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Shakespeare meets the 'Big Easy' in UT Arlington production

Monday, February 11, 2008

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

The University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Theatre Arts is presenting a creative production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” set in the post-Katrina New Orleans’ French Quarter. Natalie Gaupp, visiting assistant professor and academic advisor for the Department of Theatre Arts will direct the innovative staging, as Shakespeare meets the “Big Easy” and Conjure-man Prospero seeks to exact revenge on his backstabbing brother with the aid of the supernatural. The spirit of the Vieux Carré works its own magic, as political intrigue, romance and redemption are explored in this timeless tale.

The cast will feature the following theatre arts student performers, in order of appearance: O.T. Allen as Master of Ship/Ensemble/Understudy for Ferdinand, Stephen Howell as Boatswain/Ensemble/Understudy for Prospero, Joshua D. Smith as Alonso, Morgan Justiss as Antonio and George Donaldson as Sebastian. Also, Porter Gandy as Gonzalo, Jackie Pickard as Adrian, Malik Ali as Francisco, Timothy Paul Brown as Prospero, Melissa Kendall as Ariel, Tonya Free as Miranda, Stephen Eyre as Ferdinand, Joshua Hitt as Caliban, Nicholas Irion as Trinculo and Bradford Hutson as Stephano.

The goddesses will be portrayed by Andrea Lewis as Juno, Skylar Yancy as Ceres and Chennel Ahmed as Iris. Additional members of the ensemble include Genesis Gordon, Jose Alberto Cortez Corralejo (also understudy for Boatswain,) Ericka Hernandez, Angela Horn (also understudy for Miranda), Ashley Shukayr (also understudy for Ceres), and Afton Trotter (also understudy for Ariel).

Director Gaupp, an accomplished clarinetist, will be featured in two pre-recorded clarinet solos, playing “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” and “When the Saints Come Marching In.”

Sets were designed by professor and Department of Theatre Arts chair Kim LaFontaine. Adam Mendelson, theatre specialist, designed lighting and sound and Jason Villarreal, theatre arts major, is costume designer. Megan Zamie, another theatre art major, is properties coordinator.Assistant Professor David Navalinsky is production manager and Michelle Harvey, theatre specialist, is the scenic artist. Kayla Foster, a theatre arts major, is stage manager, assisted by theatre arts majors Taraea Clark and Liz McWithey. Adam Livingston, a theatre arts major, is assistant director.

“The Tempest” will be presented in the UT Arlington Mainstage Theatre, room 174 in the Fine Arts Building, 502 S. Cooper St. Performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 27, 28, 29 and March 1. There will be matinees at 2:30 p.m. on March 1 and 2 at 2:30pm.

Ticket prices are $8 for the general public and $5 for senior citizens, students with ID and UT Arlington faculty and staff. A food drive supporting the Tarrant Area Food Bank and displaced Katrina survivors will be set up to accept donations of canned foods at all performances. General public tickets may be purchased for a donation of three cans of food, and a senior citizen/student/faculty/staff ticket may be purchased for two cans of food. Reservations are highly recommended. Call the Department of Theatre Arts Box Office at (817) 272-2669 for tickets or group rates. Contact Gaupp at or (817) 272-5722 for more information about the production.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.