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The Shrew Blog 4-23-15


Margo Murphy-Gross – Stage Manager

IMG_20150426_112114Taming of the Shrew has been one of my favorite shows from a very young age, starting with a preteen obsession with Heath Ledger in “10 Things I Hate About You”. I have been lucky enough to work on a production of Taming two summers in a row now and find that this show holds so much for people to look at from so many perspectives. The rehearsal process thus far with MSP has been really wonderful. Looking at this show from an all-female perspective is a very emotional experience. Today’s rehearsal has me thinking a lot about what women thing of men’s tonality and physicality. Sarah having to find where Petruchio is scary or playful. During this rehearsal Sarah found something particularly powerful with Petruchio’s voice, finding the male tonality that I (and maybe others) react to emotionally and instantly. In addition to that flooring experience in today’s rehearsal there have been many moments watching women take over male characters during this rehearsal. I think that it’s very powerful to witness this and even adds power to the women (the people not just the actors) taking over these male characters. I am excited to watch the power dynamics between the characters and between the actors and the characters that they are taking on.

How do you code shift? When and with who do you use a “different” you? And why?


The Shrew Blog



This summer, June-July 2015, Manhattan Shakes will be performing Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew in our signature FREE Shakespeare in the ParkS production.

This story has been dubbed a “problem” play. We, the women working on this production, would like to share our thoughts and feelings about tackling this script.

Follow The Shrew Blog as we invite you into the rehearsal room and our interior monologues as women and as actors. In our own words.

April 22, 2015 – Kate Holland (Director)

April 23, 2015 – Margo Murphy-Gross (Stage Manager)

April 26, 2015 – Amy Frey (Tranio, Ensemble)

April 27, 2015 – Shannon Ward (Lucentio/Ensemble)

April 29, 2015 – Kate Holland (Director)

May 1, 2015 – Monica Jones (Katharina, Ensemble)

May 3, 2015 – Margo Murphy-Gross (Stage Manager)

May 5, 2015 – Shannon Ward (Lucentio/Ensemble)

May 9, 2015 – Carla Lerner (Tranio, Ensemble)


The Shrew Blog 4-22-15

Kate Holland – Director
IMG_20150426_113246Tonight we are looking at the wooing scene between Hortensio, Lucentio and Bianca. This scene is so delicious, full of innuendo and wordplay. It’s also the scene where we see how powerful Bianca is. Unlike Katharina, Bianca has learned the all the rules of the gender game and is a virtuosic player. While staying completely sweet and charming throughout the scene, she displays an ironclad will and a fierce intelligence. She is actually not all that different from her “shrewish” sister — she’s just a much more adaptable player.


Does Katharina learn to play? Is that what Petruchio is teaching her?


What happens to women who can’t or won’t play the role that society has ordained that they play?


To the good ones, the kind and quiet and undemanding ones, much is given, as long as they are beautiful. Katharina is like the wicked stepsisters and Cinderella all in one — cut off your heel and toes to fit in a glass slipper, and as long as you never make a peep again, you can marry the Prince.


Reminds me of Brene Brown’s work on shame, and how women most often feel shame when they have failed to do everything perfectly, and still maintain composure. Never let them see you sweat. Backwards, in heels.
Have you ever felt shame associated with your gender? Looking back on your younger experiences what advice would you give yourself?

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.