(in order of appearance)
Gratiano…..Steven W Gwilt
Fire Breather…..Justin Webb
Prince of Morocco…..Buster Shadwich
Launcelot Gobbo…..Ethan Copeland
Old Gobbo…..Frank Vickers
Prince of Arragon…..Austin Monk
Technical Director…..Brandon Walls
Stage Manager…..Monica Cline
Assistant Stage Manager…..Amy Vickers
Stage Crew…..Joanne Longfellow, Sarah Heggie,
Amy Vickers, Sandy Johnson, Monica Cline
Lighting Design…..Brandon Walls
Sound Design…..Dave Davidson
Light & Sound Board operator…..Kim Frick Welker
Scenic Design…..Dave Davidson, Brandon Walls
Set Construction…..Brandon Walls, Jim White,
Chad McDonald, Frank Vickers, Amy Vickers,
Monica Cline, Roger Long
Scenic Painter…..Kim Frick-Welker
Paint Crew…..Kim Frick-Welker, Monica Cline,
Joanne White, Jim White, James Alder, Elissa Longfellow
Costume Design…..Anthony Herd
Costume Construction…..Anthony Herd,
Erica Dyer, Sandy Johnson, Emily Smith, Kaysha Korrow,
Katie Orey, Mary Boring, Kim Frick-Welker, Amanda Dyer,
Nancy Brown, Jennifer LaFever, Kenny Payne,
Dave Matlock, Joanne Longfellow
Props…..Randi Finger, Sandy Johnson, Monica Cline,
Dan Fenlon, Kim Frick-Welker, Justin Webb
Shakespeare Logo Design…..Wayne Hogan
Poster & Program layout—Steve Gwilt
Colin Forsythe, Mark Creter, Backdoor Playhouse
Dave Johnson, Cookeville Communications
Jim White, Frank Vickers, Beth Thompson,
Megan Trotter, Ty Kernea, Herald-Citizen,
Charles Long, Wesley Arena Theatre
Logan Myers, Jeff Mackie, Renee Bouldin, Heather Frick
Dave Johnson (Antonio) is an Associate Professor of English and Communication at Volunteer State Community College. He also hosts deejay shifts and the community interview program Cumberland Viewpoint on Cookeville Communications radio stations 94.7 The Country Giant and Classic Country 780. Dave is performing the role of Antonio for the second time in a Shakespeare play after directing last year’s Dogwood Park Merry Wives of Windsor. He played the role of Antonio in 2009’s The Tempest after directing Dogwood’s Hamlet in 2008. Earlier this year, he portrayed Uncle Ben in the Tennessee Tech Backdoor Playhouse production of Death of a Salesman. Dave is also the co-producer, along with Steve Gwilt, of the annual Bard’s Day Celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, a benefit for the Stephens Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse at Thomas Andrews Restaurant. Dave directed the Cookeville Performing Arts Center Backstage Series production of Escanaba in da Moonlight, the Best Show award winner at the 2006 Southeast Theater Conference. 2011 marks his 25th consecutive year of community theater in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland. Dave’s proudest productions, however, are his kids: Holley, Hannah, Mirrah, and Reid (in order of appearance). He would like to thank his wife, Sandy, for all her hours of hard work on costuming and backstage efforts for this show, as well as her encouragement and support. Thanks also to the City of Cookeville and The Cookeville Arts Council for supporting the Shakespeare in the Park series.
Bernie Mattingly (Salarino) Bernie is making his acting debut in this year’s Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice. He is especially excited to be performing with his son Alex (Bassanio). He would like to thank Dave and all the cast members for their patience, support and direction.
Simone O’Dell (Salanio) is happy to be working on her first Shakespeare in the Park production. You might have seen her in Backstage at CPAC’s productions of QED or Dead Man’s Cell Phone, or TTU Backdoor Playhouse’s production of Vagina Monologues. Simone would like to thank her father.
Alexander Mattingly (Bassanio) is more than excited to finally be in his first performance of Shakespeare in the Park! He is a 17 year old early graduate Senior at Cookeville High School, and intends on attending Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film, where he will begin work on a BFA in Film this coming January. You might have last seen him performing Shakespeare as Henry V for the past three years at the annual Bard’s Day celebration at Thomas Andrews. Some of his favorite non-Shakespeare shows you might have last seen him as are Stanley in Death of a Salesman, Rick in Bat Boy: The Musical, and Mr.Dussel in The Diary of Anne Frank. He is glad to have gotten to spend possibly one of his final shows in Cookeville with such a wonderful and talented cast and crew. He would like to thank his family, friends, girlfriend, and past directors for making him the actor and person he is today. He would also like to take a moment to specially thank his best friend Stephen for always being there for support, and wish him luck as he too embarks on a new part of his life this year. Enjoy the show everyone, I know we have fun doing it!
James Alder (Lorenzo) has performed in prior Shakespeare in the Park performances of Hamlet, The Tempest, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. James takes great delight in acting.
Steven W. Gwilt (Gratanio) has been involved in all seven previous Shakespeare in the Park productions as an actor or director. He shares the distinction with Chad McDonald (producer) and Brandon Walls (technician). He has also been involved in several award-winning CPAC productions, and a myriad of BDPH and Welsey Arena Theatre performances, and the Tennessee Stage Company Shakespeare productions. Thanks Dave and Monica. Grand thanks to Vegas-wife Amy, beer brewers, and Thomas Andrews Pub.
Sam Raper (Portia) is thrilled to be back on the stage and in the Park. You may have seen her on stage, not so recently, playing such roles as Mary in The Speed of Darkness, Brooke/Vicki in Noises Off, or Beatrice in Servant of Two Masters. She is delighted to share the stage with such an awesome and talented cast, which she is proud to say, includes her oldest son, Elijah. She sends many thanks to Dave Davidson for allowing her to take on her most favorite of Shakespearean ladies. All her love goes to Erik, Elijah, Camilla, and Judah along with loads of appreciation for allowing her to play in the Park.
Vicki Davis (Nerissa) Since playing Mistress Page in Merry Wives of Windsor last season, Vicki Davis has been kept busy with her duties for the English department at Tennessee Tech.
Elijah Miller (Servant) is appearing in his first Shakespeare in the Park, and is happy to share the stage with his mom, Portia!
Evan Stevens (Shylock) This is Evan’s 4th Shakespearean production here in Cookeville & his 19th overall. He hopes to do the entire canon before he’s through.
Buster Shadwich (Prince of Morocco) This would be Buster’s first play, and he would like to thank James Alder for introducing him to this opportunity. He didn’t know what he was getting into, but he loves it. He looks forward to any future shows if he has the chance. Also, if any ladies are curious, he is a single man. He likes long walks on the beach and anything else that impresses you.
Ethan Copeland (Launcelot Gobbo, Tubal, Duke) Ethan Copeland is absolutely stoked to be a part of his first Shakespeare in the Park! He would like to thank Dave Davidson for the opportunity and his patience, Monica for having his back, and the whole cast and crew for making this show an absolute blast! SOLA!!!
Frank Vickers (Old Gobbo) is making his first appearance on the stage in The Merchant of Venice. He would like to thank his family, who tells him that his playing the role of Old Gobbo isn’t really type casting (even though Amy said “you’d be perfect”).
Janina Monk (Leonardo) is appearing in her first Shakespeare in the Park production.
Elissa Longfellow (Jessica) is excited to be in her very first Shakespeare performance and working with such a talented group of people. She is a senior honor student at CHS where she is a member of the Choir and Speech team. You may have seen her at TTU’s Backdoor Playhouse as Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum last fall. She has also been seen in several CPAC Backstage Series productions (Bat Boy, The Good Doctor), as well as numerous Cookeville Children’s Treatre productions. Thank you to Dave for this amazing opportunity and to her wonderful family and friends for their support. Enjoy the show!
Austin Monk (Prince of Arragon) is appearing in his first Shakespeare in the Park production.
Nathan Longfellow (Servant) is thrilled to be thrown into another show! Nathan runs on the Middle School Cross Country team. You may remember him as Winthrop in CPAC’S Music Man.
Amanda August (Salerio, Balthazar) is a freshman at Tennessee Tech University. You may have seen her as a director of a play inside of a play in Acting Can Be Murder or as a circus ringleader in Circus Olympus. This is her first appearance in a Shakespeare show and she’d like to the thank Dave and Monica for giving her this experience (and working with her schedule!). She’d also like to thank her friends and family, especially her parents, for supporting her.
Tom Longfellow (Gaoler, Stephano) is having fun in his first Shakespeare production. You may have seen him recently as one of the muleteers in CPAC’s production of Man of La Mancha. Break a leg!
Erin Savage (Magnifico) is making her Cookeville debut and is proud to be sharing the stage with such talented actors! Erin has worked with various choirs and is currently perusing a degree in English from TN Tech. “Thank you Mom, Dad, Papa, and Granny for all the support!! I love you Punky Punk Punk!!”
Justin Webb (Fire-Breather, Magnifico) is once again breathing flames. You witnessed his fire-breathing skills in Hamlet. When not chomping flames, Justin is a professional magician.
Max Bouldin (Servant) is appearing in his first Shakespeare in the Park production.
Dave Davidson (Director) It is a great pleasure to again be working in Dogwood Park and to be directing my very first production of one of Shakespeare’s plays. The past two years I have directed Death of a Salesman at the BDPH and Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Suicide in B-Flat, Quite Torrential Sound and Apres Opera for CPAC. You may have also seen me acting in Man of LaMancha, Merry Wives of Windsor, Hands Around, On the Verge, Angels in America or any one of a number of plays over the past few years. The cast which you are seeing tonight includes veterans of our local stages. It also includes a number of brand new thespians both young and not so young that I sincerely hope come back to perform again on our stages. It has been my distinct honor to work both with the veterans and our new members. The decision to focus on the comedy rather than the often noted darkness of this particular script is mine. I hope you will find the result pleasing.
Monica Cline (Stage Manager) is tickled pink to be involved in another amazing Cookeville production. She was most recently not seen as stage manager for the CPAC production Man of La Mancha. Earlier this year Monica was on stage at TTU’s Backdoor Playhouse as the “other woman” in Death of a Salesman and before that at CPAC’s The Good Doctor. Much love and thanks to the family.
Merchant of Venice is typically categorized as one of the “problem” comedies in Shakespeare’s canon. The problem is the blatant anti-Semitism of the the play. This was not a “problem” in Shakespeare’s time because it was an attitude common to his audience and the Christian population throughout Europe. It would not have raised any eyebrows. It is different today due the horror which the events of the Holocaust engender in people with moral sensibilities everywhere.
I do believe that Shakespeare saw the play as a comedy. To make it a comedy in the current day I have removed two lines which I believe mitigate two of the most unacceptable statements of racism from the play and I have visioned Shylock as a controlling old miser out of the Comedia del Arte tradition. This makes the play a contest between two views of the world, one a world controlled by the old and another a new world where a new generation takes over from an older one. Both Antonio and Shylock are trying to control the young people around them so that they are not left alone in their old age. The new generation represented by the lovers Portia and Bassanio, Lorenzo and Jessica, end the play stepping onto the world stage as masters of their own destiny not as pawns of a older generation. The play represents the continual renewal of nature and is both melancholy and happy. I hope that you enjoy our production.