Category Archives: 2014

All our past projects and productions from 2014.

Problem Solving with the Bard: Shakespeare in the Special Education Classroom


Hello, Teaching Artists, Teachers, Administrators, and all you Arts Education minded people!!

Welcome to our series of Open Source Shakespeare in the Special Education Classroom Workshops made possible by a Creative Curricula Grant from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and New York State Council on the Arts

Please read, download, and use! And let us know what you think! Also check out our daily blog by Teaching Artists Leah Reddy, Sarah Eismann, and Kasey Brown as they report from the classroom.

Problem Solving with the Bard: Shakespeare in the Special Education Classroom

10 Workshop residency in partnership with Manhattan School for Career Development

Artist/Educator Inquiry question: How does adapting and performing Shakespeare help students develop career readiness skills?

Residency Thematic Question: How does an ensemble create a personalized adaptation of Romeo and Juliet?


Residency Overview

Romeo and Juliet Summary

Pre-Residency Survey Questions

Workshop #1: Make It Physical20141002_093851

THEMATIC QUESTION: How does an actor use body language and facial expression to reveal character?

KNOW (Facts, Information, Vocabulary): Romeo & Juliet given circumstances: characters, relationships, Prince’s law; stage, audience, body language, facial expression

UNDERSTAND (Comprehension of the big ideas): how to use their bodies to reveal a character (feeling and personality)

DO (Active demonstration of learning): create a tableau showing the feuding families

Workshop #2: Put It In Your Own Words

Workshop #3: Stage Pictures

Workshop #4: Speaking With Expression

Workshop #5: Listening and Responding

Workshop #6: Listening and Responding in Character

Workshop #7: Physical Character Day

Workshop #8: First Rehearsal – Putting It All Together

Workshop #9: Second Rehearsal – Focus

Workshop #10: Performance!


We’re an #AWBgrantee!


AWB_LogoThat’s right!! We are thrilled, excited and honored to announce we are now a grantee of Awesome Without Borders! @AwesomeWithoutBorders has selected us as an #AWBgrantee! They are our Awesome Angels 🙂 A chapter of the Awesome Foundation, AWB gives $1,000 nostrings-attached weekly grants to awesome initiatives worldwide. To learn more about their work, click here.

MSP’s 2014 FREE Shakespeare in the ParkS: Romeo and Juliet was chosen! Learn more about our project here:

“What light through yonder window breaks? Why, old William himself, according to Sarah Eismann! She believes the power of Shakespeare & storytelling can bring greater empathy into our lives. To prove it, she’s staging a series of free performances of Romeo & Juliet across New York City’s parks.

Through the Manhattan Shakespeare Project, people from Central Park, Harlem, and Brooklyn have had their hearts & imaginations rekindled by the impassioned words & personas of the world’s most prominent playwright. These performances stand out from most Shakespearean productions in three ways: they’re performed outdoors, they’re free, and they feature an entirely female cast & crew. Each performance is a festival in itself, with singing and dancing erupting from throngs of thrilled audiences!

Things are only going to get better in 2014, as MSP branches out into more venues, and bridges more communities through timeless tales that speak straight to the shared human condition. A grant will help ease the burden of compensating the dauntless artists and assistants who make each production a resounding success.”

“The Awesome Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is pooled together from the coffers of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees” and given upfront in cash, check, or gold doubloons. The chapters are autonomous and organized by the trustees around geographic areas or topics of interest. The Foundation provides these grants with no strings attached and claims no ownership over the projects it supports. It is, in the words of one of our trustees, a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance.” To date, 95 chapters have been established in over 21 countries, with 1000+ projects funded.

In early 2013, The Harnisch Foundation teamed up with The Awesome Foundation and the chapter Awesome Without Borders was born!!

We are enthusiastically and eternally grateful to this group of extraordinary women. Our Awesome Angels 🙂 Thank you!!


IndieGoGo Launched! Help MSP bring Shakespeare to the Special Education Classroom!


Our 2014 Season IndieGoGo has launched!2014-05-29 18.24.22

In addition to raising funds to pay the fabulous artists involved
with 2014 FREE Shakespeare in the ParkS ROMEO & JULIET we are very excited to officially announce the launch of our Fall Education Program!

We started the year off with an amazing $3,100 grant from LMCC and NYSCA which funds half the budget for Problem Solving with the Bard: Shakespeare in the Special 2014-05-23 19.56.30Education Classroom.

Our wish is for the full program (8 classroom sessions, 57 teaching hours) to run this fall, so we are reaching out to you for your help in making this happen.

Even a $20 tax deductible contribution will add teaching hours with these amazing kids at Manhattan School for Career Development.IMG_4194

Lots of companies do donation matching programs, ask at your place of employment and double the impact of your contribution!

For the full campaign and donation link please visit:

Please share this e-mail, tweet, facebook, and anything else you can think of!  We rely on the support of people like you and are extremely appreciative for all your help!2014-05-29 18.43.05

Thank you!
Sarah & The MSP Team

Manhattan Shakespeare Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Manhattan Shakespeare Project must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

IMG_4217Problem Solving with the Bard: Shakespeare in the Special Education classroom is made possible in part with matching public funds from Creative Curricula, supported by New York State Council on the Arts and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.



2014 Romeo & Juliet


Donate now to help pay our wonderful artists!


Manhattan Shakespeare Project is proud to present our outdoor, 90 minute, all-female, signature FREE Shakespeare in the ParkS 2014 production of:



All Performances are FREE!!


Rain Policy: The show must go on! We perform rain or shine. We will never cancel a show before showtime. So come on out! Bring a slicker, bring an umbrella. Some of our best shows have been in mysterious and foggy weather 🙂




  • Kasey Brown
  • Amanda Boekelheide
  • Sarah Eismann
  • Caroline Lyons
  • Leah Reddy
  • Folami Williams



  • Director: Reesa Graham
  • Assistant Director / Stage Manager: Elissa Levitt

* * *

Kasey Brown is so excited to be making her debut with Manhattan Shakespeare Project! Kasey received a B.A. in theater and psychology from Boston College. Kasey is a lifelong lover of the works of Shakespeare, and has played such roles as Viola (Twelfth Night), Princess (Love’s Labours Lost), Don John (Much Ado About Nothing), and others. When Kasey is not acting, she is assistant directing and pursuing her other passion- social justice. Many thanks to the cast, Reesa, Elissa, Varun, Jules, Ted, and my wonderful family!

Amanda_BoekelheideAmanda Boekelheide Most recent & fun professional roles were Town Cryers & ensemble in The Whistling Mortician, Blowfish in Heist, Iphigenia in Iph.then, Scarlett, Rhonda & Lilly in Lion in the
Streets, & Olga in Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s adaptation of
Chekhov’s Three Sisters.  Favorite Columbia University roles include Bosola in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, Inez in Satre’s No Exit, & The Secretary (Death) in Camus’ The State of Siege. Travel for performance & study for theatrical purposes has included Peking Opera in China, Indonesian classical & rural dance styles as well as Gamelan in Surakarta, Indonesia, & Classical Buddhist Nepalese dance in Nepal.

Sarah Eismann is absolutely thrilled to be working with such a talented and exciting cast and crew on this production. A recent MFA Acting graduate from Columbia University, Sarah got her BFA in Drama at Tisch School for the Arts at NYU. She also trained with the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has performed with the Tony Award winning Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, California Shakespeare Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Woman’s Will, improv troupes Tilted Frame SF, Middle School Poetry, and RadioStar Network.

Caroline_LyonsCaroline Lyons is currently a sophomore BFA Acting major at Pace University and is very excited to be apart of this project. She just finished her first New York Theater project as an actor/deviser on the Clearing Company’s production of hOMAge, which was presented at the Venus Theater Festival. In her two years at Pace, she has performed in three student directed productions: Skin in Flames, Hamlet and Wildflower. She would like to thank Sarah and Reesa for this amazing opportunity and the cast of Romeo and Juliet for being such beautiful artists to learn across of. Much Love!

Leah Reddy Most recently appeared as First Daughter Polly Jefferson in My First Lady at the Metropolitan Playhouse. Shakespeare: Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Maria in Twelfth Night with Frog and Peach. She rocked a bedazzled water pistol as Dixie in a glam rok version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Schapiro Theatre, Columbia U. Leah is a teaching artist, writer, and photographer. Follow her @leahmariereddy.

Folami Williams is incredibly excited to be working with Manhattan Shakespeare Company, for the second time around on such a challenging and wonderful piece of theatre! She is glad to take this plunge with a wonderful cast of women by her side. A graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Drama, her past productions included For Colored Girls…HAIRTwo Gentlemen of Verona, and Day of Absence. Since coming to New York City, her other work includes; Auto De FeReconstruction (International WOW Company); King LearIs There Room in Your Heart (Teatro La TEA), AUTOMOTIVE (East River Commedia).

* * *

Reesa Graham (Director) BA in Theater & Psychology from the University of Houston. With a bed in Harlem and a heart from Texas, Reesa is excited to be back to Shakespeare and with such a talented and wonderful group of ladies! As a director, some of her favorite productions include William Mastrosimone’s The Woolgatherer, David Mamet’s Oleanna, Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, and Edna O’Brien’s Triptych. She was also Resident Director of BareShakespeare where she directed All’s Well That Ends Well and Cymbeline. Recently, she founded the art’s collective known as Dare Lab (a safe space for theatre experimentation). She is also the former Artistic Director of Get the Gun Productions for three years, while teaching at Main Street Theatre in Houston Texas. She has studied with Jose Quintero and Marshall Mason, and worked closely with Lanford Wilson at the Albee New Playwrights Festival. As always, love to Mom, Daddy and Nonny.