Young Shakespeare Returns with Zilker Broadcast Special ‘2 Gents’

Don’t worry… your summer may have been different but Austin Shakespeare is here to make sure you get your regular dose of The Bard! This month, the classical theater group’s teen company — Young Shakespeare, that is — brings you ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ streamed from Zilker Hillside Theatre to your screens Wednesday, October 7 at 7:00pm. And you can get your ticket right now!

Austin Shakespeare’s tuition-based intensive summer program for students aged 12 to 19 typically produces an imaginative performance in The Curtain Theatre, Austin’s own Elizabethan replica theater space (yes, it really exists!), host to several historical community theatre groups. Since theatre is looking a little bit different right now, Young Shakespeare has partnered up with familiar friend Zilker Hillside Theatre and presents ‘2 Gents’ in coordination with the City of Austin’s Artist Access Program.

After masked and socially-distant rehearsals, Young Shakespeare has filmed the production in Zilker without an audience. But setting this Shakespearean tale in the psychedelic ’60s & ’70s isn’t the only surprise — the production promises several more. “Young Shakespeare is always an exciting adventure,” says Director Ann Ciccolella. “This year is no different.”

socially distant rehearsal

Inspired by music from Galt MacDermot, who wrote the rock musical HAIR, the production is a blast from the past with costume design inspired by the 1970s from Cecelia Gay. ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’ features many of Shakespeare’s comedic staples, including a woman in male disguise, a best-friend rivalry over the same love interest, plus a servant and his comic dog.

How can I watch?

Glad you asked! Tickets are available now. You’ll receive a special link for the stream via email, taking place October 7 at 7pm on YouTube.

Who’s in the cast?

Trained by theatre professionals alongside Artistic Director Ann Ciccolella and Associate Director Gwendolyn Kelso, Young Shakespeare’s actors hail from across the Greater Austin area and beyond.

Ben Frey, Proteus, an amorous gentleman
Gabriel Cruz, Valentine, the other amorous gentleman
Campbell Collins, Julia
Elanor Walter, the captivating Sylvia
Richard White, the humorous Eglamour
Madelyn Reed, Antonio
Mercy Olguin, the Duchess
Sarah Wells, Launce, the clown
Jackson Childs, the bumbling Speed
Athena Eugene, Panthino
Vittoria Magi, the witty Host

But how has the young cast dealt with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Ah… that is… the recent pandemic-driven changes in process and format?

“In addition to being incredibly talented, this cast has been flexible and supportive through what has been one of the most disrupted seasons ever,” said original co-director Nancy Eyermann. “This talented group has not missed a beat. They are as energized, engaging, and fun to watch on screen as they are live on stage.”

I want to know more about Austin Shakespeare

You’ll love exploring imaginative worlds with this company, which features surprising and entertaining heightened-language productions at the our Rollins Studio Theatre as a Long Center Resident Company, as well as Shakespeare in Zilker Park.

The only professional classical theater company in Central Texas, this group stages performances that are fresh, bold, imaginative, thought-provoking and eminently accessible — connecting truths of the past with the challenges and possibilities of today.

In 2018, Austin Shakespeare was honored with a grant from the prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program. And during the Covid shutdown, the group has also pivoted to offer virtual performances as well as creative development programs.

Austin Shakespeare is a participating partner of the Artist Access Program, part of the City of Austin’s Division of Museums and Cultural Programs through the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. Visit austintexas.gove/artistaccess for more info.

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