Muse of Fire Theatre Company strives to intrigue and educate the widest possible audience through productions of compelling plays, with Shakespeare as our cornerstone. Our vision is to become an integral part of the arts community and draw as many people as possible into the vibrant world of great theatre through rousing productions and innovative educational programming. We are now in our seventh season in Evanston. Our past Shakespeare-in-the-park productions, co-sponsored by the City itself, include Henry V, Macbeth, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, and Hamlet. This summer we are presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Queen Margaret, a world-premiere adaptation of four of Shakespeare's history plays, which will also tour to nearby North Shore communities and will include both indoor and outdoor performances in Evanston. Our educational programming includes theatre workshops and presentations for kids, and both hands-on and discussion-oriented Shakespeare classes for adults offered throughout the year.
Jon Beal's past Muse of Fire productions include Julius Caesar (Cassius), The Taming of the Shrew (Grumio), and Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), which was also his fight directing debut. He continues to be our resident fight choreographer, as well as an actor with the company. This summer Jon serves as fight choreographer for both A Midsummer Night's Dream and Queen Margaret, in which he also plays Gloucester/York/Richard. Jon attended Columbia College Chicago where he trained as an actor and stage combatant/choreographer. Since graduating in 2011 with a theater degree and several certifications in stage combat, Jon has worked as an actor and fighter with such theater companies as The House Theatre, Waltzing Mechanics, Commedia Beauregard, The Hypocrites, Right Brain Project, The Second City, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Brent T. Barnes has appeared with Muse of Fire as Fluellen in Henry V as part of the company’s inaugural season; as Banquo/Doctor in Macbeth; and last year as Claudius in Hamlet. Brent has also been our vocal coach for Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Romeo and Juliet. He is an assistant teacher with Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, and has been in their productions of What Dreams May Come: American Visions Through Jewish Eyes; Sarah Ruhl's adaptation of The Three Sisters (Kulygin); and Sheldon Patinkin's adaptation of Ivanov (Kosich), all directed by Joyce Piven. Chicago credits: Benny in Pangs of the Messiah (Silk Road Rising); The Christmas Schooner (Bailiwick); and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (Theatre Classics). He has spent nine seasons at The Utah Shakespeare Festival, where his credits include Aeneas in Troilus and Cressida, Flute/Thisby in A Midsummer Nights Dream, and Osric in Hamlet. Off-Broadway he appeared as Samuel in Grasmere by Kristina Leach, continuing on with the production to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Regional Theatre credits: A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre); the U.S. premiere of The Parfumerie (Summer Studio Theatre Company); and Malvolio in Twelfth Night as a guest artist at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Alex Fthenakis (Producing Artistic Associate) trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Originally a Californian, Alex worked in Glasgow before moving to Chicago and making his local debut in Muse of Fire's The Taming of the Shrew as Petruchio. Last summer he returned to the Muse of Fire stage in the title role in Hamlet. Other theatre credits include Heuristics in the Diner (Traverse, Tron, Hampstead), RISK (The Arches) The Growling Tent (Conflux),Attempts on Her Life (Glasgow West End Festival), Titus Andronicus (Bard in the Botanics), and The Kentucky Cycle (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Readings and workshops include work with Mayfesto, Citizens'/Glasgay!, and A Moment's Peace. Alex's writing includes RISK and an adaptation of John Steinbeck's To A God Unknown. Alex is producer and faculty for the award winning Pepperdine Scotland theatre exchange.
Contact Alex: email@example.com
Christina Hall is proud to have performed on the Muse of Fire stage as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew and Celia in As You Like It, as well as in the staged readings of All's Well That Ends Well, Fuente Ovejuna and Antigone. Other Chicago credits include Ask Aunt Susan (Goodman Theater); Terminus, and Hot N’ Throbbing (Interrobang Theatre Project); Improbable Frequency (Strawdog Theatre Company); Fade Out, Fade In (Porchlight Music Theatre); The Sweet Smell of Success, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Kokandy Productions); Hello Again and The Merchant of Venice (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble); Pump Boys and Dinettes (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre). Christina's 2014-2015 season will include work on The Wild Party (Bailiwick Chicago); Always, Patsy Cline(Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre); Mr. Burns, A Post- Electric Play (Theatre Wit); and Soon I Will Be Invincible (Lifeline Theatre Ensemble). Christina is also an Artistic Associate with Interrobang Theatre Project and holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Southern Methodist University.
Jemma Alix Levy (founder and Artistic Director) got her BA from Amherst College, graduated from The Juilliard School's directing program, then received an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, and went on to earn an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College's program in association with the American Shakespeare Center. Before Muse of Fire, she started and ran Runamuck Theatre Company in Austin, TX. Her directing credits include critically-acclaimed productions in New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Chicago, including 10 productions for Muse of Fire. Her essay "Competing Heights in Shakespeare's As You Like It," was published in Shakespeare Embodied, published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press in 2013. She has taught theatre at Webster University, Wabash College, Roosevelt University, Mary Baldwin College, and The Brearley School. Currently, Jemma is an Assistant Professor of Theater, Dance & Film Studies at Washington and Lee University, where she is in charge of the acting and directing program.
Contact Jemma: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrienne Matzen is a Kansas born, Chicago based, UK trained actor and coach. For Muse of Fire she has appeared as Pisanio in last season’s Cymbeline, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, and Rosalind in As You Like It. This summer she can be seen in A Midsummer Night's Dream as Helena and Snug. Chicago credits include The Seven Percent Solution (City Lit), Our New Girl (Profiles Theatre), Holmes and Watson and Confederates in the Attic (City Lit), I Wish to Apologize to the People of Illinois (Agency Theatre Collective), Measure for Measure (St. Sebastian Players), and Tom Jones (Polarity Ensemble Theatre). She has also appeared in Over My Dead Body and many iterations of EL Stories with the Waltzing Mechanics, where she is resident vocal coach. London credits include Come Back to the 5 and Dime… (The Gatehouse), Beat Generation (Old Vic New Voices), The Permanent Way, The Art of Success, Passport to Pimlico, and New England (LAMDA). Adrienne trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Reggie Robinson Jr. appeared with Muse of Fire as Pistol in Henry V and the Porter in Macbeth, before moving to Florida, where he earned an MFA from the FSU/AsoloConservatory. On returning to Chicago, he also returned to Muse of Fire, where he played Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet and Philario and Caius Lucius in Cymbeline. His credits at the Conservatory included Malvolio in Twelfth Night, the Detective in Stop Kiss, and Burgess in Candida. He recently read the part of Sgt. Green in Ask/Tell as a part of Unplugged, Asolo Rep's New Play Festival.
Eric Damon Smith (AEA) is a Chicago based actor/director. As an actor Eric appeared with Muse of Fire as Jaques in As You Like It, and as the Constable of France in Henry V. He also directed Antigone and All's Well That Ends Well for Muse of Fire’s Spring Reading Series. Last summer he returned to Muse of Fire to direct our family-friendly production of Cymbeline. Recent professional acting credits include As You Like It at Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival; Charles Condomine in Blithe Spirit, and roles in Much Ado About Nothing, Sweeney Todd, and Richard III for Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland and Idaho Shakespeare Festival; Bud in Gutenberg! The Musical at Milwaukee Rep.; and Bassanio (Merchant of Venice) and Oliver (As You Like It) at Riverside Theatre in the Parks. Other Chicago credits include: Mosca in Volpone, directed by Sheldon Patinkin (City Lit.); Jamie in Long Day's Journey into Night (Polarity Ensemble); Flaminio Scala (Jeff Award nomination, Actor in a Principal Role - Musical, NonEquity Wing) in The Glorious Ones (Boho and Theatre on the Lake); Malvolio in Twelfth Night (Piccolo Theatre); Antonio in The Merchant of Venice (Boho); and work at Northlight and Remy Bumppo.
Ryan Swikle (Artistic Associate) runs Muse of Fire's education programs and appeared in the first four of Muse of Fire's Evanston productions: as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Touchstone in As You Like It, the title role in Macbeth, and the Dauphin in Henry V. Other Shakespeare credits include the Duke in Measure for Measure, Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, and Egeon/Pinch/Balthasar/Luce in The Comedy of Errors. Ryan has performed with Montana Shakespeare in the Schools and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. He studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Contact Ryan: email@example.com
Stacie Swikle has appeared with Muse of Fire as Audrey/LeBeau in As You Like It, as Ross in Macbeth, and as Pascuala in our staged reading of Fuente Ovejuna. Previous Shakespeare credits include Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (MCC Black Box), and Jessica/Salerio in The Merchant of Venice (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble). Other favorite roles include The Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, the title role in Medea, and participation in the world-premiere staged reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. Stacie recently graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology.
Lisa Uhlig has been stage managing for Muse of Fire since their production of Julius Caesar. This summer she will be co-directing Queen Margaret. Since graduating from Southern Illinois University she has worked with multiple companies as director, stage manager, and occasional props designer. She is also a company member at Strangeloop Theatre.
Mo Ulicny is Muse of Fire's branding consultant and graphic designer. For over 30 years, her company, Peach Tree Studio, has provided strategy, design and illustration for consumer packaging, advertising, and publishing for clients ranging from local start-ups to global businesses. Mo received her BFA from Saint Mary's College.