Red Velvet transports the audience to an 1833 rehearsal of Othello…
…for an electrifying moment in theatre history. Though the conversations are imagined by playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, many of the players are based on real people. Let’s meet the cast:
IRA ALDRIDGE (1807-1867) – Aldridge begins his acting career with one of the earliest known African-American theatre companies, the African Grove Theatre in New York City. Its members performed Shakespeare’s plays and their own. Finding little other opportunity in America as an actor of color, Aldridge sets out for England. In 1828, he becomes director of a theatre in Coventry. The road is stony, but in time, he will become an international sensation. CHRISTIAN GIBBS, of Silver Spring, MD, is making his CSC debut as Aldridge. He has appeared with Prince George’s County Shakespeare in the Park as Orlando in As You Like It, and understudied for the roles of Agrippa and Soothsayer in Antony and Cleopatra with Folger Shakespeare. He holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from Howard University.
EDMUND KEAN (1787-1833)-– A renowned tragedian with a turbulent life, the British actor Edmund Kean is central to the plot of Red Velvet, though absent from the stage. In the early 1800s, he is England’s top Shakespearean actor, and leads the company at the prestigious Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in the heart of London’s West End. On March 25, 1833, Kean collapses on stage while performing as Othello. How will the show go on?
CHARLES KEAN — An accomplished actor, Charles Kean nevertheless works in his father’s shadow. Charles plays Iago. He is the presumed heir to the theatre company’s leadership and the role of Othello. However, the Theatre Royal’s manager has another actor in mind, one never before seen on the London stage. CSC Resident Acting Company Member RON HENEGHAN* appears as Charles Kean. Recent roles with CSC include Brutus in Julius Caesar, and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, among many others. His credits in the region include Olney Theatre Center, Everyman Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, and Alliance for New Music Theatre. Ron is CSC’s Director of Education. *He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.
ELLEN TREE — A prominent British actress who toured Europe and America, she is engaged to marry Charles Kean. She plays Desdemona to Edmund Kean’s Othello. Her fiance urges her to leave the show when Aldridge is hired. LAURA ROCKLYN, a CSC Resident Acting Company Member, appears as Ellen Tree. With CSC, she has appeared as Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol, Jane in Wild Oats, Miss Wells in Dracula, and Ophelia in Hamlet, among others. She holds an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University, a BA from Middlebury College, and a Shakespeare Certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
BERNARD WARDE – The 1833 playbill for Theatre Royal’s Othello lists actors Warde, Forrester, and Lovell among the cast. In Red Velvet, Warde is an experienced actor with traditional views, who must change roles on short notice after the elder Kean falls ill. DAVE GAMBLE, a CSC Company Member, appears as Warde. He doubles as TERENCE, Aldridge’s loyal valet and dresser. Dave has appeared with CSC in Wild Oats, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Richard II, among others. He has performed with Folger Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Fells Point Corner Theatre, and Molotov Theater Group.
HENRY FORRESTER – In Red Velvet, this Othello cast member is played as a young actor who questions the theatre industry’s casting traditions. SEAMUS MILLER, a CSC Resident Acting Company Member, appears as Forrester. Miller also appears as CASIMIR, a stage-hand in the theatre in Lodz, Poland, where an aging Aldridge arrives to perform in King Lear. Seamus has appeared with CSC in Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Wild Oats, and Titus Andronicus, among others. He holds an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University and a degree from Cornell University.
Our production team includes:
SCENIC DESIGN – Tim Jones
LIGHTING DESIGN – Daniel O’Brien
SOUND DESISGN – Cheryl Williams
COSTUME DESIGN – Kristina Lambdin
PROPERTIES DESIGN – Mollie Singer
PRODUCTION MANAGER – Kyle Rudgers
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER – Alexis E. Davis
RED VELVET by Lolita Chakrabarti is on stage February 2 – 25, 2018 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 South Calvert Street, Baltimore 21202. BOX OFFICE: 410-244-8571.