Tag Archives: Shakespeare

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?


New York Shakespeare Convention


Living Space Players did an amazing job creating the following to advertise for NYShakesCon and we thought, what the heck, why re-invent the wheel?!

The First Annual New York Shakespeare Convention!

Manhattan Shakespeare Project is a proud participant of the New York Shakespeare Convention! The NY ShakesCon is a gathering of New York based Shakespeare Companies hailing from all over the state. The convention is a great way for actors, writers, directors, producers, educators and plain ol’ fans of Willy Shakes to get in contact with up and coming companies producing the Bard’s work! There will be live music, food and drink!

After the convention there will be a performance of Romeo & Juliet done in 5 Way Shakespeare style! What does this mean? Well it means that each act of Romeo & Juliet will be presented by a different company!

The incredible companies that will be there include:

Bottoms Dream
Adirondack Shakespeare Co.
The Puppet Shakespeare Players
Spicy Witch Productions
Underling Productions

Living Space Players
The Night Shift 

And of course, yours truly!

Check out what BroadwayWorld.com has to say about it!

The Convention itself is free! To purchase tickets to 5 Ways Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet, click HERE

We hope to see you there!NYSC dark blue hashtag


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?

2015 Macbeth: Transformed


“Sarah and Amanda are two very talented actresses. They play different characters without skipping a beat.  Amanda especially can move her hands and body in a way, I could never dream of.”

~Rozanna Radakovich, Theatrechitchat.webs.com

“…Boekelheide and Eismann zig-zag through every inch of the room as the scenes unfold, declaiming their speeches from any available space… there is a very up-close and personal feel to this performance… shows that two women can take on the Thane and other principals in the play’s world, with chutzpah and conviction.”

~Deirdre Donovan, CurtainUp.com

“I was enthralled with every minute of tonight’s performance…I can’t wait to see more of your group!”

~Emily J


The Scottish Play is here!!

Tickets on sale now!!  

2 Women 1 Stage Manager and over 32 guest artists. Each performance will feature 2 new voice over actors and YOU the audience.


Macbeth: The Unsex Me Here Project

has become

Macbeth: Transformed

April 1 -19
Wednesday – Sunday
Tickets $10
Access Theater Gallery, 380 Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Conceived and Performed by
Amanda Boekelheide
Sarah Eismann


And A Stage Manager!
Rachel A. Jerome

Over 32 rotating guest artists

PLUS an Amazing Production Team
Tech Designer – Antonio Consuegra
Lighting Designer – Samantha Davis, Greg Purnell
Sound Designer – Jacob Subotnick
Movement – Michael Mullen
Social Media Guru – Caroline Lyons
Graphic Design – SopArt Studio
Publicity – HellerHighwaterPR

* * *

Amanda_BoekelheideAmanda Boekelheide (past MSP: 2014 R&J) 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.

IMG_0337Sarah Eismann (see MEET THE PLAYERS for more info) 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. www.saraheismann.com

Rachel_A_JeromeRachel A Jerome (Stage Manager) is a stage and film actor and stage manager who hails from Washington Heights. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts from SUNY Potsdam. Television: Mind of a Murderer: Rage and Rampage (2015). Theatre: 3 Days in Savannah, Opening Night, The Importance of Being Earnest, Blues for Mister Charlie, Antigone 5.9, and many more.

Jacob Subotnick (Sound Designer) Jacob is a NYC based producer, sound designer and composer. Selected Off-Broadway: Donkey Punch (SOHO Playhouse); Inner Voices 2014 (TBG Theatre); Any Given Monday (59E59). Selected Off-Off-Broadway: The Tunnel Play (FringeNYC 2014); Virus Attacks Heart (Nominated for Best Sound Design PCTF 2014); The Wedding Singer, Spring Awakening (New York Film Academy); Sweet Sweet Spirit, The Picture of Dorian Gray (MTWorks); Why You Beasting?, Judgement Day (FringeNYC 2013); Proof, Next To Normal, RENT, Equus. (The Gallery Players); Body Language, Magnetic North (The Active Theater); Endless Summer NightsLickspittles Buttonholers and Damned-Pernicious-Go-Betweens (Boomerang Theatre); Tulpa or Anne and Me (Winner Best Sound Design PCTF 2011). Jacob received his Bachelors of Music from New York University.  www.jacobsubotnick.com

Samantha Davis (Lighting Designer) is Production Assistant for New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Freelance LD and SM.  Recent credits with: Sundog Theatre Co, Harkness Dance Festival 92nd Y,  Pull Together Productions, Amerinda, NYC Fringe Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Perfect DisgraceThe Internationalists, EPBB, Austrian Consulate.  International credits: His Majesty’s Theater- Perth, AU, Australian Shakespeare Company; Melbourne, AU.  Upcoming production with Metropolitan Playhouse’s ‘East Side Stories.’

Greg Purnell (Lighting Designer) is a media, video, and lighting designer based in NYC. Visit him online at www.gregpurnell.com.


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!


What’s GENDER got to do with it? FREE forum!


“If you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine!”

~Romeo and Juliet Act 1 scene ii

Manhattan Shakes is is thrilled to be participating in The Tank‘s October Sunday Shakespeare! We will be doing a FREE forum on GENDER in SHAKESPEARE and want your voice there!

Sunday October 12th
151 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

There will be scenes from our immensely popular summer production of Romeo and Juliet and sneak peaks into our switch-gender upcoming production of Macbeth.

There will be open discussions between scenes where we will tackle the big questions of GENDER CONSTRUCTS both in Shakespeare’s Elizabethan society and modern day, how these ideas have formed, how they inform us as men and women, and how we can overcome the stereotypes.



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: http://bit.ly/XX3jLO

“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.



Happy birthday to most Sexy Shakespeare!!!!!


Happy Bawdy Birthday to You Mr Shakespeare!

Manhattan Shakespeare Project Invites you to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday!!!

With Cake!!!!


And Naughty Bits!

Monkey bits

Date: Sunday, April 20, 2014  

Time: 7:00pm

Place:  The Thirsty Fan Bar, 254 W. 31st St, NYC

Across the street from Penn Station & 3 doors up from Eighth Ave.

Join us for a toast to the Bard as we blow out the candles for him. Then,  join the fun by reading your favorite bawdy jokes, exchanges and erotic passages from any of the Bard’s writings. Read any way you want, impromptu or prepared, solo or in pairs. It’s up to you and it’s just for fun. Bring your readings with you.

Or just come to meet old and new friends and the folk from Manhattan Shakespeare Project. We want to get to know you, have fun and honor our beloved Willie. We’ll be sharing champagne and birthday cake.

More food and drinks are available from the cash bar.

Tell your friends

! Huzzah!