Monday, April 24, 2017

Meet the company of Cupid's Revenge

Travis Burbee (Agenor) recently relocated to New York and this will be his first full production in the city. He is thrilled to be a part of this unique and exciting production. Some of Burbee's most recent credits include Beethoven in Dog Sees God, Peter in Pinkalicious, Glaston in The Reluctant Dragon, and Eric in Runaways.

Jane Coty (Nisus) is a new actress in the Manhattan theater scene. Previous New York credits include: And This is How You Break My Heart (Ellen), Wolves (Eleanora), Ashes to Ashes (Rebecca), A Dolls House (Mrs. Linde), and Emotional Creature (Ensemble). Special thanks to all my teachers who told me I could.

Alex Dabertin (Leucippus) is an artistic associate at Bad Quarto Productions. Alex was recently seen in Bad Quarto's productions of Hamlet: The First Quarto as Hamlet, and The Taming of a Shrew as Polidor. Alex directed Bad Quarto's Summer 2016 production of What, Lamb! What, Ladybird!, and assisted with direction of Bad Quarto’s Fall 2016 production of The Life and Death of Jack Straw. Additionally, he will direct Bad Quarto's Summer 2017 production of Love's Labour's Lost.

Lindsay Fabes (Cleophila/Urania/Citizen 3) is thrilled to be joining Bad Quarto Productions this season! She is a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma's School of Drama, and was most recently involved in the Midtown International Theatre Festival as a Fight Director for Mescaline. Some of her other recent credits include Tribes (Sylvia u/s) at Barrington Stage Company, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hermia), and Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie/Blanche u/s). She would like to thank her family and friends for always supporting her. Love you all!

Amelia Fei (Hidaspes/Citizen 1) is a recent graduate from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. Her New York credits include Columbia University School of the Arts MFA 8 to 12 Film Festival: Leo's EducationThe Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Jennifer Marcus), Into The Woods Parody (Quick Silver Productions). She is granted a BA in Western Literature in Taiwan, and is grateful to have this wonderful opportunity to being a part of the Cupid’s Revenge family. Endless love to her parents and friends.
Brandon Fox (Leontius) is from Wall, New Jersey. He is a recent graduate of the Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts BFA program. New York credits include Romeo and Juliet at Gorilla Rep, Imagine at Theater for the New City and I Am Irish at the NY Winterfest. Rutgers credits include playing Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Gabriel in Gabriel directed by Christopher Cartmill and Mink in Sardanapalus directed by Knud Adams.                                                                                                        

Liz Lodato (Dorialus/Urania’s Maid) is a graduate of the Mary Baldwin Shakespeare and Performance MLitt/MFA program. Liz previously appeared with Bad Quarto Productions in The Vagina Monologues. Recent credits include Twelfth Night, Love's Labours Lost, and The Duchess of Malfi (American Shakespeare Center), and new work, Smoke Break (Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA). Liz is currently a professor of English and Theater at St. Peter's University in Jersey City, NJ.

James Overton (Music Director; Telamon/Priest/Citizen 4) is working with Bad Quarto Productions for the fourth time, having previously appeared in The Life and Death of Jack StrawHamlet: The First Quarto; and The Taming of a Shrew. Other NYC theatre credits include: Twelfth Night with Swiftly Titling Theatre Project, Little Red in the Hood: And Other R-Rated Shorts, and And Then There Were None with Alpha NYC Theatre Company. James has also appeared with New Hampshire's Shakespeare in the Valley as Launce in Two Gentlemen of Verona as well as Oberon and Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream. James is currently a studying improvisation at the Upright Citizen's Brigade. He  received his Bachelor's Degree from Bennington College where he starred in Don Juan, and Myths and Hymns.

Marcella Pereda (Ismenus/Bacha’s Maid) is new to New York City, having moved here in September of last year. Recent regional favorites include Tis Pity She's a Whore (Annabella), The Skin of Our Teeth (Gladys) and the world premiere of Remington and Weasel (Kim). BFA, University of Utah. Learn more at

Analiese Puzon (Fight Captain; Timantus) is excited to bring this crazy story to life with such a passionate and talented cast! Favorite credits include: Francine Skullvos Brendan, Pirate Navigator at the New York Renaissance Faire; Juror #6 in Twelve Angry Women, and Ermengarde in Hello, Dolly!. She is a recognized Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.

Sabrina Robinson (Bacha)  is excited to reignite her passion for acting with the company of Cupid's Revenge! Known for being energetic and nice, Sabrina enjoys acting because she's able to explore the other facets of her personality and transform into an entirely different person. A Jersey native, she attended college and grad school in Philadelphia, and has lived in Manhattan for the past two years. She loves feasting on food and libations with friends, frolicking around the city, and snuggling her poodle.

Ivy Tinker (Cupid/Zoylus/Hero/Citizen 2) is finishing up her third year at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is thrilled to join Bad Quarto for this production! Previous roles include Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Dawn Midnight in The Secretaries. She is also very excited to be playing Annie in The Vibrator Play at Stella Adler Studio of Acting this coming May.

Angelina LaBarre (Director)  is a director and professor at Contra Costa College. Recent directing credits with CCC include Exit, Pursued By a Bear; The Laramie Project; Almost, Maine; and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged. Other CA directing credits include The Merry Wives with Big Idea Theatre, Julius Caesar with Darkroom Productions, and Twelfth NightThe Sea Voyage; and The Merry Wives of Windsor with Roving Shakespeare. Angelina holds an MFA and an M.Litt. in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University’s partner program with the American Shakespeare Center, and a BA from Sacramento State University.

Anthony Vaughn Merchant (Fight Choreographer) is an experienced stage veteran with a MFA from The University of Kansas City. In addition to a laundry list of classical experience from Bottom to Tiresias, He has also made a number of appearances on screen for HBO, Hulu and Netflix to name a few. He has done the fight work for a number of companies including his notable wrestling match in CTF production of As You Like It which was praised by a member of the WWE.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Embracing Cupid's Revenge

The Jacobin revenge tragedy is not my favorite genre of play. The wanton bloodshed and downright spectacle of the pieces put me off, to be completely honest. In my mind Cupid’s Revenge or The Revenger’s Tragedy feel more in line with the films of Quentin Tarantino than the plays of Shakespeare. And while Tarantino's films and these plays have a lot to say about the world they spring from, that sort of extreme violence and simplistic morality parable meant having to work a little bit harder to find a human connection to Leucippus and the world Beaumont and Fletcher give us in Cupid's Revenge.

Leucippus (Alex Dabertin) puts Timantus (Analiese Puzon) to trial for
his crimes in Bad Quarto Productions' 2017 production of Beaumont and
Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge. Directed by Angelina LaBarre. 

I had to work with the director to find where the heart of Prince Leucippus lay and why he is the way that he is. Most of the conversations that Angelina and I had centered on guilt. Leucippus falls victim to misplaced passion from the start, and his manipulation by the diety leads him to other, more fatal errors. His ardor for the moral improvement of Lycia, ultimately costs him his sister, his father, and his life. Out of Leucippus’ honest desire to have the best for himself and others comes tragedy. And it was the idea of his guilt for those past actions that opened Leucippus for me.

In my exploration of Leucippus' guilt, I found an even deeper motivation: disgust. Leucippus becomes disgusted with himself and with his world, but he never loses his sympathy. He plays out the role of the Christian martyr with great honesty and, I hope, moving grace. There has an acceptance of his death that is aspirational for me.

My first few weeks with Cupid’s Revenge have been a journey from disgust to intrigue to love. I love the characters for all of their faults and desperate needs. And that's what makes this a good choice for Bad Quarto Productions: whereas other companies might focus on gruesome spectacle, our method of production will strip away some of the artifice from the incidents and leave these characters bare to the audience, open to judgment or admiration.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rethinking Romance Genres with "Cupid's Revenge"

One of my joys in exploring the non-Shakespearean drama of the English Renaissance are the plays that play with genre. One can forgive Polonius (or even Corambis) for the extensive list of dramatic genres that players are to be congratulated for mastering: "the tragical-comical-historical-pastoral" (Hamlet, TLN 1479) suggests genre flips that can only be taxing for the playwrights and performers.

This kind of genre bending is rare for us today. We tend to know what kind of movie or television show we're going to get before we see it, and there is rarely any deviation from the formula. Which isn't to say that the formula can't be done well: I have previously written about my admiration for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but as intelligent and politically relevant, even necessary, as The Winter Soldier may be, it still follows the basic action genre formula closely.

Most dramatic works establish what Colin Counsell calls "the law of the text" pretty early and stick to it. The law of the text establishes the ground rules for the the audience's interpretation of all elements of a play, so it's important for more plays to establish the law of the text early in the performance (Counsell 15). As an audience, we need to know how we should interpret signs and signifiers in order to enjoy the reading of the story: i.e. should we read that table as a representation of a table from the period in which the play takes place? Should we interpret it as a sign of wealth and status of the characters who use it? Should we read it as an artistic commentary on that wealth and status, or by extension, those characters? Is the cigar merely a cigar, or should we understand it to have signifying value beyond itself? And if so, how much weight should we give that significance, especially as relates to the signifying value of the object as an object?

This law of the text is usually imparted to us, as an audience, so seamlessly that we don't even realize it's happening, but when that law changes, our understanding of the world is turned on its head. Some films use this as a technique to great success: When Keeanu Reeves wakes up in a vat of goo in The Matrix, nothing that we've seen in the movie up to that point makes sense anymore. When Selma Hayek bites down hard on Quentin Tarantino's jugular in From Dusk Till Dawn, we're as surprised as George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, and Juliette Lewis to learn that this is a vampire movie. We're as confused as everyone else, and as a result, we can share in the immediacy and confusion of our protagonists.

It's easy for us to forget that Shakespeare was a fairly conservative writer, but it also shouldn't be too surprising: when you're the master of a formula, why deviate from it? Even as Shakespeare begins to incorporate some of the changing dramatic tastes into his later work (a masque in The Tempest, for example), his later work is most notable for how his verse develops to match the rhythms of natural speech and thought more closely. The real innovations in dramatic formula came from the next generation of playwrights, and Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher offer us an example of how the "up and coming" playwrights of the early 1600s were developing their own dramatic signatures with plays like Cupid's Revenge.

The law of the text that Cupid's Revenge establishes tells us that this is going to be a romantic comedy. A puritan princess is going to get her comeuppance by falling in love with a clown, the Duke will learn the perils of doting too much on his daughter, and his son will, through all of this, leave off his dallying and grow into the kind of king Lycia needs him to be. And then the bodies start hitting the floor, and Cupid changes from a "blind rascally boy that abuses every one's eyes because his own are out" (as Shakespeare describes him) to a dark and vengeful god whose blood-lust can bring down a country. By the time we've figured out what's happening in this play, the characters we suspected were our protagonists are already dead.

Beaumont and Fletcher wrote Cupid’s Revenge at a time when theatre was beginning to more closely resemble theatre as we know it than it was theatre as Shakespeare knew it, and Beaumont and Fletcher were key innovators in making that leap. Cupid’s Revenge comes right from that moment when Shakespeare was starting to hang up his pen, and English theatre was making an evolutionary leap. This "next generation" of playwrights knew they needed to do something to make their mark, and their formal experiments in drama, including genre bending, helped bring the theatre of the early modern period into something more recognizable to the modern era.

Works Cited

Beaumont, Francis and John Fletcher. Cupid's Revenge. London: 1615. EEBO.  Accessed August 2016. STC 1667.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictyures: 2014. Film.

Counsell, Colin. Signs of Performance. London: Routledge. 1996. Print.

From Dusk Till Dawn. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. Miramax: 1996. Film.

The Matrix. Dir. The Wachowski Brothers. Warner Bros.: 1999. Film.

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. The Open Source Shakespeare. Fairfax: George Mason University. Web. Accessed 20 February 2017. <>

--. Hamlet. The Open Source Shakespeare. Fairfax: George Mason University. Web. Accessed 20 February 2017. <>

--. Twelfth Night. The Open Source Shakespeare. Fairfax: George Mason University. Web. Accessed 20 February 2017. <>

Tambasco, Tony. "A Jig or a Tale of Bawdry." The Shakespeare Standard. 14 Sept. 2014. Web. Accessed 20 February 2017. <>

Monday, January 9, 2017

Announcing our 2017 Season!

Bad Quarto Productions is pleased to announce our 2017 season! The season includes Cupid’s Revenge, a rarely performed play by John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont,  the earliest printed version of Shakespeare’s early comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Anna Karenina Lives! A new musical play by Germaine Shames.

First printed in 1615, Cupid's Revenge is a tale of love, revenge, and mortal folly that was highly influential to post-Shakespearean playwrights. When the Duke of Lycia prohibits the worship of Cupid, the god of love decides to take revenge on his entire kingdom, putting the future of Lycia in peril.

Angelina LaBarre, a California based director and Shakespeare scholar will guest direct this lost classic of the English Renaissance this spring. Some of LaBarre’s most recent credits include Exit, Pursued By a Bear; The Laramie Project; Almost, Maine; and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged with Contra Costa College and The Merry Wives with Big Idea Theatre, and Julius Caesar with Darkroom Productions.

Our summer offering will be a production of the earliest printed version of Love's Labour's Lost, one of Shakespeare's early comedies that we know primarily through the Folio version. The first quarto of Love’s Labour’s Lost was printed in 1598. When the King of Navarre and his friends decide to isolate himself from the world to study philosophy, they think they’ve created the perfect way of understanding the world, but their plans are foiled when the Princess of France and her ladies arrive on a diplomatic mission, the four gentleman discover the weakness in monastic philosophy.

Alex Dabertin, who directed 2015's What, Lamb! What, Ladybird!, and has previously appeared onstage as Hamlet in our production of Hamlet: The First Quarto and as Polidor in The Taming of a Shrew, will direct this rarely performed version of one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies.

Our regular season comes to a close with Anna Karenina Lives! by Germaine Shames. Anna Karenina Lives! is a new musical comedy that sees a young Mae West Join forces with Sophia Tolstoy to save Anna and the Russian aristocracy from themselves through the power of love and vaudeville.

Bad Quarto Artistic Director Tony Tambasco, who most recently directed our production of The Life and Death of Jack Straw, will direct Anna Karenina Lives! this coming Fall.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Shakespearean Costuming Conditions in The Life and Death of Jack Straw.

One of the staging conditions we don't talk quite as much about here at Bad Quarto Productions is our costume choices, which are, like everything we do, inspired by what our counterparts in early modern London did to bring these plays to life. That is to say, we perform our plays largely in modern dress, usually using items we get from thrift shops.

John Ball (James Overton) delivers a sermon to incite a revolt in Bad Quarto Productions' 2016 presentation of  The Life and Death of Jack Straw. Directed by Tony Tambasco. Photo by James M. Smith. 
By and large, costumes in the early modern era came from the early modern equivalent of the thrift shop. It was customary for the well-to-do to leave their clothing to their servants when they died, but loosely enforced sumptuary laws prohibited those from the lower classes from wearing certain types of cloth in certain amounts, which usually corresponded with the types of clothing the ruling classes wore.

Since they couldn't wear them publicly, it was not uncommon for the servants to sell these wardrobe items to the playing companies: the Elizabethan equivalent of a thrift shop.

There are, of course, some aspects of the costuming of these shows that we have to bow to. Certain characters are referred to as wearing capes, cloaks, and often certain kinds of hats, and who could forget the swords? They're not exactly part of the modern suit and tie ensemble, but we can often make them work with a modern base of the suit and tie (dressing down from there).

The Peachum drawing.

That all said, we know that early modern players sometimes costumed there plays more specifically. When the King's Men first performed Middleton's political satire A Game at Chess in 1624, for example, they took some pains to acquire the wardrobe of Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, Count of Gondomar, and former Spanish Ambassador to England, on whom Middleton based the character of the Black Knight. Likewise, the Peachum drawing suggests that togas might have been used for Titus Andronicus, which opens the door to their being used in other Roman plays.

Working with Joanne Famiglietti, who costumed The Life and Death of Jack Straw, when we were confronted with the question of what some of these characters might have worn, we didn't have to look too far to find an answer....

John Ball encouraging Wat Tyler rebels from ca 1470 MS of Froissart Chroniques de France et d'Angleterre in BL.
Granted that manuscript dates from about 100 years after the fact, but it gave us a pretty clear place to begin when designing the costume for James Overton, who plays John Ball in our production of Jack Straw (see the photo above). Froissart's Chronicle was also helpful for costuming the young King Richard II....

Death of Wat Tyler Froissart Chroniques de France et d'Angleterre Book II (c 1483) 175 BL Royal MS 18
We've seen that image before in our discussions of this play: while the image describes the death of Wat Tyler, the most prominent figure is King Richard II, in a blue robe atop his horse. Here is how that translated to our production....

King Richard II (Maria Pleshkevich) knights the Lord Mayor of London (Courtney McClellan) for his service during the revolt in a scene from Bad Quarto Productions performance of The Life and Death of Jack Straw. Directed by Tony Tambasco. Photo by James M. Smith

I like to put kings in lighter colored suits than the rest of the cast because it helps draw focus to them, and I wanted to use the same crown for Richard II that King Harry wore in our production of Cronicle Historie of Henry the Fift, but the blue cloak was suggested by Froissart.

Mounting a play at Bad Quarto Productions always means trying to create a modern early-modern experience of seeing them, which means, ultimately, that we filter what we know about the ways these plays were staged through a 21st century theatrical sensibility, and do so for the benefit of audiences who will likewise view the experience through their own 21st century theatrical sensibilities. It also means adapting the techniques of the early modern playing companies to the technologies and cultural institutions available to us today. How we costume our players is one of the foremost aspects of that process, even though it might not be one of the ones more commonly featured in our pre-show speeches.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Textual Quality of the 1593 quarto of 'The Life and Death of Jack Straw'

Directing on The Life and Death of Jack Straw for the last couple of months has given me a new appreciation for the play. I used to think it was a decent, if overlooked play that gave us some insights into the politics of the time, and for our time, and might have helped us better understand Shakespeare's cultural relationship with his own history. Which are all great reasons for Bad Quarto to produce it.

But now I just think it's a really good play.

As I have worked with the Jack Straw company these past few weeks, they have brought such wonderful insights to these characters and this story, and they have taught me to see this as a play that is as personal as it is political: everyone in this world is trying to do right by their friends, their family, and their country, and the real tragedy of this play comes from those who lose touch with those first principles through greater and greater sins.

It really is fantastic, and I hope you will come see it.

Still, having come to this opinion, I am left to wrestle with some of the critical commentary available. For the record, there's not much. The Life and Death of Jack Straw was never connected to Shakespeare or any of his companies, and so it has more or less slipped through the cracks of those who study the plays and play-makers of Renaissance London. in 1923, W. W. Greg called Jack Straw "the mutilated remains of a play (qtd in Maguire, 265). In 1949, Mary Grace Muse Adkins said "Of the three extant Elizabethan plays dealing with the reign of Richard II and written within a few years of each other, The Life and Death of Jack Straw has received, and, artistically, deserves, the least consideration" (Adkins 57).

Even Stephen Schillinger, who feels that "if ever there was a play in need of reconsideration after the changes in the study of early modern drama, it's Jack Straw," also argues that "extant copies of the play are probably incomplete or error-ridden" and that "the play was initially printed with modest profit aspirations and without much concern for the specific content of the text" (Schilinger 87).

We know where I stand on Jack Straw's artistic merit: it is every bit as worthy of a place on stage as Shakespeare's Richard II, but Schillinger's last point strikes me as factually wrong. A couple features of this text stand out as being the work of someone who cared a great deal about its presentation.

The Life and Death of Jack Straw, Act 1
This is the first page after the title page from the 1593 quarto, and what stands out to me immediately is that Actus primus at the top. Labeling a play by act was uncommon at this point in history. It was so uncommon that I don't believe I have seen other texts of this nature from the early 1590s that did so. Each of the play's four acts are noted, not only in their beginning, but also in their endings....

The amount of whitespace in the text is also surprising to me: that is space that could have been filled with text, which translates into paper that the publisher* didn't have to use, and money he didn't have to spend. Peter W.M. Blayney has shown that there was no such thing as a quick buck in the printing of playbooks, and so we should set aside any notions of easy profit from the start, but what Barley seems interested in selling is a moderately respectable looking play about one of the key moments in English history. 

An even better example is in the king's pardon to the rebels...

Note how the pardon itself is set apart from the rest of the play, both by white space and printers devices, and by a change in type-face. While the rest of The Life and Death of Jack Straw is printed in roman type, the text of the Pardon is printed in black letter, a type face used to re-create the feel of manuscript texts, and to further augment this effect, it even begins with an illuminated "M," just as you might expect from a sacred text. Danter (the printer) has done SUCH a good job convincing me that this was the actual text of the actual royal pardon that Richard offered to the rebels, that I was surprised to find that Froissart doesn't record anything close

We often talk of reading, in the early modern era, being an oral/aural activity. People read aloud, even when reading privately, but publicly for entertainment. A literate member of the household might, for instance, provide an evening's entertainment by reading aloud from a book, a poem, or a play. But the text of The Life and Death of Jack Straw wasn't meant to be merely heard, it was meant to be seen. It has a high enough production value to be the kind of book that you would want people to know you owned, and to be impressed by. Or, at least, that was probably Barley's hope. But anyway you slice it, and whatever the motivations, there seems to have been a great deal of concern for the specific content of the text. 

The Life and Death of Jack Straw is a great play, and I invite your argument or commentary on that point (especially if you come to see our production of it). Previous generations of scholars may have missed its quality, but whatever your feelings about the text, the amount of care that went into its presentation should leave little doubt that its publisher cared a great deal about what you think of it. 

* I am using this term anachronistically.


Adkins, Mary Grace Muse. “A THEORY ABOUT ‘THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JACK STRAW.’” The University of Texas Studies in English, vol. 28, 1949, pp. 57–82.

Blayney, Peter W. M. "The Publication of Playbooks." A New History of Early English Drama. John D. Cox and David S. Kastan Ed. New York: Columbia UP. 1997. p 383 - 422. Print.

The life and death of Iacke Straw, a notable rebell in England: vvho was kild in Smithfield by the Lord Maior of London. London: 1594. STC (2nd ed.), 23356. EEBO. Accessed 27 August 2016.

Maguire, Laurie E. Shakespearean Suspect Texts: The 'Bad' Quartos and Their Contexts. University Press: Cambridge. 1996. Print.

Muhlberger, Steve. Tales from Froissart. Nipissing University. 21 January 2004. Web. Accessed 3 November 2016. <>

Schillinger, Stephen. “Begging at the Gate: ‘Jack Straw’ and the Acting Out of Popular Rebellion.” Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England, vol. 21, 2008, pp. 87–127.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Meet the company of The Life and Death of Jack Straw!

Cynthia Alice (Lord Morton, Tax Collector) lives in Red Bank, New Jersey. Stage: Shadow Kids (Doris Brown); Measure For Measure (Francisca, Justice, Whore); Dead Man's Cell Phone (Mrs.Gottleib), Titus Andronicus (Nurse, Goth, Tribune), Sure Thing (Betty), Happy Mug (Carole); Macbeth (Lady Macbeth). Screen: Perception (Mother), Bromance Boys (Real Estate Agent); Close Your Eyes (Mrs. Brume), Hold The Mayo (Mom); Lou (Julia).

Alexis Ebers (Gentleman Usher, Sir John Newton) is thrilled to be taking part in Bad Quarto's latest production! Alexis was most recently seen in the Off-Broadway musical Crashlight at the Cherry Lane Theatre. She is a graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio Two-Year Meisner Conservatory Program. Other credits include: The Christians (Playwrights Horizons), The Fire Raisers as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ovalhouse Fringe Theatre, London), Company as Amy (Hope Players), and Les Miserables as Cosette (Curtain Call Inc.). Alexis is looking forward to being in the next hit comedy web series and/or singing her way from Ellen's Stardust Diner to Broadway (or Off-Broadway, or a tour, or a staged reading, I'm not picky)

Katie Fanning (Wat Tyler, County Salisbury) is excited to be working with Bad Quarto! Previous work includes Rosalind (As You Like It), Trinculo (The Tempest), and Katherine (Henry V) with Adirondack Shakespeare Company; Hermione (The Winter's Tale) and Arsinoe (The Misanthrope) with Underling Productions; Margery Pinchwife/Maggie (The Country Wife/The C*nt) with Spicy Witch Productions. BFA: NYU. Thanks to John for support and muffins

Courtney M. McClellan (Lord Mayor, the Queen Mother, and the Southwerkman) excitedly joins the cast of The Life and Death of Jack Straw for her third production with Bad Quarto after What Lamb, What Ladybird and The Second Shepherds' Play (Gill/Mary). Recent NY credits include: As You Like It (La Belle/Phoebe) with Shakespeare Off-Broadway, Green Sound (Taylor) with the Greenhouse Ensemble, Whatchamacallit (Disciple) with the Skeleton Rep, and Ripper (Lizzie/Mrs. Lusk). Regional Credits: Hamlet (Gertrude), The Comedy of Errors (Adriana/Courtesan), Romeo and Juliet (L. Montague/L. Capulet/Benvolio), Macbeth (Witch/Malcolm), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania/Helena/Quince) with NC Shakes; One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Nurse Flinn), A Raisin in the Sun and Once on This Island in Nashville, TN; Chicago (Mama Morton), Big River (Alice), and The Sound of Music (Sister Berthe) with Weathervane Playhouse (Newark, OH). BA Communications/Theatre, Hampton University; McCaskill Studios, NYC

Madeleine Morrell (Nobs) is extremely thrilled to make her NYC debut in Bad Quarto's production of The Life and Death of Jack Straw. She has previously worked at Shakespeare and Co. in Lenox, MA as an actor and composer and is incredibly ecstatic to start making her dreams come true here. A huge thanks to her friends and family for the constant support they've given her. This one's for all of you!

Katharine Nedder (Lord Treasurer, Hob Carter) is an NYC based actress and recent NYU Tisch grad, holding a BFA in Acting. She last appeared in AlphaNYC's Twelve Angry Women as juror 10 and in the Thespis Festival's In Manhattan as Baby. Additionally, she is a voice artist for SpokenLayer and a preschool soccer coach.

James Overton (Parson Ball, Spencer, Flemming) has most recently appeared performing with New Hampshire's Shakespeare in the Valley as Launce in Two Gentlemen of Verona as well as Oberon and Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream. This will be James' third time working with Bad Quarto Productions, having appeared in Hamlet, The First Quarto, and The Taming of a Shrew. Other NYC Theatre credits include: Twelfth Night, Little Red in the Hood: And Other R-Rated Shorts and And Then There Were None. He received his Bachelor's Degree from Bennington College where he starred in Don Juan, and Myths and Hymns.

Maria Pleshkevich (King Richard II) is a senior at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. This is her second show with Bad Quarto Productions, having appeared in last year's The Taming of a Shrew as Christopher Slie. She has most recently appeared in in Yara Arts Group's Dark Night, Bright Stars at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre, and her other LaMaMa theatre credits include Hitting Bedrock and Winter Light. She has performed internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Pandora's Box), in Granada, Spain (La Ratita Presumida), and in Kyiv, Lviv, and Odessa, Ukraine (Dark Night, Bright Stars). She is the percussionist in Korinya: Ukrainian Folk Band, and plays bandura in the Women's Bandura Ensemble of North America

Alanah Rafferty (Lord Secretary, Tom Miller) is an actor, writer, director and producer from Mamaroneck, NY. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Communication Arts and Philosophy. Her off Broadway stage credits include So You Think You're Godd, A Moment in Time, and Mirrors and Smoke. This year she starred in her first feature film, Cat's Kill, slated for release in 2017, and directed her first short film, Grey Matters, for The New Agenda Foundation. Alanah wants to thank her family, friends, colleagues and mentors for all of their support and wisdom. For more information, visit

Andre Silva (Jack Straw, Archbishop) is a New York based actor. He recently finished an intensive course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). He has been seen in Bad Quartos productions of Hamlet, The Taming of a Shrew and The Second Shepherds Play, and in Daniel Adams production of Three Sisters at the Alchemical Theater Laboratory. He is delighted to be a part of this cast and wants to thank his friends and family for their ever growing support!

Alex Dabertin (Asst. Director) is a writer, actor, and director living in New York City. He is really excited to continue his work with Bad Quarto Productions as the Assistant Director of The Life and Death of Jack Straw and to dive into some of the most important political issues of our time. Alex could most recently be seen in Bad Quarto's production of the first quarto of Hamlet as Hamlet, and directed the company's production of What, Lamb! What, Ladybird! this past summer. He wants to thank Tony for these wonderful opportunities and Elizabeth for being so good.