the Oregon One-Acts.

 

Zak Houston

Zak Houston

Hamlet

Zak Houston has appeared in all of the New Swan’s Shakespearean offerings the last three years, including Don John (Much Ado) Malcolm (Macbeth), Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet), Fabian (Twelfth Night),  Edgar (King Lear), and Lysander (Midsummer). He lives and works as an actor in New York City where he is a regular collaborator with Breathe and Hit the Lights! theatre company.  Recent performances include Odysseus (The Odyssey), Orestes (The Electra Project), Ken Talley (Fifth of July), Henry Clay (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Officer Hanchke (The Visit), and Mr. Elephant (The Radio Plays). Self-produced plays include Jerry (The Zoo Story), Goss (Bug), and Jonathan (Reverberation). Zak received his MFA in Acting from Drama at UCIrvine .

 

Martin Kildare

Martin Kildare

Ghost / Duke Frederick & Duke Senior

MARTIN KILDARE is delighted to join the New Swan. He has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King, A Raisin In The Sun, The Herbal Bed, The Government Inspector, and Timon Of Athens; Off-Broadway in Pride’s Crossing, Candida, Three More Sleepless Nights, Honor And The River, and Labor Day; and has toured nationally with Mamma Mia! Recent credits include My Fair Lady at Musical Theatre West; Mary Poppins and Good People for McCoy/Rigby; and directing Play Desdemona for the Studio at Sage Hill. He has performed regionally with more than 20 leading companies including South Coast Rep, the Mark Taper Forum, Dallas Theater Center, and the Folger Theater. His classical work includes the title roles in Hamlet and Henry V, Iago in Othello, and Hotspur in Henry IV, Part I, among many others during a total of ten seasons with the California, Alabama, and Utah Shakespeare Festivals. Television credits include “Law & Order,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Big Love,” and many others. He received his B.A. from Stanford University, M.F.A. from the American Conservatory Theatre, and has studied at Theatre des Amandiers in Paris, and with Mark Rylance at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

 

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Greg Ungar

Polonius / Adam & Corin

Greg is delighted and grateful to be with the New Swan Shakespeare Festival. For the Festival, he has played Dogberry (Much Ado), Macduff (Macbeth) Friar Laurence (Romeo and Juliet) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (12th Night). Some other productions Greg has had the good fortune to play with include Waiting for Godot (Vladimir), Art (Serge), Oleanna (John), Tally’s Folly (Matt), Merchant of Venice (Gratiano), As You Like It (Touchstone), King Lear (Cornwall), Julius Caesar (Casca), and Guys and Dolls (Arvide). Greg’s directing credits include, Bad Jews, The Seagull, Not I, Rockaby, Circle Mirror Transformation, The Proposal (Greg’s adaptation), Woyzeck, and The Stinky Cheese Man. Greg has done these and other things at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Orange County, Hunger Artist Theatre, UC Irvine, The Comedy Central Space, Improv Olympic, Curious Theatre, and South Coast Repertory. Greg has an MFA and PhD from UC Irvine, and is an assistant professor of theatre at the University of Denver.

 

Adrian Alita

Adrian Alita

Claudius / Jaques

Adrian is a founding company member of New Swan Shakespeare Festival, having played Antonio in the inaugural season production of The Merchant of Venice. Last summer, Adrian was featured as Banquo (Macbeth) and Don Pedro (Much Ado About Nothing).  Adrian is the Head of Acting at San Diego State University. He began his professional performing career as a sea lion trainer at Sea World, California. After appearing in front of 2,500 seat audiences, Adrian decided to pursue a degree in theatre to become a professional actor. As a performer, Adrian has starred in contemporary drama and comedy, farce, stunt shows, Shakespeare, puppet shows for Disneyland, and original clown productions. He has enjoyed successful tours to England, South Africa, Italy, and Romania. Adrian has performed on stage, in front of the camera, and in front of the microphone (his voice can be heard as the narrator of the Disney Read Along CD for the movie Toy Story). His teaching expertise includes all levels of acting, voice, speech, movement, mask and clowning. Adrian holds a BA in Theatre Arts from SDSU, and an MFA in Acting from UC Irvine.

 

Maribel Martinez

Maribel Martinez

Ophelia / Celia

Maribel Martinez is a graduate from UC Irvine’s MFA Acting program. Last summer at New Swan she played Constance (Much Ado) and Witch 1 (Macbeth). Recent credits include Woyeck (Marie); Ghosts (Helen); The Liquid Plane (Dembi); and Boeing, Boeing (Gabriela). Previously she worked at Santa Cruz Shakespeare as Le Beau (As You Like It), Anne Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor),  and Anne Hathaway (The Beard of Avon). Regional New York credits include 167 Tongues and How We Are Connected  at Theatre 167, Superhero Blues at Gallery Players, and Asylum at Access Theatre. She is delighted to return as a company member of New Swan Shakespeare Festival this summer.

 

Grace Morrison

Grace Morrison

Horatio / Phebe

Grace Morrison just completed her MFA at UC Irvine’s MFA Acting program, after having received her Bachelor’s from UC Santa Barbara. Last year, she appeared as Hero (Much Ado) and Witch 2 (Macbeth).  Previous UCI credits include These Shining LivesBoeing Boeing, Metamorphoses, The Electra Project, Doubt, and The Trial of Dedan Kimathi. She is also a proud member of the UCI Improv Comedy team Live Nude People With Clothes On.

 

Kelsey Jenison

Kelsey Jenison

Kelsey Jenison (formerly Miller) played Margaret/Watch (Much Ado) and Witch 3 (Macbeth) last summer at New Swan Shakespeare Festival. Recent credits include Marvin’s Room, Woyeck, These Shining Lives, Two Gentleman of Verona, The Odyssey, and The Electra Project. Kelsey just completed her second year in UC Irvine’s MFA Acting program; and received her BFA at University of Evansville. She is thrilled to
be returning as a company member of New Swan Shakespeare Festival.

 

Sam Arnold

Sam Arnold

Sam Arnold is thrilled to be making his New Swan Shakespeare Festival debut! He is a soon-to-be third year here at UC Irvine’s MFA Acting Program. This past year you may have seen him at Russ/Dan in Clybourne Park or Cervantes/Quixote in Man of La Mancha. Other roles include Billis in South Pacific, Robert in Boeing Boeing, Lee in True West, and other work with the regional theatre companies at SRT and B Street Theatre. He hails all the way from Clearwater, FL and completed his undergrad degree, a BFA in Acting, at Florida State University.

 

Nick Manfredi

Nick Manfredi

Nick Manfredi is ecstatic to join New Swan Shakespeare Festival’s ensemble for the first time this summer. Nick received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University, and is an MFA in Acting candidate at UCI where he’s played Doctor Stockmann (An Enemy of the People), the Innkeeper/Governor (Man of La Mancha) and Bernard (Boeing, Boeing). He appeared in Counter-Balance Theatre Company’s The Odyssey and in a number of independent projects. He is a proud member of the UCI improv team, Live Nude People* with Clothes On.

 

Thomas Varga

Thomas Varga

Thomas Varga is a current graduate student of UC Irvine’s MFA Acting program, and this is his first summer working with the Swan! Recent credits include An Enemy of the People (Morten Kiil), Woyzeck (Andres), Ghosts (Oswald), Miss Julie (Jean), Macbeth (Banquo/Macduff), Spike Heels (Andrew), and The Liquid Plain (Balthazar) at UC Irvine. He has also performed with: Counter-Balance Theater: Longitude, Elsewhere; Summer Rep Theatre: Tartuffe, South South Pacific, Peter and the Starcatcher; and Oregon Contemporary Theatre: Fahrenheit 451. He received his B.A. in Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon. He looks forward to a great summer!

 

Amy Bolton

Amy Bolton

Amy Bolton studied acting at Pacific Conservatory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the University of La Verne and is a Certified teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. She is currently a 3rd year graduate student at UC Irvine and she’s delighted to be making her New Swan debut! Amy has been on stage in Irvine at The Barclay Theatre as Aldonza (Man of La Mancha), Circe and Penelope (The Odyssey) with the Counter-Balance Theatre Company and Margret (Woyzeck). Amy has also performed at PCPA Theaterfest as Annie (The Real Thing) and Angelique (The Imaginary Invalid). Other roles include Mary Beth (Happy Days the Musical) Tibbie’s Center Stage, Rizzo (Grease) Inland Theatre Company, Gladys McGlone (The Unsinkable Molly Brown) Performance Riverside, and Bessie Mae (South Pacific) with Glendale Centre Theatre. Other companies include the Grove, Artist Repertory Theater, Zombie Joe’s, the Long Beach Playhouse, and the Chance Theater.

 

John Carroll

Kelvin Rhodes II

Kelvin M. Rhodes II is entering his last year in the MFA Acting Program at California State University Fullerton where has been seen as Brandon in Next Fall; Mr. Stephens and Reverend Bliss in Carrie: The Musical; The Undertaker and Mr. Rosebed in an adaptation of A Christmas Carol; The Duke in The Comedy of Error; and most recently as Sir Hugh Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor. This is his first summer working at New Swan Shakespeare Festival, and participating in this season will bring his number of Shakespeare plays to four in the last two years. He is truly grateful to be a part of this experience. “I would like to thank God for this chance. Thanks too to Eli and Beth for giving me this opportunity.”

 

John Carroll

John Carroll

John Carroll is an actor, singer, musician, and student currently studying Voice Performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. John is a longtime fan of the New Swan Shakespeare Festival, and is thrilled to be participating in the Festival for the first time. Recent theater performances include Tobias Micha in BCCM’s production of The Bartered Bride and Moonkeeper/Matt in BCCM Opera Masterpieces.