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Shakespeare Under the Stars in West Hartford to Feature ‘Othello’

Outdoor festival seating for Shakespeare Under the Stars at the University of Saint Joseph. Submitted photo

The Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival, held outdoors and the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, will featured performances of ‘Othello’ with additional family entertainment and timely discussions taking place.

Outdoor festival seating for Shakespeare Under the Stars at the University of Saint Joseph. Submitted photo

Outdoor festival seating for Shakespeare Under the Stars at the University of Saint Joseph. Submitted photo


This summer, Capital Classics stages a play as timely now as it was over 400 years ago — “Othello” (Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, duplicity and destruction), as part of the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival, which runs for three weekends (July 14–31, 2016), outdoors on the grounds of the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT.

Performances are held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

The play tells the story of Othello, a victorious general in the ongoing wars who has become newly married as the curtain opens. He is reveling in the greatest moments of his life. Slowly his imagination is poisoned by Iago, his trusted advisor, whose ulterior motives lead him to stage the destruction of this happiness. As his world unravels, Othello’s quick decisions and missteps rapidly spiral, and hero transforms to villain in one of Shakespeare’s most haunting and emotionally powerful tragedies.

Jovan Davis (Othello), Geoffrey Sheehan (Iago) and Juliana Bearse (Desdemona). Submitted photo

Jovan Davis (Othello), Geoffrey Sheehan (Iago) and Juliana Bearse (Desdemona). Submitted photo

“Othello” will be directed by Capital Classics Artistic Associate Michael Nowicki, a resident of Hartford who serves on the Core Faculty in Theater at the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

“Although ‘Othello’ is inextricably about race, the play is really an exploration of the depth of fear and prejudice,” said Nowicki. “Increasingly, we live in an inclusive world, where we are invited to understand other cultures, customs, habits and traditions. Because of this, our own humanity has become more diverse than ever before. And still, when confronted with rash moments, our actions show that we remain plagued by our deep-seated fears. There are still far too many examples of split-second decisions going awry in our city, our state, our country and our world.”

As Connecticut’s oldest, continuously running Shakespeare festival, Capital Classics has a reputation for making Shakespeare accessible and affordable, and the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival draws thousands of fans, who turn out each summer with their family and friends – and picnic baskets – on the grounds of the University of Saint Joseph to enjoy outdoor “Shakespeare under the stars.”

The cast of “Othello” includes Jovan Davis (Othello), Juliana Bearse (Desdemona), Geoffrey Sheehan (Iago), Griffin Kulp (Cassio), Laura Sheehan (Emilia), Will Matus (Roderigo), James Hyland (Brabantio, Gratiano), George Sebastian-Coleman (Duke/Lodovico), Emma Krishnaswami (Bianca), Alex Szwed (Montano, Attendant), and Jhulenty Delossantos (First Officer, Gentleman, Attendant).

Jovan Davis (Othello) is a Connecticut-born actor who has recently taken his acting endeavors to NYC with the Black Revolutionary Theatre Workshop. “Othello” will be Jovan’s fourth production with Capital Classics, where he’s played the roles of Dracula in Capital Classics’ radio-theatre Halloween production of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” in 2014, Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2010, Boatswain/Officer in “The Tempest” in 2009, and Osric in “Hamlet” in 2008.

Juliana Bearse (Desdemona) is a Vernon native and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. She has also trained classically with the Theatre Academy London and worked regionally with the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and ArtFarm.

Geoffrey Sheehan (Iago) is a co-founder of Capital Classics, as well as a theater arts professor and program coordinator at the Housatonic Community College. Geoff has acted and directed productions with Capital Classics for the past 25 years.

Audience members are encouraged to arrive early to the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival to enjoy pre-show entertainment, such as Youth in Community Arts performances on Thursdays; the Elizabethan Consort and the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop on Fridays; local music groups for Prize Night on Saturdays; and lectures by local experts for the “Professor Series” on Sundays. Be sure to visit CapitalClassics.org or HartfordShakespeare.org for the Festival calendar of events. More details are also available on the Capital Classics Facebook page.

“Othello” and the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival are produced by the Capital Classics Theatre Company, in partnership with the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities. Capital Classics is committed to providing job opportunities and training to Connecticut’s professional and student theatre artists.


July 14 – 31, 2016; Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Held on the grounds of the University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut.

In case of rain, performances will be held inside the adjacent Hoffman Auditorium.

Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students/seniors (available at the door or at the Frances Driscoll Box office)(860) 231-5555; USJ.edu/arts


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