What better way to celebrate ISF’s 40th anniversary than with ISF’s magical, musical, and imaginative interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream ? Our family-friendly production of Shakespeare's world-famous comedy follows four young lovers into an enchanted forest for an unforgettable journey of trickery, laughter, and love. Featured in this production is a musical Puck, whose original score is sure to cast a spell on you!
Theseus, the Duke of Athens, hears the complaint of Egeus, who is angry with his daughter Hermia for refusing to marry Demetrius. Lysander, her true love, has instead devised a plan for them to leave and marry. Hermia’s friend, Helena, hears this and informs Demetrius.
In the forest, the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, quarrel. Oberon sends Puck, a clever fairy, to find a flower containing a powerful love potion and to use a bit on an Athenian man, referring to Demetrius. Lysander and Hermia have become lost in the woods and stop to rest. Mistakenly, Puck uses the elixir on Lysander. Helena arrives and wakes the charmed Lysander, who falls in love with her. Hermia wakes to find Lysander missing and leaves to find him.
Puck encounters a group of men rehearsing a play and changes one of the men’s heads to that of a donkey. Terrified, the rest flee. Titania is also under the flower’s spell, and she falls in love with the donkey-headed man, Bottom.
Oberon realizes Puck’s mistake of charming Lysander by mistake and orders him to fix it. Puck then uses the elixir on the sleeping Demetrius, who wakes and sees Helena, falling in love with her. Hermia enters, shocked to find both men fighting over Helena. Oberon instructs Puck to stop the lovers’ quarrels. Puck plays tricks on the men, and eventually, the four lovers tire out and fall asleep.
Oberon finds Titania asleep with Bottom and reverses the spell. She wakes in love with Oberon once again. Puck whispers a charm to undo the spells on the Athenians. When morning comes, they wake to find Demetrius in love with Helena, and Lysander with Hermia. They follow the Duke through the forest where they are all married.
Robert Quinlan (Director) returns to Illinois Shakespeare Festival, where he previously directed Richard the Second and Macbeth. Other recent credits include the North American premiere of The Heresy of Love by Helen Edmundson (performed at the Spanish Golden Age Drama Festival in El Paso, TX), and The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey (Taproot Theatre, Seattle and Fire Exit Theatre, Calgary). He is a member of Arkansas Shakespeare's Artistic Collective, where he has directed Hamlet, Richard the Third, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has taught acting and directing at Purdue University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and currently heads the MFA Directing Program at Illinois State University.
Joe C. Klug (Scenic Designer) is delighted to be working with Illinois Shakespeare Festival. His previous work includes A Midsummer Nights Dream, Merry Wives of Windsor (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Conway), Devil's Music, The Doyle and Debbie Show (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), The Life of Galileo and Our Class (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Chicago), The Little Mermaid (Orlando Rep), Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Junie B. Jones is not a Crook (First Stage Theatre), Black Comedy and What the Butler Saw (Bristol Valley Theatre, NY). He currently is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at University of Arizona and is a proud member of USA Local 829.
Tyler Wilson (Costume Designer) Regional: World Premiere An Extra Penny (Louisburg College); The Miracle Worker (Twin City Stage, NC); Stillwater, A Christmas Carol (Kansas City Repertory Theater); 4:48 Psychosis (The Living Room); Afflicted: Daughters of Salem (The Coterie); Picnic (Kansas City Actors Theatre); Caucasian Chalk Circle, Seven Guitars, Burnt by the Sun (UMKC Theatre); Cyrano, Othello (Riverside Theatre); Sara Ruhl’s Passion Play, Speech and Debate and This is How it Goes (Illinois State University). Education: B.A., Illinois State University; M.F.A.,University Missouri-Kansas City. Faculty Fellowship, Costume Shop Manager and resident designer at Wake Forest University www.tylerwilsondesigns.com
Dan Ozminkowski (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to make his ISF debut. Regional designs include Smokey Joe’s Café (Arena Stage), Treasure Island, A New Musical (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), Let Me Down Easy (Wexner Center for the Arts, Philadelphia Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and the U.S. Premiere of From Here to Eternity (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse). Tours: Spirit of Uganda (2010, 2012, 2014). Associate/assistant design credits: A Night With Janis Joplin (Broadway); Impressionism (Broadway); and Le Rêve (Wynn, Las Vegas). Nominated: Barrymore PECO Award for Outstanding Lighting Design. USA 829. B.F.A. Purchase College; M.F.A. Parson. Dan is the Head of Lighting Design at Illinois State University.
Kieran Periera (Sound Designer) is back for fourth year at the festival. Kieran finished his M.A. in Sound Design for Animation in 2015 at ISU. Last year he designed Hamlet, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Twelfth Night. He looks forward to another great summer and thanks you all for supporting the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
Jesse Bhamrah (Demetrius) is extremely excited to join ISF for the first time this season! Originally from around DC, Jesse earned his BA in Theater from James Madison University. He just finished a season with Milwaukee Rep in their Emerging Professional Residency program. Roles at The Rep included Juan in Man of La Mancha and Ensemble tracks in A Christmas Carol and Jane Eyre. Understudy roles included Amir in Disgraced, Sancho in Man of La Mancha, Jim in The Glass Menagerie, and Froggy in The Foreigner. He would like to thank everyone who has made this season possible!
Joe Bianco (Snug) is happy to make his ISF debut. Working primarily out of Chicago, he has worked with: Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Othello: The Remix, Merry Wives...), The House Theatre (Hammer Trinity), Lifeline (Tale of Two Cities), Door Shakespeare (Caesar, Lear, Midsummer, Comedy...), MPAC (Spamalot!, Christmas Carol), Other Theater Company (Bent), Oak Park Festival (Henry V, Richard III, Amadeus) and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks where he recently appeared as Claudius in Bill Brown’s Hamlet. Voiceover: McDonalds, Dean Foods, The Onion, Lays, Porsche, Ducati, Dollywood and many more. TV: Chicago Fire. Love to the incredible women at Shirley Hamilton Talent. www.actorjoebianco.com
Jordan Coughtry (Puck/Philostrate) ISF credits: Failure: A Love Story, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors; New York: Very Very (J, J & Z), Murder in the Cathedral (Hoi Polloi), Be Story Free (InVerse Theatre), Winter Journey (P.S. 122). Regional: Godspell (Olney Theatre Center); Twelfth Night (Westport Country Playhouse); Red (TheatreWorks); Emma (Pioneer Theatre); Candida (Two River Theatre); All’s Well that Ends Well (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); Love’s Labour’s Lost (The Shakespeare Theatre/RSC); The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ (9 seasons) including Amadeus, Our Town, and Wittenberg; Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (Artistic Collective member) including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Mehry Eslamina (First Fairy) Denver based, Mehry is thrilled to experience her first out of state contract with ISF. Select CO Regional Credits include the world premier of Appoggiatura (Kate/Musician), and A Christmas Carol with The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Happiest Song Plays Last (Shar) with Curious Theatre Co., The Taming Of The Shrew (Kate/Grumio) with Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Violence Prevention Tour, and Guys And Dolls (Adelaide), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Jolene), August: Osage County (Johnna), Our Town (Mrs. Soames) with Creede Repertory Theater. After ISF, you can catch her with Indiana Rep and Syracuse Stage through the end of the year.
Thom Miller (Theseus/Oberon) is thrilled to return to ISF. He was previously seen in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won, and Richard II. Favorite regional credits include: Company (Writer’s Theatre), Reasons To Be Pretty (Studio Theatre), The Last Five Years (Denver Center), Hair (Prince Music Theater), Macbeth (Texas Shakespeare Festival), Boeing Boeing (Northern Stage), Off-Broadway: Camp Wanatachi (La Mama), Mental: The Musical (Cherry Lane). Thom received a BFA in Acting from North Carolina School of the Arts and an MFA from the University of Illinois. He is a professor of Voice and Verse in the Department of Drama at Syracuse University.
Mark Tyler Miller (Starveling) is joyfully returning to ISF for a second season. He holds his B.F.A. in Theatre from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and is currently pursuing his M.F.A. in Acting at the University of Illinois. He has performed across the country in musicals, contemporary plays, Shakespeare and new works. Previous roles include: Orsino in Twelfth Night and Slank/Hawking Clam in Peter and the Starcatcher (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Claude in Hair (Artswest Playhouse), Richard Mason in Jane Eyre (Taproot Theatre Company), and Bobby in Postcards from Hotel Cassiopeia (NYC Strawberry Theatre Festival).
Jose Nateras (Snout) is a Chicago based Actor and Writer. Recent credits include: Picnic (American Theatre Company), Cymbeline (Strawdog), Reprise (Adventure Stage Chicago), The Van Gogh Cafe (Filament Theatre),The Grapes of Wrath (The Gift Theatre), Othello (u/s*), Since I Suppose (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), My Soul's Shadow (Manual Cinema), Balm in Gilead (u/s Griffin Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Teatro Vista); among others. He's toured with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (Hamlet, Twelfth Night) and appeared on NBC's Chicago Fire. He’s pursuing his MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Susie Parr (Hermia) has recently returned to her home in Kalamazoo, Michigan after spending several years working with the American Shakespeare Center’s touring company. Some of her ASC credits include: Ophelia in Hamlet, Louka in Arms and the Man, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. Her other credits include Katherine in Henry V (Houston Shakespeare Festival), Marty in Grease (Crain River Theater), Kate in The Beaux Stratagem (University of Houston) and Irina in Three Sisters (University of Houston). She enjoys hiking, acro yoga, slacklining, birth work, and spending time with her nephews.
Thom Quinn (Bottom) is pleased to be returning for his thirteenth summer with the festival. In the 2016 season, he enchanted audiences in his portrayals of Feste in Twelfth Night and Lord Aster in Peter and the Starcatcher. His favorite ISF roles include the title role in King John, Kent in King Lear, John Dory in Wild Oats, Chorus in Failure: A Love Story, and Tom in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). He has created over eighty roles for the professional stage at theatres around the country. An accomplished teacher of acting, Tom serves on the faculty of Illinois Wesleyan University, where he is an Associate Professor, and Director for the School of Theatre Arts.
Raffeal A. Sears (Lysander) A native of Kansas City, MO. He is a 3rd year MFA actor at University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign. He studied commercial vocal performance at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He is a wedding and corporate vocalist for Starlight Orchestras in New York. Recent stage credits include: Staged reading of Master Wilder and the Cabala (Illinois Theatre/ Goodman Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Illinois Theatre), Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (Illinois Theatre), The Grapes of Wrath (Illinois Theatre), and Henry V (Armory Theater), The Play of Adam (The Met Cloisters, NY), Amazing the Change (Atlantic Theatre, NY), A Midsummer's Night Dream (Nashville Shakespeare Festival), Lost in the Part (Amity Hall, NY), In the Blood (The New School, NY), Moonchildren (Kansas City Rep, MO), and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day (The Coterie, MO). Voice Over: McDonald’s, Burger King, Grand Theft Auto.
Nisi Sturgis (Titania/Hippolyta) ISF credits: Gertie Fail, Lady Macbeth, and Luciana. She recently toured as Emily in Disgraced at the Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre (BATA award). Broadway: The 39 Steps. Off-Broadway: Intimate Apparel. Regional highlights: In the Next Room and Baskerville (Cleveland Play House, Baskerville also at Cincinnati Playhouse); Doubt, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Denver Center); A Doll’s House, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Pentecost (The Old Globe); Streetcar Named Desire, Our Town (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ). TV: five seasons as June Thompson in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (best ensemble SAG Award nomination). MFA: The Old Globe.
Patrick Toon (Egeus) has performed at regional theatres in Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Colorado as well as in numerous plays in New York City. Favorite roles include Roland in Constellations, Jaques in As You Like It, Jim in The Weir and especially Chaps in ReEntry, a play about mental health and the military which performed for active duty personnel and their families at bases around the country.
Chris Vizurraga (Flute) Chicago stage credits include Pirandello's Henry IV (Remy Bumppo), Captain Blood (First Folio), A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol (Chicago Shakespeare), One Man, Two Guv'nors (Court Theater), Miss Buncle's Book and Lester's Dreadful Sweaters (Lifeline Theatre), The Drowsy Chaperone (Metropolis), Pr0ne: the Musical (Underscore), and Tamer of Horses (Stone Soup Theatre Project). As a former resident acting intern at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, he has performed in Ragtime, A Christmas Carol, End of the Rainbow, and The History of Invulnerability. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shorter College.
Emily Wold (Helena) is a native Arkansan who recently moved to Chicago. Favorite roles include Viola in Twelfth Night (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre), Regan in King Lear (Studio 208), and Widow Quin in The Playboy Of The Western World (University of Houston PATP). Emily also enjoys working as a voiceover artist, and has done so for companies like McDonald’s, Mountain Valley Spring Water, and Illinois Valley Community Hospital. When she’s not working, Emily enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her family.
Pantagraph: A magical, family-friendly 'Dream'