MEET THE CAST AND CREW of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
Francis Ford - Carl Zeitler (Francis Ford/Co-Producer) Carl happily returns to the stage with Shakespeare on Clark at the Centre after previously appearing in "The Taming of the Shrew" (Petruchio), "The Comedy of Errors" (Antipholus of Ephesus, Syracuse), and "Much Ado About Nothing" (Benedick). He has also appeared elsewhere in "Twelfth Night" (Sebastian) and in the title role of "Macbeth." Most recently, Carl co-wrote, co-produced, co-directed, and appeared in "Seasonal Tags" for WT Productions at Vero Voce Theater. He wrote, directed, and appeared in "Relationships in Progress" for Gallery Theater and Village Theatre Guild. Carl wrote, directed, and appeared in "Reflections and Perspectives" for Elgin Theatre Company at Elgin Fringe Fest. He directed "Becky's New Car" for Village Theatre Guild. He has served as producer at various venues for "Ravenscroft," "And Then There Were None," "Death by Chocolate," "Frankenstein," "The Matchmaker," "How the West was Done In," "Smoking Gun," "After the End of the World," and "An Evening of One-Act Comedies." Notable roles onstage include "Of Mice and Men" (Lennie), "Rumors" (Lenny), "Dracula" (Dracula), "The Shadow Box" (Joe), "The House of Yes" (Anthony), "Closer" (Dan), "The Odd Couple" (Felix), "Cupid Must Die!" (Grim Reaper), "Boy Gets Girl" (Tony), and "Suite Surrender" (Francis). Carl is grateful to be working with Toria, Julane, and this wonderful cast and crew on this production.
Mistress Alice Ford - Carrie Burkett-Schafer After a long absence, Carrie is thrilled to be back on stage. She was last seen in The Haunted Widow Lincoln as Mary Todd. Other favorite roles: Bessie in Marvin's Room, Jane in Absurd Person Singular, and Catherine Slooper in The Heiress. She has also directed many shows, including: Laughing Stock, Rumors, and an adaptation of The Princess Bride. Carrie is a native of Batavia, where she resides with husband Scott and two boys, Luke and Nate. She has been an independent Acting Coach for the past 16 years. Many of her students have gone on to be very successful in the Chicago theatre scene. This "Merry Wife" would like to dedicate this show to her husband of almost 25 years. Scott. Glad we were cast as "Bleacher Bums" so many years ago. Love u.
Mistress Meg Page - Meredith Brasher Meredith spent 20-plus years in the corporate world before re-discovering her inner theater kid. She is excited to be performing Shakespeare for the first time since high school (graduation year: top secret). Recent credits include roles in Jekyll and Hyde the Musical, Rosenstrasse, Kiss Me Kate, as well as the web series Southport and print and commercial work with Metra Rail and 3M. She is the writer and host of the Insurance vs History Podcast and is always up for a nerdy discussion about either topic. Much love to Eric, without whom none of this would have been possible, and dedicated to Elaine. Represented by The Talent Networks.
Doctor Caius - Stetson Cross Stetson is honored to be making not only his first production with Shakespeare at the Centre but also his first production back after a two year hiatus. Stetson has performed in various other productions such as Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night's Dream, Fiddler on the Roof, and many more. He would like to thank Toria for the opportunity to work with Shakespeare Centre as well as his cast for putting up his French accent.
George Page - Timothy Ferguson Timothy Ferguson (George Page). Has appeared in Harper College Ensemble Theatre Company productions Ohara in Arsenic and Old Lace, Raul in Seduction, and Theodore Whitman in Follies, and (Henslowe) in Shakespeare in Love. Other credits include (Baptista & Grumio) in Taming of the Shrew, Wolsey in Man for All Seasons, Bowen Park Theatre. (Preposteros) in Thespis, (Pirate Chorus) in Pirates of Penzance Savoyaires. (Kemp & Hermit) in Young Frankenstein Elgin Community College. Tim is excited get back to Shakespeare In Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare at the Center.
Mistress Quickly - Mackenzie Grattan
Barbara Shallow - Katherine Hart Katherine is thrilled to be back on stage with Shakespeare at the Centre in The Merry Wives of Windsor as Shallow and a Fairy. For Mary Jean. Previous acting credits include Riverfront Playhouse’s The Creature Creeps as Freda Zitzen, Shakespeare at the Centre’s credits are The Tempest (Foley Artist), Love Labour’s Lost (Antonia Dull), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mustardseed), Shakespeare on Clark’s Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula), Shakespeare on Clark’s The Comedy of Errors (First Merchant/Servant), WMC Productions, Inc.’s Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula u/s) and Summer Place Theatre’s Cyrano de Bergerac (Sister Martha). Backstage credits include Overshadowed Theatrical Production’s The Christmas Schooner (Stage Manager), Noah! (Stage Manager); Shakespeare at the Centre’s The Tempest (Foley Designer and Foley Artist), Love Labour’s Lost (Stage Manager), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Stage Manager); Metropolis Performing Arts Centre’s The Diary of Anne Frank (Properties Designer) and The 39 Steps (Properties Designer); World Premiere of A Midnight Clear: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Stage Manager); Shakespeare on Clark’s Much Ado About Nothing (Assistant Stage Manager); Metropolis Performing Arts Center SOPA Props Designer for Oklahoma!, Annie Kids, The Princess and the Pea, Aladdin Kids, and Beauty and the Beast Jr.; Fox Valley Repertory’s Legally Blonde Jr. (Properties Master/Assistant Stage Manager) and Brighton Beach Memoirs (Properties Master/Assistant Stage Manager); Shakespeare on Clark’s The Comedy of Errors (Stage Manager); WMC Productions, Inc.’s Much Ado About Nothing (Stage Manager); Webb Theatre’s The Shape of Things (Stage Manager), and the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Film credits include I Heart Shakey (Art Director) and Legends of Prohibition (Historical Consultant/Set Decorator). Graduate of St. Norbert College (double B.A.) and Tribeca Academy (A.A.S.). Much love and thanks to her family, friends for all their love and support. Many thanks to Toria for putting faith and trust in her to start off the show and become Barbara Shallow and a Fairy.
Abraham Slender - Matt Heine Matt is excited not only to return to the theatre after a two year hiatus, but also to be returning to Shakespeare on Clark at the Centre! Matt has been involved with Shakespeare at the Centre since the 2011 production of Twelfth Night, making this his ninth show with the group. Other notable acting credits include Macbeth (Seyton), Creature Creeps (Mord), Sagebrush (Undertaker/Chorus), The Haunted Widow Lincoln (Lawyer), A Midnight Clear: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (German Soldier), and many more. Matt is grateful to Toria and Julane for the opportunity to be back on stage, to the incredible cast, and to his family and friends for all their support.
Anne Page - Kayla Helene Jordan Kayla is thrilled to be a part of her first show with Shakespeare at the Centre, debuting as Anne Page in the Merry Wives of Windsor. Kayla has previously appeared in the productions: ‘Tristan and Isolde’ (Kahedin), ‘Widdershins’ (felicity), as well as the film ‘second chances’ (Anna). Kayla began her acting journey by studying at the New York Film Academy during their summer intensives before continuing her education at North central College where she minors in theater acting. She is so excited to perform alongside this cast and to learn all about the art of Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Sir John Falstaff - Ken Kadan Ken Kaden is delighted to be making his first appearance with Shakespeare at the Centre. He most recently appeared as Hank in the Elgin Theatre Company's Lou Recommended production of "The Tin Woman." Other favorite roles include Gomez Addams [Lou Award for Best Performer in a Leading Male Role - Musical], Max Bialystock, Fagin, Captain Hook, Tevye, Nathan Detroit, Vanya, and Malvolio. He adapted and directed Nick Hornby's "A Long Way Down" to benefit the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide. He also has served as the director of "The 39 Steps" and "Hauptmann" at Wheaton Drama and, with Sean Ogren, directed "As You Like It" for Bard in the Burbs. He is grateful to his director, and his co-conspirators, wife, sign language interpreter/actress/teacher, Patti Shore Kaden and son, Jeremy for all their support and forbearance.
Hostess - Rebecca Munoz Rebecca is thrilled to be back doing live theatre after two years and couldn’t be happier that it is with Shakespeare at the Centre. This is her debut performance with the company and she is so excited to be working with everyone. Previous acting credits include Eleemosynary (Artie), Cabaret (Frau. Schneider), Gideon’s Knot (Heather Clark), Pajama Game (Mae), Signficant Other (Vanessa), Defying Gravity (Betty), The Addams Family (Morticia), and many more. Rebecca also has dabbled in directing, stage management, dramaturgy, costume design, and scenic design. She graduated with a B.F.A in Theatre and a minor in Dance from Elmhurst University. She would like to thank Toria and Julane for giving her the opportunity to be back onstage, doing what she loves most, with a character as fun as the Hostess!
Pistol/Rugby/Jean - Stephanie Turner O'Kelley Stephanie is delighted to make her Shakespeare at the Center debut! She holds a BA in Musical Theatre from Elmhurst University. Previous credits include Cabaret (Texas), Violet (Young Violet), and The Pajama Game (Pat) at Elmhurst University, as well as The Addams Family (Alice Beinecke), Much Ado About Nothing (Hero), and Girls Like That (Ensemble) at College of DuPage. Stephanie is ecstatic to return to the stage for her first post-COVID show. Much thanks to family, friends, and her husband, Christian, for their never ending love and support.
Sir Hugh Evans - Thomas Rieser MERRY WIVES is Tom’s fourth appearance with Shakespeare at the Center, and was previously seen in COMEDY OF ERRORS, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM. Tom is a published playwright who has also directed and performed in many productions over the last 65 years. Recently Tom portrayed the garrulous barfly Gaston in PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE at Riverfront in Aurora and with Grove Players in Downers Grove. He wishes his knees were more supportive of his endeavors, and thanks all body parts for their continuing, yet strained, co-operation.
Fenton/Nym/Robert - Nikolai Sorokin Nikolai Sorokin is thrilled to be making his Shakespeare at the Centre debut! He is currently studying Acting and Graphic Design at North Central College. Recent credits include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown), Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour Krelborn), Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Prince/the Wolf), and The Crucible (Judge Danforth). While he does not in this show, he also loves to sing and won the NATS Chicago Chapter Musical Theatre Voice competition in 2020. To see more of his singing/acting, check out his Instagram @nikanasor! It’s been such an exciting opportunity to work with this cast and crew and he is so thankful for the experience!
William Page/Robin/Peter Simple - Chris Turner Chris is delighted to make his debut at Shakespeare at the Centre in the Merry Wives of Windsor. He recently graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Theatre Education, where he studied creative drama, Playback Theatre, and Arts Integration. Recent acting credits include Guys and Dolls (Harry the Horse), Yellow Inn (Gravedigger), Bent (Wolf/Kapo), and A Green River (Jeff) at Illinois State and Curse of the Starving Class (Wesley) at College of DuPage. He would like to thank his family, his girlfriend Alex, and his friends for their support throughout the process.
Stage Manager - Alisha Keane A pastor/actor with pink or purple hair. Pretty much sums up the contradictions & edges. Excited to be of help to the production & to be part of the Merry
DIRECTOR - Toria Hollyn A true child of the theatre, Toria Hollyn has made the stage her home for more than 30 years. Whether she is acting, directing, designing, or building, the stage is truly her happy place. She received her B.A. in Speech Communication/Theatre and English Literature from North Central College, where she met Julane while performing in her first Shakespeare production. Since then, she has been actively involved with various theatres throughout the Chicago suburbs onstage, on creative teams, and behind the scenes. With Shakespeare at the Centre, she appeared in "Much Ado About Nothing" (2015) and "Love's Labour's Lost" (2017), and she happily returns to the role of director after having helmed "The Tempest" in 2019.