September 23, 2020: West End vets team up with Broadway and Hollywood stalwarts in an all-free radio play production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, produced by Jersey City’s Shakespeare@.
Adapted and directed by Artistic Director Sean Hagerty, with original music and sound design, the first episode of The Tempest launches Thursday, October 1st at 7PM and is free to download and stream.
Hagerty has crafted The Tempest into four weekly parts and partnered with the Emmy winning team at Sonic Designs to capture the lost art and thrill of radio drama. Shakespeare@ made an auspicious live debut in 2019 with Hamlet starring Jonathan Forbes and released their first ‘radio’ play of the season with Richard II for their newly created Shakespeare@ Home this summer. To listen to The Tempest online, visit www.shakespeare-at.org. The production will also be available subsequently on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher. The performance is free to all listeners on all platforms. All episodes including past productions are available as well.
Debut dates for parts 2, 3 and 4 of “The Tempest” are subsequent Thursdays in October at 7pm (October 8th, 15th, and 22nd).
In order to best serve quarantined audiences, Shakespeare @ has specialized, for now, on reviving radio drama and programming with Shakespeare@ Home. The distinguished cast of The Tempest includes RSC and National Theatre veteran David Hargreaves as Prospero; Maria-Christina Oliveras (Broadway’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Ariel; Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter in Harry Potter in the West End, War Horse; RSC, The National Theatre) as Stephano; Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley in Harry Potter in the West End) as Trinculo; Jonathan Forbes(Amazon’s Catastrophe, BBC’s Dublin Murders) as Caliban; Derek Wilson (AMC’s Preacher, Hulu’s Future Man) as Ferdinand; Aria Shahghasemi(CW’s Legacies) as Sebastian; Andrew Sellon (Fox’s Gotham) as Gonzalo and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor, Andromeda) as Antonio. Rounding out the cast are Mark Torres, Alice Marks, Freddie Lee Bennett, Rin Allen, and Zoe Himmel. Mr. Aldridge played Ron Weasley to Jamie Ballard’s Harry Potter in West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child prior to the shutdown.
The Tempest is an epic story of shipwrecks, monsters, and magic, weaving a timeless tale of revenge, redemption, and the power of forgiveness. A masterpiece by William Shakespeare, The Tempest is celebrated for its universal themes of freedom and captivity, betrayal and compassion, and what is lost and what is found. First performed in 1611, The Tempest is believed to be the last play Shakespeare wrote alone.
Shakespeare@ was founded to deliver accessible interpretations of classic works with a focus on international and cross-cultural exchange. Its live performance debut, a lush 2019 production of Hamlet starring Jonathan Forbes, garnered rave reviews and was hailed as “theatrical perfection,” selling out its run at Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City. Hagerty says, “After our 2020 season was lost, we re-structured our format to continue productions, employ artists, and serve our mission.” He conceived the all-sonic performance project, Shakespeare@ Home, to recapture the great heyday of serialized radio drama of the 1930’s and 40’s. Its first production, Richard II, was released July 1st, 2020. It received a wide and diverse listenership across the globe and is still available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.
Director Sean Hagerty said, “We decided to set the play when it was written, circa 1611. We’re doing that mainly through the sound design, but especially the music, which is all original and composed with Elizabethan and early Jacobean styles in mind, including the instrumentation.”
Hagerty views The Tempest as remarkably timely. He explains, “It is, at its heart, a morality tale about the perils of hatred, unfettered power, and revenge and the healing powers of redemption, mercy, and forgiveness, all couched in a magical, fairy-tale setting. In these dangerous and divided times, it strikes me as a fitting story.”
The Tempest features original music composed by Joan Melton with sound design by Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of Sonic Designs. Justin Goldner is the music producer and supervisor and casting is by Robin Carus. Sydney Steele is the Associate Producer.
Shakespeare@, Jersey City’s premier classical theatre tells epic stories in intimate and unique spaces, with a mission to revitalize the performance, education and audience for Shakespeare and classic drama. Shakespeare@ is committed to international and cross-cultural exchange in its productions, reflecting the diversity and roots of the community they serve.
Sean Hagerty (Artistic Director) trained under Sanford Meisner and studied classical theatre at the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He holds a Masters Degree in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he graduated with Distinction. Sean has worked as an actor, teacher, director and producer regionally and internationally for many years. Credits include: New York Classical Theatre, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, The Group Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, The Bath Shakespeare Festival, The New Vic, Theatre Royal Bristol, and BBC Radio, among others. Previously, Sean was the resident Shakespeare and Style teacher at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre for over 14 years and was the Associate Artistic Director for New York Classical Theatre. He has served as the chair of Education & Training for the international Shakespeare Theatre Association and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.