There’s nothing like seeing theater in the fresh summer air, and these actresses are braving the heat to make their shows come alive! From a one-woman show that reimagines Greek mythology to the “doo-wop” chorus girls of Little Shop of Horrors, meet eight women from across the nation who shine in summer festivals.
Tatiana Wechsler in Penelope, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
In this musical world premiere of Penelope, Broadway star Tatiana Wechsler plays the title role. “It’s a one-woman-plus-band reimagining from the point of view of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife,” she tells EBONY. “It’s about waiting for love and anger, grief, and then ultimately love and connection.” A veteran of Wechsler enjoys working on new works, “because it is such a collaborative art form theater. When you can have the writers in the room collaborating with the performers and everyone from the design team, you really feel that you’re making a piece that is for today for today’s audiences.” It’s also been a pleasure to step into a role that historically wasn’t created for a Black actor. “Being able to step into this ancient classic piece and bring my full self to it… I’m not dimming any part of who I am in order to do it.” Hey to staying cool on an outdoor stage? “I think hydration is probably the most important thing,” she declares. “Hydration is key!” Penelope runs at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison, New York, through August 21.
Sydney Jaye, Kris Lyons and Sydney Alexandra Whittenburg in Little Shop of Horrors, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
Sydney Alexandra Whittenburg, Sydney Jaye, Kris Lyons and Steven Huynh with Audrey II in Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s Little Shop of Horrors. Image: Jen Schmidt.
Sydney Jaye, Kris Lyons and Sydney Alexandra Whittenburg bring the doo-wop to this production of Little Shop of Horrors every night. “Summer theatre is a unique experience, especially here, where we get a large audience of mostly tourists,” shares Jaye. Whittenburg adds, “It’s important to have Black female representation in a place where there are not a lot of people who look like us. I can see the effect it has on Black audience members when they see me and my fellow Ronnettes wearing our box braids and natural hair; they just light up.” Lyons concludes, “This is an incredible opportunity to perform in a fun show and bring diversity to a stage that sits on the shores of Lake Tahoe.” See the production at Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park through August 20.
Princess Beyonce Jones, Ashley Kay, and Taylor Jones in Love Labor’s Lost, Shakespeare Royal Oak
Shakespeare Royal Oak Presents Love Labor’s Lost with Princess Beyonce Jones, Ashley Kay and Taylor Jones. Image: SMyers.
Shakespeare Royal Oak, Michigan’s premier outdoor Shakespeare festival, takes one of William Shakespeare’s earliest works, Love Labor’s Lost, to the eighties. In this production, In this production, three college frat brothers attempt to improve their grades by swearing off love. It goes awry when three persuasive sorority gals turn their worlds upside down. Actresses Ashley Kay and Taylor Jones star in the production alongside Princess Beyonce Jones, who does double duty on stage portraying “Katharine and Sir Nathaniel in Shakespeare Royal Oak’s outdoor summer production of Love’s Labours Lost,” she shares on her Instagram, adding that she was excited about this process. Catch Shakespeare Royal Oak Presents Love Labor’s Lost at Starr Jaycee Park in Royal Oak, Michigan, through August 6.
Solea Pfeiffer in Hamlet, Free Shakespeare in the Park
Solea Pfeiffer is making her Shakespeare debut in The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. Directed by Kenny Leon, the rising star takes on the complicated role of Ophelia, and she thanked her co-star Ato Blankson-Wood (who plays Hamlet) for guiding her through the process. “It’s a true honor it is to share the stage with @ablanksonwood,” she wrote on Instagram after the opening night party. “I walked into this process like a deer in headlights and on day one you showed me what it means to be fearless in your craft.” The production also stars Free Shakespeare in the Park veteran Lorraine Toussaint as Queen Gertrude. See the production through August 6.
The post 8 Actresses Headlining Summer Theater Festivals Across the Nation appeared first on Ebony.