Meet the amazing cast and creative team
behind this once-in-a-lifetime production
An epic parent-child drama and then some, Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy begins as fairy tale (“Once upon a time there was an old king who had three daughters…”) and ends in nightmare—of homelessness, alienation, family strife, and civil war. Starring local acting legend Rick Foucheux as Lear.
Sara Barker (Edgar) has worked with Avant Bard on Othello (Desdemona), Orlando (Orlando), Mary Stuart (Elizabeth), Six Characters in Search of an Author (Stepdaughter), The House of Yes (Jackie-O), The Cherry Orchard (Varya), The Mistorical Hystery of Henry (I)V (Hotspur), Lulu (Lulu), and The Miser (La Fleece). Credits also include Factory 449’s 448 Psychosis, Rorschach’s A Maze (Oksana), Scena’s The Importance of Being Earnest (Algernon). NYC credits include The Brick’s King Lear (King Lear), Hipgnosis Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale (Paulina), and Josh Fox’s Limitless Joy. Sara is a graduate of St. John’s College and a company member with Avant Bard, Rorschach Theatre, and Factory 449. www.sarabarker.com/acting
Frank Britton (Cornwall) is an eight-year member of Avant Bard’s Acting Company, and King Lear marks his 14th production with the company. A native Washingtonian, and a nearly 15-year veteran of the DC and regional theatre scene, he is a two-time Helen Hayes Award nominee and a Founding Member of force/collision. He has appeared with many area theatres, most recently Washington Stage Guild (Back to Methuselah: As Far As Thought Can Reach); Imagination Stage (The Freshest Snow Whyte); Theater Alliance (Black Nativity 2016); 1st Stage (Floyd Collins, When The Rain Stops Falling), and NextStop Theatre Company (Deathtrap). Numerous other local appearances include productions with Arena Stage, Round House Theatre, Synetic Theater, Rorschach Theatre (Company Member), Spooky Action Theater, Theater Alliance, Firehouse Theatre (Richmond, VA), Forum Theatre, SCENA Theatre, Venus Theatre, Constellation Theatre Company, and Pinky Swear Productions. Regionally, he has appeared on stages from Raleigh, NC (Burning Coal Theatre Co.), Williamsburg, VA (Virginia Shakespeare Festival), Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, and New York City (La MaMa ETC). Many, many thanks to Tom, Keta, Kristina, and the Cast and Crew.
Tiffany Byrd (Doctor/Ensemble) is thrilled to return to the Avant Bard stage after an exhilarating run as Antigone in The Gospel at Colonus! A native of Northern Virginia, Tiffany has performed in and around the DMV as an actress, teaching artist, and salsa dancer. Her previous credits include Sister Act (Deloris), In the Heights (Vanessa), Caroline, or Change (Radio 3), and the world premiere of Carmen: an Afro-Cuban Musical directed by Moises Kaufman. Tiffany received her BFA in theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University. John 8:12.
Louis E. Davis (Oswald) is thrilled to be making his Avant Bard debut in this production of King Lear. You may have seen him at Imagination Stage: The Freshest Snow Whyte; Mosaic Theater Co.: Charm; Folger Theatre: Second Shepherd’s Play; Theater Alliance: Word Becomes Flesh, Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea; Rorschach Theatre: A Bid to Save the World, She Kills Monsters; and We Happy Few: CHALK. Some television credits include Investigation Discovery Channel’s, House of Horrors: Abducted & Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry… Louis holds a BFA from Howard University. “Thank you Ma for everything, I love you!”
Vince Eisenson (Kent) is pleased to return to Avant Bard, where he appeared in The Tooth of Crime. Recent productions include Fear at Longacre Lea, The Merchant of Venice at Faction of Fools, Wild Oats, Macbeth, and the title role in Richard III at Chesapeake Shakespeare, where he is a company member. He has also performed with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger, Lean & Hungry, Synetic, Barrabas Theatre, and PlayMakers Rep. TV credits include American Genius and Turn: Washington’s Spies.
Rick Foucheux (Lear) is very pleased to be making his Avant Bard debut and to be reunited with longtime friends and colleagues—artists with whom he has worked for the past 35 years. He has appeared at many of the area’s finest theatres playing a wide range of roles, including the title character in Woolly Mammoth’s Cooking With Elvis, which Tom Prewitt directed in 2003. Rick is a Helen Hayes Awardee, a Lunt Fontanne Fellow, and an adjunct member of the theatre faculty at George Washington University.
Christian R. Gibbs (Albany) is grateful to create with this phenomenal cast. Recently he understudied Tuzanbach in both Three Sisters and Aaron Posner’s No Sisters at Studio Theatre. With Avant Bard, Christian was last seen as Theseus and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Don Juan in Friendship Betrayed.
Christopher Henley (The Fool/The King of France), a founding Ensemble Member and Artistic Director Emeritus, directed our last Lear (1994), Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest (2004), and Richard III (2010), in addition to much else (including Caligula and Camille: a tearjerker). He has played for us Richard II, Falstaff, Henry IV, Lysander, Jacques, Horatio, Caska, Don John, Don Pedro, MacDuff, Son of MacDuff, Duncan, Donalbain, Cardinal Pandulph, and two Antonios, in The Tempest (1993) and The Two Gentleman of Verona (Bard on Wheels version), in addition to many other roles (most recently Truman Capote in Holiday Memories).
Cam Magee (Gloucester) is a company member of Avant Bard. She has appeared in and/or dramaturged 19 of Avant Bard’s Shakespeare productions. Her Avant Bard credits include Aurélie in The Madwoman of Chaillot, Eleanor/Pembroke in King John, Juno in Juno and the Paycock, the Countess in All’s Well That Ends Well, and Hannah Jelkes in The Night of the Iguana. She has appeared at The Folger Theatre, Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, American Century Theatre, Theater J, Source Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, and the Washington Stage Guild (for which she received a Helen Hayes nomination for Mrs. Cheveley in An Ideal Husband).
Dylan Morrison Myers (Edmund) is thrilled to be making his debut with Avant Bard and chasing the storm with these players. Other recent work around town includes Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies, Mosaic Theatre; Wild Sky, Solas Nua; When the Rain Stops Falling, 1st Stage.; Terminus, Studio Theatre. Dylan has also shared the stage with Folger Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Constellation Theatre, Washington Stage Guild, and Rorschach Theatre. BFA in Theatre from Western Kentucky U.
Alyssa Sanders (Goneril) is thrilled to be working with Avant Bard, especially as one of her favorite roles was Emilia in its production of Othello. Most recently she was seen as Beth in Peter’s Alley Theatre’s production of Dinner With Friends. Other local theaters she has worked for include Quotidian Theatre Company (company member), Lean & Hungry Theater (company member), Venus Theatre, Studio Theatre, Adventure Theatre. Training: American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Brandeis University, Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory. www.alyssasanders.com
Charlene V. Smith (Regan) is the Artistic Director of Brave Spirits Theatre. Directing credits include ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Antony and Cleopatra (Helen Hayes Recommended), The Bloody Banquet (Co-Director), and The Two Noble Kinsmen. She has an MLitt and MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College in partnership with the American Shakespeare Center. This summer she can also be seen at the Capital Fringe Festival in LiveArtDC’s Clara Bow: Becoming It. www.charlenevsmith.com
Greg Watkins (First Servant and Ensemble), a born and bred Washington, DC, native, returns to Avant Bard after playing Polyneices in The Gospel of Colonus. He is a well-respected artist and virtuoso singer, pianist, musical director, composer and arranger, actor, and voice talent and a brilliantly pure entertainer. A proud graduate of The Duke Ellington School of the Arts and The Howard University (BM, Music Education), he has opened concerts for six-time Stellar Award Winner Byron Cage, nine-time Grammy Award winner the late Natalie Cole, and the most awarded eclectic a cappella group in history: Take 6. Most recently Greg has been accepted to attend Catholic University as a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Voice, and he will soon return to the Kennedy Center to reprise his role as iconic jazz musician Billy Strayhorn in Tom Minter’s newest adaptation of Blues for a Royal Flush. https://m.facebook.com/theofficialgregwatkins/
Kathryn Zoerb (Cordelia) is thankful and thrilled to be making her Avant Bard debut. She is an Associated Artist with Faction of Fools and most recently appeared in its production of The Miser as Valère and La Flèche. Other recent credits include The Incest Rep: ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore and A King and No King (Brave Spirits Theatre) and The Second Shepherds’ Play (u/s Folger Theatre). She has also had the privilege of working with Rep Stage, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, Imagination Stage, and Compass Rose Theater. Kathryn received her BA in Theatre and Music from the University of Pittsburgh and studied Physical Theatre and Commedia dell’Arte at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. She currently studies voice with Gran Wilson and is a proud Equity Membership Candidate. www.KathrynZoerb.com
CREATIVE TEAM AND PRODUCTION CREW
Thompson Prewitt (Director), now in his fifth season as Artistic and Executor of Avant Bard,, most recently staged Holiday Memories, Othello, and the Helen Hayes Award-winning production of Visible Language. Previous credits for the theatre include King John, No Man’s Land, and Six Characters in Search of an Author. Prewitt’s abiding interest in education and theatre for social change continues this year through partnerships he helped to develop with HB Woodlawn Secondary School as well as Arlington-based 296 Project, which works with veterans and their families, using the arts to overcome effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury. He currently serves on the Board of Governors for theatreWashington/Helen Hayes Awards, the Artistic Advisory Panel for the Mead Theatre Lab Program (CulturalDC), and Arlington County’s Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.
Jonathan Dahm Robertson (Scenic Designer) is a scenic and projections designer for theater and opera. Opera credits: Peter Grimes (Princeton Festival); The Consul (A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute). Theater credits: The Christians (Theater J); Bloody Poetry (CUA); One Slight Hitch (Totem Pole Playhouse); Assassins, Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, All My Sons, When you Comin’ Back Red Ryder (HMTCA); Wish List , The Magi (The Hub); and Coolatully (Solas Nua). Jonathan is a graduate from UNCSA, and was a 2015-16 Kenan Fellow at the Kennedy Center. Upcoming work: Fidelio (Princeton Festival). He is also the Resident Scenic Designer at the In Series. For more: www.jdahmrobertson.com
John D. Alexander (Lighting Designer) is excited to make his debut with Avant Bard. His recent designs include the national tour of The Migration: Reflections of Jacob Lawrence presented by Step Afrika!, Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith, Blackberry Winter by Steve Yockey, Darius & Twig by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, and the national tour of Anne and Emmett by Janet Langhart Cohen. http://www.johndalexanderdesign.com
Elizabeth S. Ennis (Costume Designer) is thrilled to be back in Arlington and working with Avant Bard again! After graduating with her BA from American University in 2010, Elizabeth spent five years freelancing in the DC Metro area as a costume designer, stitcher, and dresser. Highlights of her time in DC include working with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Synetic Theater, Gallaudet University, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and, of course, Avant Bard. This is her fifth show with Avant Bard, following Othello, Visible Language, Nero/Pseudo, and King John. Elizabeth is currently based out of Philadelphia where she is pursuing her MFA in Costume Design at Temple University. She returns this fall to complete her third and final year. www.esennis.com
Justin Schmitz (Sound Designer and Composer) is so thankful to be back with Avant Bard for King Lear! Justin is a proud member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association and USITT. He has designed for The Kennedy Center and TYA, Signature Theatre, Round House, Theater J, Olney Theatre Center, Woolly Mammoth, Studio Theatre, Imagination Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Rorschach Theatre, Forum Theatre, Avant Bard, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Triad Stage, Catholic University, Gallaudet University, The University of Maryland, among others. He is a Helen Hayes 2017 nominee for his work on I Call My Brothers with Forum Theatre. Design fellowships include The Kennedy Center in 2015 through the Kenan Institute, KCACTF to attend The Orchard Project in 2011, and Chautauqua Theatre Company in 2013. He holds an MFA in Sound Design from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and a BA from The University of Wisconsin–La Crosse in Theatre Design, Technology, and Stage Management. www.justinschmitztheatre.com
Audrey Bodek (Properties Designer) is a freelance set designer and props master in the DC area. Most recently she was a Kenan Fellow at the Kennedy Center for Scenic Design and the Resident Assistant Scenic Designer at Theater J. Props credits include City of Angels (Catholic University of America) and Coping (Capital Fringe Festival). www.audreybodek.com.
Casey Kaleba (Fight Director) returns to Avant Bard having worked on previous productions of Othello, Night and Day, and Lulu. Recent work includes productions at the Guthrie Theatre (King Lear), Signature Theatre (Jesus Christ Superstar, Midwestern Gothic), and Rorschach Theatre (Forgotten Kingdoms). www.toothandclawcombat.com
Christine Hirrel (Vocal Coach) has prevously worked with Avant Bard on TAME., Othello, Orlando, No Man’s Land, There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, and Equus, among others. Her area credits include The Kennedy Center, Theater J, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Christine holds an MA in Speech-Language Pathology and a BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland.
Keta Newborn (Production Manager/Stage Manager) is thrilled to be joining Avant Bard for her second production, having been the Stage Manager on The Gospel at Colonus. As a freelancer, Keta has worked in the world of theatre for over 10 years. She has held several titles including SM, ASM, Venue Manager, Production Assistant, Light & Sound Board Ops, and now Production Manager. Her past credits include: The New Play Festival (YPT), Little Thing, Big Thing (Solas Nua), Yellowman (Anacostia Playhouse), Black Nativity and Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (Theater Alliance), Leto Legend and Failure: A Love Story (The Hub), Secret Garden and Gidion’s Knot (Next Stop), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, How We Got On, and Gidion’s Kn0t (Forum), The Flick and How We Got On (Company One), to name a few. Keta would like to thank the whole Avant Bard cast and crew and Gunston Theatre for being apart of an amazing show! She thanks G_d for the opportunity to be used as one of His vessels, working to bring His work of art into the hearts of many while doing what she loves. www.newbornketa.com
Kristina Jackson (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be working with the wonderful and talented actors and crew on her first Avant Bard production. As a Stage Manager and Theatre Technician, Kristina has been in the theatre industry for six years, splitting between London and California working on productions including Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, Peter and the Starcatcher, South Pacific, Dodging Eden, The Glass Menagerie. She would like to thank Tom for all his support and is honored to be a part of this team.
Quill Nebeker (Assistant Director) recently returned to Avant Bard’s staff as Director of Audience Engagement, and serves as the Assistant Director for King Lear. He is also one of the Head Summoners for The Tarot Reading, a one-of-a-kind evening of revels and revelations (ask him about it!). Quill has worked on creative teams for The Source Festival, Capital Fringe, Theatre Alliance, Forum Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, and The Hub Theatre. Previously with Avant Bard, he assistant-directed King John (2013) and works regularly with the Scripts in Play series. He would like to thank his folks and Rebecca for their support, and his cats Eleanor and Juniper for their mild contempt.
Brett Steven Abelman (Dramaturg) is a DC-native creator of stories. He is a proud producing playwright with The Welders. Recent projects include co-creating Play Cupid and Balloon Plays at Capital Fringe Festivals. Brett also reviews at DC Theatre Scene and sometimes blogs at babelwright.wordpress.com.