Merchant of Venice (in order of appearance)
Bill Sigalis (Antonio) is appearing with the Worcester Shakespeare Company for a second season. Last season he directed the company’s Othello and played Brabantio. Bill toured as Hamm in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame for Foxrock Performance Company of Martha’s Vineyard. As Guest Artist with Clark University’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts, he performed Beaudricort in Shaw’s St. Joan, Dorn in The Seagull, Reverend Buckhorn in Holy Ghosts and Hugh in Translations. For Worcester Forum Theatre, he appeared as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Martin Dysart in Equus, Dr. Prentice in What the Butler Saw, Inspector Truscott in Loot, and King Alonso in The Tempest. Other roles include Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Marc in Art (New England Theater Company); Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, (Westborough Players); Clarence in Richard III (Redfeather Theater Company). His video work includes the solo role in an adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story Mr. Coffee & Mr. Fixit, seen on cable television’s The Learning Channel as part of the anthology series The Independents, hosted by Glenn Close. Bill’s ongoing long-term audiobook project is the voice of Socrates in the Dialogues of Plato, produced by Agora Publications.
Alexander McCoy (Gratiano/Arragon) is joining the Worcester Shakespeare family for the first time this summer, and is grateful for the opportunity to work with so many astounding professionals. He is currently enrolled as a Senior at Clark University, in Worcester, where he is pursuing a degree as a Theater major. His previous college acting credits include Tartuffe (Valere), Melancholy Play (Lorenzo), Tales of the Lost Formicans (Jerry), the musicals Spring Awakening (Georg) and Assassins (Leon Czolgosz), as well as roles in a number of student written and experimental work.
Ariel Zuckerman (Lorenzo/Morocco) is a recent graduate of The Stella Adler Studio of Acting. Previous New York Credits include Edwin Velasquez in Our Lady of 121st Street, Banquo and Seward in Macbeth and Elliot Brown in Apartment 3A. Ariel has also acted throughout the Montreal area with a company exclusively producing interactive Theatre for children with disabilities. This is his first summer with The Worcester Shakespeare Company and he is thrilled to join such a talented and hard-working family.
Joseph Miller (Bassanio) would like to thank both Mel Cobb for giving him this opportunity and his family and business for being flexible with his schedule. Joe is a native to Worcester County and this is his second year with the Worcester Shakespeare Company. In the past, Joe has performed in many stage productions, including the title roles in MacBeth, Dr. Faustus, and Les Fourberies de Scapin, and as Cassio in WSC’s production of Othello. He is currently an advanced Kenpo student.
Stacey Hardke (Portia) Worcester Shakespeare Company: Desdemona in Othello. Other East Coast credits include The Legend of Minni Willet at the National Playwrights Conference, and See, Hear, Taste, Touch with the Modern-Day Griot Theatre Company in NYC. West Coast credits include Hairspray (Penny Pingleton) at the San Diego REP, Time Stands Still and Becky’s New Car at the North Coast Rep, and The New Century at the Diversionary Theatre. In 2010 she was awarded the San Diego REP’s Carol Corolla Fellowship for Emerging Artists. Stacey holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of San Diego, where she was the recipient of the Irving Parker Award for Excellence in Theatre. She received further training from LAMDA, the National Theatre Institute, and the Upright Citizens Brigade improv theater. Stacey currently lives in New York City and is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and an Associate Artist with the Worcester Shakespeare Company.
Sarah Cronk (Nerissa) is very excited to be returning to the Worcester Shakespeare Company for her second season! Sarah is a New York native who graduated from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. Previous WSC credits include Othello (Emilia). Stella Adler credits include Blithe Spirit (Ruth), Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (Georgeanne), Othello (Emilia), Trelawney of the Wells (Mrs. Mossop) and The Three Sisters (Anfisa). Other NYC credits include Two Rooms (Lainie) and Words, Words, Words (Kafka). University credits include Our Town (Mrs. Webb), Antigone (Chorus) and Urinetown (Poor/ Rebel). Sarah also sang with the Senakwami Choir this past winter at the Rose Theatre (Lincoln Center) and will be featured again this fall.
Gillian Griffith (Mariah/Portia Understudy) This is Gillian’s first season with the Worcester Shakespeare Company, and she could not be more delighted. Gillian is a MD/PhD student, and a Millbury resident. This show represents a return to theatre for her after a many-year absence. She is honored to work with such a talented group of people. She’d like to thank the entire cast for their welcoming attitude, eagerness to mentor, and unending support. She’d also like to thank her husband, Mike, for putting almost as much effort into memorizing lines as she did.
Mel Cobb (Shylock) is in his sixth season with the Worcester Shakespeare Festival, as an actor and Producing Artistic Director. He has performed in the title role in the 2009 production of Macbeth and the role of Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. He has had an acting career on both sides of the Atlantic. US Theatre: Shakespeare & Company, Lenox MA (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King John, As You Like It, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, et al.); The American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford CT (Julius Caesar and The Tempest); The New York Shakespeare Festival (Hamlet); Theater Virginia in Richmond VA (Macbeth, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, The Blood Knot); and Broadway/Kennedy Center, Washington DC (Semmelweis and Outrage). UK Theatre: Shakespeare’s Globe (Two Gentlement of Verona); The Rose Playhouse (Boccaccio’s Decameron); and the West End of London (Annie Get Your Gun, Bus Stop, To Kill a Mockingbird), Fringe/Regional theatres (Gypsy, Ordinary People, Lend Me a Tenor, Party to Murder, The Last Sortie, Bronte, Zero Positive). US and UK film and television: The Passion of Darkly Noon, King of the Olympics, Jack and the Beanstalk – The Untold Story, Jerusalem, Superman, Hawaii Five-o and The Edge of Night (Ben Everett). *Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract. **Member of British Actors’ Equity.
David Personne (Launcelot) was born in Paris, France, and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. David is an actor and musician. David started his acting career in Portuguese and French television shows, commercials, and movies, counting almost 10 years of experience. He pursued a theater experience in Toulouse, France, which led him to train at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. As a musician, David has composed and published work for TV, film, and theater. He lives in New York City where he performs and works as an artist. David is thrilled and honoured to work with the Worcester Shakespeare Company.
Bill Taylor (Old Gobbo/Tubal/Judge) has been with the Worcester Shakespeare Company since its founding, in some capacity. With the company, he appeared in Richard III, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet. Outside of the Worcester Shakespeare Company, Bill has been a longstanding figure in the Worcester theater community.
Jennifer Riedell (Jessica) is pleased to be acting again for her fourth season with the Worcester Shakespeare Company. In past seasons, she has appeared as Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, Calphurnia in The Comedy of Errors, and Player/Gertrude Understudy in Hamlet. Outside of Worcester, she has been seen in The Vagina Monologues at 119 Gallery in Lowell and Adventures in Venice with the Common Room Players of London. Directing credits include: The King Stag and Heart’s Desire with the Titan Thespians of Nashua High School North, and Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro, which she also worked as the Dramaturge in a joint venture between the Ithaca College Theatre and History departments. Many thanks to John for all his support, to Ethan for being mostly self-sufficient, and everyone else for helping to keep me going.
Emma Bellel (Messenger/Jessica Understudy) is thrilled to be a member of the Worcester Shakespeare Company for her third season as an actor and costume assistant. She is a very recent Theater Arts graduate from Clark University, where she won the Sarah Bickman Award for Theater. Past credits include: Tartuffe (Madame Pernelle), Footloose (Eleanor), You Can’t Take it With You (Gay Wellington), David & Lisa (Sandra), and Teach Me How to Cry (Melinda). At Clark, she was the president of Clark University Players Society, with which she produced and assistant directed their production of Melancholy Play. She will be making her directing debut this fall for Clark’s New Play Festival.
Edward Eck (Messenger) is a long time fixture on the local community theater scene: acting, directing, writing, and helping backstage and in tech. He has also acted in a dozen or so films under the Sideshow Cinema label. This is his first attempt in legitimate theater, and he is amazed at the dedication, talent, and depth of commitment of the troupe.
Ava Molnar (Messenger/Jessica Understudy) is very pleased to be joining the Worcester Shakespeare Company on stage this year. She is going into her senior year at Clark University where she studies Theatre and English. Her previous acting credits include Spring Awakening (Adult Woman), Footloose (Principal Clark), Twelfth Night (Lady Cassandra) and plenty of other wonderful productions. She has also played several roles backstage including Producer, Costume Designer, Choreographer, Props Master and Director. She is also having an original work produced at Clark’s New Play Festival this coming fall.
Ethan Yuenger (Messenger) is excited to be making his acting debut with the Worcester Shakespeare Company, though he has spent the last three years with the company assisting his mother with the Ducket Bucket, and helping the actors run off extra energy. Ethan will be entering the fourth grade in the fall, and spends his free time at summer camp, imagining new games with his friends, and playing on the computer.
Christopher Gates (Production Stage Manager) This is Chris’ first year with the company. He is a retired First Sergeant, having served for 24 years in the US Army. He has been involved with theater for over 30 years, having been the Technical Director and Lighting Designer for The New England Theater Company, worked as a Carpenter for The Worcester Foothills Theater, the Lighting Designer at Assumption College and Ballet Arts Worcester. He is also the Lighting Designer for Stepping Stone Theater Company at Alternatives. Chris has also worked with Worcester County Light Opera, Part Time Players, and Central Mass Onstage as a Lighting Designer. Chris has directed Romeo and Juliet and Cymbeline for the Audio Journal of Worcester, as well as Twelve Angry Women and Steel Magnolias at Anna Maria College. His roles include Col. Pickering in My Fair Lady, John Proctor in The Crucible, and Martin Doul in The Well of the Saints.
Merchant of Whitinsville (in order of appearance)
Mel Cobb – Shylock Shakespeare
Stacey Hardke – Portia
Sarah Cronk – Jessica
David Personne – Bassiano
Ariel Zuckerman – Understudy
Worcester Shakespeare Festival Production Team
Producing Artistic Director – Mel Cobb
Stage Manager/Lighting Designer – Christopher Gates
Business Manager – Jennifer Riedell
Image Coordinator/Photographic Artist – John Riedell
Master of Stage – Joseph Miller
Costume Design – Lori Rabeler
Costume Construction – Bridge Dick, Malgorzata Malkowska, Emma Bellel, Gillian Griffith, Ava Rose Molnar
Props Masters – Alexander McCoy, Ava Rose Molnar
Dramaturge – Bill Taylor
Assistant Stage Manager (Whitinsville) – Ariel Zuckerman
Associate Producer/Casting Director – Bill Sigalis
Alternatives/Whitin Mill Liaison – Tom Saupe