OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Cast Set for ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

06/28/2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University Theatre now has a full cast for its upcoming production of Shakespeare’s comic battle of the sexes, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

The second annual outdoor Shakespeare performance will feature performances from actors as young as 16 years to more experienced performers who will be familiar to audiences from last year’s OSU production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

“The amazing thing about auditions was that we had so many excellent actors, I decided to extend the cast and rewrite some of the roles so we could make use of them all,” said Scott Palmer, the director of the University Theatre’s “Bard in the Quad” summer Shakespeare performance. “It was an incredibly difficult casting decision this year, and it took the production crew and me nearly four hours to make the final decisions.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” will be performed July 25-29 and Aug. 1-5. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.bardinthequad.com, or by calling the OSU box office at 541-737-2784.

The cast for “Much Ado About Nothing,” which has been adapted by Palmer in a World War II-era style (complete with swing dancing, Rosie the Riveter style costumes, military uniforms and military jeeps), come from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and experiences.

The cast includes:

Sean Boyd as Benedick: Boyd has performed in regional theaters across the country in such roles as Macduff in “Macbeth” and Oberon for the Genesis Shakespeare Festival’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He has also just completed the independent feature “Upside Out” with Olympia Dukakis.

Maggie Chapin as Beatrice: Chapin is a native Oregonian and was recently a cast member in the state tour of “The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shakes Abridged,” with Bag and Baggage Productions. Chapin has worked extensively with the Nevada Conservatory Theatre, appearing in such roles as Dorine in “Tartuffe,” and Aemelia in “A Comedy of Errors.”

Jason Myers as Claudio: Myers is a recent OSU graduate and an employee in OSU’s Computer Network Services. Claudio will be his first major role, although he previously appeared in “The Physicists” at OSU, and took classes from the improv group, The Groundlings, in Los Angeles.

Caren Parmenter as Hero: Parmenter has performed regionally in “The Seven Year Itch,” “Witness for the Prosecution,” “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds” and most recently was in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at ACT in Albany.

Robert Hirsh as Leonato: Hirsh returns to Bard in the Quad this summer, after appearing in last summer’s “Romeo and Juliet.” His past performances include: “Inherit the Wind,” “Talley’s Folly,” “Jake’s Women,” and “Macbeth.” Hirsh also is the founding artistic director of the Mid-Valley’s newest live theater organization, Willamette Stage Company.

Arianne Jacques as Ursula: Jacques is a theater arts major at OSU and has participated in a number of community theater productions and summer workshops, including Shennandoah Shakespeare's Young Company Theatre Camp, where she played Antonio in “Twelfth Night.”

Jonathan Pedersen as Don Pedro: Pedersen recently performed in Albany Civic Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Other performance credits include “View From the Bridge,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Man of LaMancha,” “The Fantasticks,” and the musical premiere of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” at the Pentacle Theatre in Salem.

Peter Platt as Don John: Platt performed in previous OSU productions as Antonio in “Merchant of Venice,” Lavatch in “All's Well That Ends Well,” and as Teddy in ACT's “Arsenic and Old Lace.” While recently pursuing post-graduate studies in Manhattan, Platt was a founder and active participant in the Shakespeare Workshop at International House, exploring multiple roles in “As You Like It,” Prospero in “The Tempest,” and the Fool in “King Lear.”

Ajai Tripathi as Borachio: While working to complete a theater degree at OSU, Tripathi has appeared in “The King of the United States,” “The Silent Woman,” “Woyzek,” and “Loves’ Labors’ Lost,” as well as a number of other productions.

Erin Cunningham as Margaret: Cunningham has been involved in theater since grade school, acting in summer musicals at the Majestic Theater, as well as in school and church productions. In 2007, she was a finalist in the Regional Acting Competitions in Grants Pass. Cunningham recently appeared in “Twelfth Night” at the Majestic Theater and will be starting her junior year at Corvallis High School this fall.

Vanessa Oberlin as Innogen: Oberlin has been involved in the Corvallis theater community for the past six years in a variety of roles. Most recently, she appeared as “Dracula” at the Majestic Theatre and in “Peter Pan” at Corvallis High School.

Ryan Holcomb as Friar Francis: Holcomb is a transfer student to OSU, and this is his first play in Corvallis. He has performed in “Hieronymous Goiter,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He also is an accomplished vocalist and an aspiring author and playwright.

Phil Allen as The Messenger: Allen has been involved in theater at Corvallis High School for the past three years in productions such as “A Servant of Two Masters,” “The Spitfire Grill,” and “Waiting for Godot.”