Part 1: Behind the Scenes of ‘Pride & Prejudice’: Meet Annapolis Shakespeare Company by Terry Bouma

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Introducing the Annapolis Shakespeare Company

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The Annapolis Shakespeare Company is a new, not-for-profit, emerging professional classical theatre company located in Annapolis, Maryland. ASC was founded by Sally Boyett-D’Angelo just over two years ago to engage the community with bold, re-imagined, entertaining and accessible interpretations of Shakespeare and the classics with their own unique esthetic of combining classical text and scholarship with Broadway production values. The Company is committed to promoting the highest level of artistic excellence, to cultivating the widest possible audience and to contributing to the economic and cultural growth of the community, state and region through the professional theatre experience and their pre-professional training program.

From the beginning, the Annapolis Shakespeare Company has been dedicated to pre-professional actor training and developing their own unique esthetic. Now in their 3rd season, the Annapolis Shakespeare Company is an emerging professional theatre company, employing professional actors in the majority of principal roles while continuing to offer emerging professional actors and student interns professional performance opportunities and rigorous classical training.

ASC is attracting professional actors with distinguished credits from reputable
classical theaters across the country due to their dedication to text work, outstanding production values, stellar reputation among other actors, commitment to diversity in casting and reviews of distinction. The Annapolis Shakespeare Company has quickly become a standard bearer for an exceptional theatre experience. This acclaim is summed up in a few of our most recent reviews.

Solveig Moe (Luciana), Rob Schonthaler (Dromio of Ephesus) and Madeleine Stevens (Adriana). Photo by Corey Sentz.
Solveig Moe (Luciana), Rob Schonthaler (Dromio of Ephesus) and Madeleine Stevens (Adriana). Photo by Corey Sentz.

“The quality of this production in all facets is just beyond compare. Acting, stunt choreography, costumes and sets like these belong on Broadway…I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is top quality Shakespeare that could easily be showcased at The Globe without question.” –Amanda Gunther for DC Metro Theatre Arts, August 6, 2012 

“…this hidden gem in Shakespeare’s treasure trove sparkles to brilliant life with a stunning soundscape, glorious costumes, and superb actors.” –Amanda Gunther for DC Metro Theatre Arts, October 19, 2012 

“ASC’s stunning Cymbeline proves why this young troupe is a new standard bearer for excellence in local theatre.” –Jane Elkin for Bay Weekly, October 19, 2012

“Despite its relative youth – it has been in existence for only three years — the Annapolis Shakespeare Company earned my award for best overall production with its innovative and polished summer show, Comedy of Errors. This production ranked high in every aspect, from its splendid cast and direction to its choreography and musical director, costume and set design, and light and sound design. The creative show had the Bard time-traveling to 1890s Paris with a steampunk theme that appealed to younger audience members as well as to seasoned theatergoers.” -Mary Johnson for the Baltimore Sun, January 3, 2013

The success of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company has been built on the professional experience and hard work of its founding Artistic Director and resident creative team: Sally Boyett-D’Angelo (director/choreographer), Nancy Krebs (voice/dialect), Paul E. Hope (fight direction/clown), and Theresa Sweet (musical director/vocal coach).

Last week, the Annapolis Shakespeare Company hit an exciting milestone when they moved into their new facility at 111 Chinquapin Round Road, in Annapolis, MD. This new space houses their offices,costume shop and rehearsal studios for their professional company as well as classroom space for pre-professional theatre training for area youth. ASC’s new “Young Company”, an energetic and inspired group of secondary school students ages 13-18, will begin performing in the studio’s black box space in the fall of 2013 while Annapolis Shakespeare’s fully professional company will continue to perform in residence at the 150-seat Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park where they continue to offer classical theatre with exceptional Broadway production values. With the move into their own dedicated space just one block off West Street in Annapolis, the Annapolis Shakespeare Company becomes the newest professional theatre in the area and the only company in the greater Annapolis area dedicated to producing the works of Shakespeare and other classics.

pridelogoNext up, the Annapolis Shakespeare Company is proud to present Pride and Prejudice, masterfully adapted by Jon Jory (based on the novel by Jane Austen) with original music by Peter Ekstrom. Jory’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, an exceptionally clear, funny and moving version, capturing all of the wit and romance of Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel. He has cleverly crafted a narrative structure where everyone moves the plot forward with description and commentary and has shrunk the novel’s regiment of characters to an ensemble of 14 actors. His version remains true to Austen’s prose, which is why this evening is a treat not only for fans of Austen’s work and a great entree for the uninitiated to discover the world of Mr. Bennet and his five daughters. Austen’s wit has been kept intact and the passions that rule the story spill over. The smart dialogue blended with trenchant social observation, gives Austen’s characters plenty of room to navigate the shoals of class distinction, the subjugate roles of women in a patriarchal society and the perils of overweening pride. Jon Jory’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic tale of romance, Pride and Prejudice, is theatre at its best – a good story well told.

The cast is made up of professional actors from New York and across the Washington metro area and led by Caitlin McWethy as Elizabeth Bennett
(McWethy brings impressive professional credits including principal roles at
Pennsylvania Shakespeare and Georgia Shakepseare Companies) and New York City actor Michael Ryan Neely as Mr. Darcy (Neely’s professional credits include principal roles at Pennsylvania Shakespeare and a stint at Shakespeare’s Globe in London with Rutger’s Conservatory).

The production will run from April 11-27, 2013 at the Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park. Tickets are available by phone at 410-415-3513 or online.

The Annapolis Shakespeare Company will continue to present a variety of classic works including Shakespeare and other time tested classics. While
Shakespeare’s works are the backbone of the company’s classical repertoire, offering a diversified season appeals to the company’s growing audiences. ASC has an exciting upcoming season at the Bowie Playhouse including Much Ado about Nothing, August 2-18, 2013; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, December 6-22, 2013, and The Liar by Pierre Corneille (adapted by David Ives), March 28-April 13, 2014.

In the summer of 2014, audiences can look forward to three weekends of performances of Two Gentlemen of Verona at Susan Campbell Park at the Annapolis City Dock in ASC’s first annual Free Shakespeare in the Park. This will be an unforgettable theater experience, and brand new for Annapolis, where once again ASC will be breaking new ground, making Shakespeare and the classics more accessible to audiences, and further engaging the community by capturing the hearts and minds of new audiences in a whole new setting! This promises to be a compelling season full of excitement and surprises!