Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre announces 10th season cast




May 10, 2016

CONTACT: Dr. Mary Ruth Marotte, (501) 428-4165;


 CONWAY — Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will bring back several favorite actors and directors for its 10th anniversary season, which begins June 10.

“This year’s lineup features some of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, and returning to the stage this season will be several favorites from years past, several of whom comprise AST’s ‘artistic collective’ — actors and directors who assist year-round with the theatre’s artistic decisions and who have chosen to make AST their creative home,” said Dr. Mary Ruth Marotte, AST’s executive director.

The group includes Nisi Sturgis, fresh off a critically-acclaimed tour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced at the Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep. Sturgis, who grew up in Conway, will play Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as the nurse in Romeo and Juliet, having previously appeared as Viola in Twelfth Night and as Elizabeth in Richard III. Jordan Coughtry, who most recently starred in the title role in AST’s Hamlet, will play Puck in Midsummer and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. He will also write and perform original music for Midsummer. Robert G. Anderson, who famously stole the show with his dog Salem (Crab) in AST’s 2014 production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, will return with roles in both Midsummer as Peter Quince and Romeo and Juliet as Friar Laurence. Salem will also return for a special guest appearance in Midsummer.

Paige Reynolds and Dan Matisa, who have each appeared in eight of the previous nine AST seasons, will be highlighted in the 10th anniversary season. Reynolds will play Hippolyta in Midsummer and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. Matisa will return to the role of Bottom, the same part he played in AST’s inaugural season production of Midsummer in 2007. He will also appear as Doc in West Side Story. Chad Bradford will round out the artistic collective in his directorial debut with AST for the touring family-friendly production of Twelfth Night. Bradford will also take the stage as Oberon in Midsummer.

“This is our 10th anniversary season, so not only did we want to thrill audiences with shows that have broad appeal, we also wanted to bring back company members that have had an impact on cultivating the large audiences we now enjoy,” Marotte said.

Playing the young lovers in Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story are a group of talented young performers, many of whom are making their AST debuts. Starring as Maria and Tony are Lauren Langbaum and Dylan Stasack, respectively, both of New York City. Juliet will be played by Sophina Saggau, a young actress earning her degree at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre BFA training program, and Romeo will be Haulston Mann, returning to AST for his second season, with his first appearance as an intern as part of the 2012 season.

West Side Story, directed by Jeremy Williams (Pippin, Fiddler on the Roof) also features Michelle Alves in the key role of Anita. Alves recently appeared in the same role in the acclaimed National Broadway tour of West Side Story. Rounding out the company is a talented group of veterans and newcomers that audiences are sure to love.

The complete season cast includes:

Nisi Sturgis — Titania, Midsummer; Nurse, Romeo and Juliet

Jordan Coughtry — Puck, Midsummer; Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet

Robert Anderson — Peter Quince, Midsummer; Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet

Dan Matisa — Bottom, Midsummer; Doc, West Side Story

Chad Bradford — Oberon, Midsummer; Gladhand, West Side Story

Michelle Alves — Anita, West Side Story

Rafa Reyes — Bernardo, West Side Story; Paris, Romeo and Juliet

Sophina Saggau — Hermia, Midsummer; Juliet, Romeo and Juliet

Dylan Stasack — Tony, West Side Story; Samson, Romeo and Juliet

Haulston Mann — Lysander, Midsummer; Romeo, Romeo and Juliet

Jess Prichard — Theseus, Midsummer; Krupke, West Side Story; Prince, Romeo and Juliet

Lauren Langbaum — Maria, West Side Story; Maria, Twelfth Night

Matt Schmidli — Demetrius, Midsummer; Malvolio, Twelfth Night

Harrison Trigg — Jet, West Side Story; Gregory, Romeo and Juliet

Emily Wold — Helena, Midsummer

Zach Myers — Chino, West Side Story, Peter, Romeo and Juliet

Austin Larkin — Baby John, West Side Story; Sebastian, Twelfth NIght

Ferghino Phillipe-Auguste — Pepe, West Side Story; Orsino, Twelfth Night

LaDarius Jamerson — Pepe, West Side Story; Antonio, Twelfth NIght

Justin Santostephano — Juano, West Side Story; Balthazar, Romeo and Juliet

Sam Babick — Diesel, West Side Story; Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet

Xander Udochi — Shark, West Side Story; Abraham, Romeo and Juliet

Paige Reynolds — Hippolyta, Midsummer; Lady Capulet, Romeo and Juliet

Chris Fritzges — Snug/Lion, Midsummer; Capulet, Romeo and Juliet

Barry Clifton — Egeus, Midsummer; Schrank, West Side Story

Adam Frank — Montague, Romeo and Juliet

Ashley Mahan — Consuelo, West Side Story

Garrett Whitehead — Action/A-Rab, West Side Story; Benvolio, Romeo and Juliet

Moriah Patterson — Rosalia, West Side Story

Garrett Houston — Riff, West Side Story; Sir Andrew, Twelfth Night

Jordy Neill — Snout/Wall, Midsummer; Sir Toby, Twelfth Night

Matt Duncan — Starvling/Moon, Midsummer; Feste, Twelfth Night

Brian Earles — Toro, West Side Story

Samantha Harrington — Anybodies, West Side Story; Viola, Twelfth NIght

Sydney Ippolito — Velma, West Side Story

Taylor Galloway — Philostrate/1st Fairy, Midsummer; Apothecary, Romeo and Juliet

Jordan Breckenridge — Flute, Midsummer

Sharon Combs — Olivia, Twelfth Night

AST’s 10th anniversary season begins on June 10th at 7:30 pm with a pay-what-you-can performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on The Lawn at University of Central Arkansas (in front of McAlister Hall). For more information about the complete season, visit Tickets are now on sale; call 866-810-0012.

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is the state’s only professional Shakespeare company and is proud to make its home on the UCA campus. Each summer, AST offers full productions of a range of Shakespeare’s works, as well as other plays and musicals that help fulfill AST’s mission to entertain, engage, and enrich the community.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Communication, Mass Communication and Theatre, Music and Writing. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit or call (501) 450-3293.