“Twins both alike” – Zada and Zuri Eshun

2014 Young Company Members, Zuri and Zada Eshun

(L-R) Zuri Eshun and Zada Eshun

When we found out we would be acting together this summer, we were both very shocked, excited, and slightly confused.  This was not Comedy of Errors or Twelfth Night, and pondering our potential relationship in the same show was as stressful as the auditioning process. However, when we received word that we would be playing mother and daughter (Mistress Page and Anne Page), those stresses were calmed and aside from thoughts of the Film “Chinatown,” we were  content with finally being able to take the stage together.

This excitement  is rooted in the simple fact that we have never acted together. Ever. We have never even seen each other in a play. Why? We each spent our undergraduate careers on opposite sides of the country. Boston and South Bend are not exactly neighboring cities and this distance played a large role in separating us during the time we actually decided to take on acting. What’s amazing about NDSF is that they approached us when were deciding whether to spend another two to three years apart for grad school. The joy felt from being cast together somehow overflowed into that decision, and we decided to spend the next two years, together, at the East 15 Acting School of London.
If anything, we would like to thank NDSF for allowing us to learn and act together this summer. We are going from never acting together to being in two shows with each other, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that without their help and encouragement. So look out for us this summer, and if you can’t tell the difference, don’t get too upset, nobody really can!

“This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight”

In this summer’s Professional Company production of Henry IV, Tyler Rich will play hot-blooded Hotspur (the nemesis of Prince Henry “Hal”) and swaggering saber-rattling Pistol. Tyler will also serve as Fight Captain. Tyler has extensive experience in hand-to-hand combat, rapier & dagger, broadsword, sword & shield, knife, quarterstaff, single sword, and small sword. (So many weapons, so little time.) Tyler is also an experienced didgeridooist, although this skill will most likely not be used in Henry IV.

Tyler Rich

Tyler Rich

Tyler hails from from New Hampshire and has worked with this summer’s ProCo director, Michael Goldberg, as well as NDSF alums, Bill Brown and Kevin Asselin. Tyler studied at Plymouth State and lives in Chicago.

With acting experience at Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, American Players Theatre, First Folio Theatre, and many others, Tyler is an exciting addition to this summer’s Professional cast.

We have our king and his name is…Henry!

Henry Godinez has been cast as King Henry IV in this summer’s Professional Company production of Henry IV. Mr. Godinez is the resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre and the curator of the Latino Theatre Festival. Here’s a video on his work at the Goodman.

Henry Godinez

Henry Godinez

Most recently at the Goodman, he directed Karen Zacarías’ The Sins of Sor Juana.  World premieres directed at Goodman include Karen Zacarías’ Mariela in the Desert, Regina Taylor’s Millennium Mambo and Luis Alfaro’s Straight as a Line.  Also at Goodman: José Rivera’s Boleros for the Disenchanted (also world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre), The Cook by Eduardo Machado, Electricidad by Luis Alfaro, Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez, Red Cross by Sam Shepard (in Regina Taylor’s Transformations), the Goodman/Teatro Vista co-production of José Rivera’s Cloud Tectonics and the 1996–2001 productions of A Christmas Carol. Mr. Godinez’s other Chicago credits include Water By The Spoonful at Court Theatre, A Civil War Christmas at Northlight Theatre, A Year with Frog and Toad and Esperanza Rising for Chicago Children’s Theatre, Nilo Cruz’s Two Sisters and a Piano (Apple Tree Theatre/Teatro Vista co-production) and Anna in the Tropics for Victory Gardens Theater.  Mr. Godinez is the co-founder and former artistic director of Teatro Vista, where he directed Broken Eggs, El Paso Blue, Journey of the Sparrows, Santos & Santos and The Crossing. His other directing credits include work at Portland Center Stage, Signature Theatre Company in New York City, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival and several seasons of Stories on Stage for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. As an actor, Mr. Godinez appeared most recently in the Goodman/Teatro Buendia of Cuba 2013 world premiere of Pedro Páramo, as well Chicago Fire and several episodes of Boss. Born in Havana, Cuba, Godinez is the co-editor of The Goodman Theatre’s Festival Latino: Six Plays (NU Press), and serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Arts Council and Albany Park Theatre Project.  Mr. Godinez is the recipient of the 1999 TCG Alan Schneider Directing Award, the Distinguished Service Award from the Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and was honored as the 2008 Latino Professional of the Year by the Chicago Latino Network, and with the 2013 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Award.  Mr. Godinez is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University.

We are excited to see Henry bring our titular king and father to life this summer.

Meet Falstaff! – Shakespeare’s Witty Rouge

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to the cast of our 2014 Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. We begin with the merry knight, the bawdy bandit, the “villainous abominable misleader of youth,” Sir John Falstaff!

John Lister

John Lister

Ryan Producing Artistic Director Grant Mudge is pleased to announce that Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival veteran John Lister will play audience favorite Falstaff in this summer’s Professional Company production of Henry IV.

John returns to the Festival having previously appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and The Comedy of Errors. Chicago credits include: Show Boat (Lyric Opera of Chicago); The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Guys and Dolls (Marriott Lincolnshire); six seasons of A Christmas Carol (The Goodman Theatre); Yellow Moon, Heartbreak House, As You Like It (Writers Theatre); Lady Windermere’s Fan, Red Herring, She Stoops To Conquer, Inherit The Wind, Tom Jones (Northlight); Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo) and more than a dozen productions with Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Regional credits include productions with American Player’s Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Players and The International Mystery Writer’s Festival. Film and Television credits include:  Public Enemies (Universal); Animals (Animals, LLC); Prison Break (FOX) and The Beast (A&E).

Born in Dundee Scotland, John was raised in West Lafayette Indiana. He received a Bachelors degree in Theatre Performance from Ball State University and a Masters degree in Acting from Michigan State University.

We look forward to John’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s beloved rouge, Sir John Falstaff!

Last Chance — Sign up today to audition tomorrow!

Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival LogoDear Actors,

With auditions tomorrow, you should be aware of one key difference between last year’s plans for the Young Company and this: this year all actors cast in the Young Company will have roles on stage with the Professional Company in Henry IV.

There are several reasons for this decision.  First and foremost, it’s a larger show, affording us an opportunity to grow.  Secondly, while I still firmly believe there is inestimable value in working on any crew for a professional production taking place right here on our campus at Notre Dame, it’s also clear that the opportunities to be on stage are what draw us as actors.  This summer’s production is tied directly to the history of your predecessors here at Notre Dame—and the play arguably includes some of Shakespeare’s greatest characters and writing.  They are very much worth your time.

Upon arriving in the summer of  2012, the Young Company was the first program of the Festival I was certain needed to continue.  I felt then as now that ND and St Mary’s students are strong, and able to compete with those from elsewhere, even among BFA students.  It has been our goal to increase the participation of our own students in the Festival.  It’s for this reason we recruited (and have engaged) West Hyler, a director with Broadway credits, who has assisted no less an internationally known director as Des MacAnuff (former Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival), and who regularly casts the international productions of Jersey Boys wherever it tours.

West Hyler Headshot

2014 Young Company Director West Hyler

Even if you are unsure about joining the summer Festival, DO NOT MISS THE CHANCE TO AUDITION FOR MR. HYLER.  I guarantee you will see his name again, be it in New York, Las Vegas, or around the world.

There are a few slots remaining, and you should e-mail DEB GASPER (dgasper@nd.edu) by 5pm TODAY to arrange your slot.  Even if your audition piece is not yet up to snuff, heck, even if you’re on book, don’t miss this chance.

See you tomorrow!


Grant Mudge, Ryan Producing Artistic Director                                                                  Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival                                                                          Shakespeare at Notre Dame                                                                                              World Class Theatre. | Right Next Door.