Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Announces Cast For The Winter’s Tale

The main-stage production for this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is the classic dramatic comedy “The Winter’s Tale,” set to take place June 2-25 at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. The celebrated theater company recently announced the exceptional cast list, featuring festival veterans Charles Pasternak and Cherie Corinne Rice in the production’s two leading roles.

Now in its 17th season, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has become a pillar of excellence and innovation in the region’s theatre community, annually presenting audiences with the perfect mix of tradition and original artistry. “The diversity of experiences and backgrounds makes this one of our strongest casts to date. It will be a company of many familiar faces to our audiences, a bit like a reunion,” said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director for the festival.

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One of those familiar faces will be Bruce Longworth, associate artistic director for the festival and director of this year’s summer production. “The Winter’s Tale” will be Longworth’s fourth time directing a major production for the festival, having previously directed “Henry V” in 2014, “Othello” in 2012 and “Hamlet” in 2010. Another familiar face will be Cherie Corinne Rice, who played Bianca in the Festival’s 2012 production of “Othello.” Currently the head of Voice and Speech at the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City, Rice will be returning to St. Louis to play the role of Queen Hermione in this year’s summer show. Performing opposite Rice as King Leontes in the festival’s show this summer will be Charles Pasternak. Originally from LA, Pasternak is a classically trained actor as well as founder and artistic director of the LA-based Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis also welcomes back other festival veterans, including Rachel Christopher, playing Paulina; Andy Matthews, playing Camillo; Antonio Rodriguez, playing Shepherd’s Son; and Chauncy Thomas, playing Polixenes. Two recent graduates of Webster University’s renowned conservatory program will also grace the stage this year: Cassia Thompson, playing Perdita, and Myke Andrews. Current Webster University students making their festival debut in June include Andrew Oppman, Sigrid Wise and Delaney Piggins. “The Winter’s Tale” also marks Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’s third collaborative project with St. Louis-based Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra. The ensemble will be composing original music for the production.

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Of this year’s cast, Dildine explains, “Bruce and I were looking for individuals who could portray the diversity of the human experience, something this production unveils with its numerous moments of magic, redemption, love and forgiveness. Overall our cast ranges in age from 10 years old and up, they come from across the country and represent all pockets of St. Louis.”

Preview performances for “The Winter’s Tale” are scheduled for Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1. The show officially kicks off on Friday, June 2. Performances will run every night of the week—except Tuesdays—and begin at 8pm, with the Green Show beginning at 6:30pm before each performance. Each Friday night Green Show of the production will also feature a special treat: a 20-minute version of “The Winter’s Tale” performed by the festival’s advance teen ensemble, the Shakespeare Squadron.

General admission is free, with ticketed and reserved seating available online and in the park.

Feature image courtesy of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Cover Photo by © J. David Levy

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