Fall play '08: Rehearsals begin for "Shakespeare in Hollywood"
Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 6:24pm
A Comedy by Ken Ludwig
FALL PLAY 2008
- Directed by: Barbara Ridenour
- Performances: 7 p.m. Nov. 6,
7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 & 8, North Attic Playhouse
"The cast list is good," said director Barbara Ridenour, who posted her choices on Friday. "It could have been cast in several different ways. That's the hardest thing I always have to do is cast a show, and I always have about nine different cast lists and have people in different slots.
"Then when it comes down to it, I always have to end up breaking a lot of hearts, not casting some people, casting some in small roles, casting some in perfect roles, the roles everybody would want."
"Shakespeare in Hollywood" will be performed Nov. 6, 7, and 8 in the North Attic Playhouse.
The cast comprises 22 actors. Twelve of them currently play named characters, and other smaller roles will be cast from the nine extras as rehearsals progress.
"It's a fun show," Ridenour said. "I have plans for the extras, the ensemble, lots of things for them to do that we can work out later on."
Puck and Oberon, two fairies from the play, have taken a wrong turn in their magical travels and have ended up in 1934 on the movie set.
Lauren Piester talks to director Barbara Ridenour and actress Hannah Leskosky about this year's fall play.
Click to listen (3:43)
They are cast as themselves in the film and proceed to wreak havoc by using a magical flower to make everyone fall in love with everyone else.
In many performances of "Midsummer Night's Dream" dating back a couple hundred years, Puck was played by a woman but was technically supposed to be male.
This is no different in Uni's production, in which the role of Puck is to be played by senior Sarah Lake-Rayburn. Oberon, who is a little more sophisticated and reserved than Puck, will be played by sophomore Dillon Price.
As for the humans, senior Hannah Leskosky plays Lydia Lansing, a stereotypical Brooklyn "slut," who only gets parts in movies because she's dating Jack Warner (played by junior Zack Goldberg), the boss of Warner Bros. Pictures.
"I'm excited about my part," Leskosky said. "That's the part I wanted. She's kind of a dum-dum, and I'm excited to play that because I think it will be fun. She has a Brooklyn accent, which I practiced. Having a mother from the Northeast, she knew what a good Brooklyn accent sounded like, so she approved that."
Junior Anna Gooler plays small-town girl Olivia Darnell, while junior Ethan Schiller takes on the role of Will Hays, a real-life enforcer of the Motion Picture Production Code, who attempts to keep movies safe for family viewing.
Rob Diehl will don a German accent as Reinhardt, and fellow senior Lor Sligar will play gossip columnist Louella Parsons.
Other named characters will be played by seniors Ben Daniels (in the role of movie star Dick Powell), Nish Nookala (Daryl), Jacob Druker (comedian Joe E. Brown), and James Smith (Hollywood legend Jimmy Cagney).
"Any cast can always be different, and people at the end, when the show's up, say, 'Oh, you cast it perfectly.' Well, it's not so much my casting as it is students growing into their parts and making them their own."
2008 Fall Play Cast Members
- Louella Parsons — Lor Sligar (sr)
- Max Reinhardt — Rob Diehl (sr)
- Dick Powell — Ben Daniels (sr)
- Jack Warner — Zack Goldberg (jr)
- Daryl — Nish Nookala (sr)
- Lydia Lansing — Hannah Leskosky (sr)
- Oberon — Dillon Price (so)
- Puck — Sarah Lake-Rayburn (sr)
- Olivia Darnell — Anna Gooler (jr)
- Will Hays — Ethan Schiller (jr)
- Joe E. Brown — Jacob Druker (sr)
- Jimmy Cagney — James Smith (sr)
- Ollie Goldbart (so)
- Adam Joseph (so)
- Karolina Kalbarczyk (sr)
- Rodney LeNoir (fr)
- Sierra Marcum (sr)
- Lauren Piester (sr)
- Joy Shapley (sr)
- Laura Voitik (sr)
- Daniel Wilson (jr)
"SHAKESPEARE IN HOLLYWOOD" AT A GLANCE
- Author: Ken Ludwig, an American playwright and theater director best known for his light comedies
- Premiere: Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the comedy debuted in 2003 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
- Awards: "Shakespeare in Hollywood" won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Play of the Year from the Washington Theatre Awards Society; Ludwig himself has been nominated for two Tony Awards and won a Laurence Olivier Award from the Society of London Theatre
- Synopsis: From Ken Ludwig's official site: "It's 1934, and Shakespeare's most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, have magically materialized on the Warner Bros. Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Instantly smitten by the glitz and glamour of show biz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play (who else?) themselves. With a little help from a feisty flower, blonde bombshells, movie moguls, and arrogant 'asses' are tossed into loopy love triangles, with raucous results."