June through August, 2023
Door Shakespeare, Producing Artistic Director Michael Stebbins, and Managing Director Amy Ensign, proudly announce the third offering in 2020’s Door Shakespeare Reading Series: Dream Upon Avon, by Wisconsin’s own John Kishline, running Friday, December 11 through Sunday, December 13. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 7:00, and Sunday at 5:00. The Door Shakespeare Reading is free, with donations encouraged. More information can be found by calling 920.854.7111.
It is Christmas Eve at the Windmill Inn, Shakespeare’s favorite pub in Stratford-upon-Avon. While the Bard quaffs his favorite beverage at his usual table, he encounters a series of visitors, each with an unrealized dream and unanswered questions. As things turn out, the Bard has some questions, too, for his visitors, as both playwright and guests discover the true meaning of Christmas.
“I am really glad that the Door Shakespeare Reading Series is able to bring Dream Upon Avon to a virtual audience. Not only is the play a perfect pairing for the holiday season, but it gives us a chance to bring the voice of a Wisconsin playwright into the mix,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Stebbins. “And, the opportunity to introduce artists Cassandra Bissell, Deborah Clifton, and John to Door Shakespeare audiences for the first time is really gratifying.”
The cast of Dream Upon Avon includes:
Cassandra Bissell is making her Door Shakespeare debut with Dream Upon Avon, though she has played nearby at Peninsula Players off and on for many years and has participated in readings with Third Avenue Playhouse in Sturgeon Bay. Other Wisconsin credits include work with Next Act Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks and Milwaukee Rep. Cassandra has a degree in Gender Studies from the University of Chicago and was based in Chicago for sixteen years where she worked at a number of theatres, followed by 2 years “on the road” working regionally. She and her partner, Neil Brookshire, make their home in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.
Duane Boutté returns to Door Shakespeare after appearing in The Comedy of Errors, the organization’s second virtual offering of 2020. Duane is a New York based actor known for his roles in the films Stonewall (1996) and Brother to Brother. He was in the original Broadway companies of Carousel (1994 revival) and Parade, and has originated roles in works by many of the leading playwrights in the United States. His regional appearances include Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Alliance, Long Wharf, Dallas and Denver Theatre Centers, Penumbra Theatre, and more. Additional film and television credits include You Belong to Me, Sex and the City, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Boutté recently directed the world premiere of Neil LaBute’s Appomatox for 2019’s Summer Shorts Series in New York City.
Neil Brookshire is an actor, visual artist, and filmmaker. Previously with Door Shakespeare he played Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, among others. He most recently took on the role of Editor for the virtual production of The Comedy of Errors. He is the founder of Dirt Hills Productions, which produces short films and audio theater. He has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boise State and an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University.
Deborah Clifton is making her Door Shakespeare debut with Dream Upon Avon, where she is revisiting a role she created for the reading’s 2017 premiere at the Chicago Shakespeare Project. Most recently, Deborah played Helecanus with Milwaukee’s Optimist Theatre in their upcoming YouTube series of Pericles. Ms. Clifton was a member of Milwaukee’s groundbreaking Theatre X for decades and later formed MXT along with John Kishline and Edward Morgan. She has also performed regionally at Theatre Gigante, Milwaukee Shakespeare, First Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Next Act Theatre, Madison Rep, and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
John Kishline has been making and performing plays in Milwaukee since 1972. He has also performed throughout the United States and in Holland, England, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, India (U.S. State Dept. tour) and Japan. He has acted, directed, designed and written for more than 200 productions and has 14 produced plays and helped create 50 more from scratch. He was a founding member of Milwaukee’s Theatre X for 30 years and his work has been nominated for national and regional awards and won an OBIE from the Village Voice. He’s been in many films and on network television. He is married to Deborah Clifton, lives in Wisconsin and continues to learn the art of catch and release out on both the water and the stage.
In 2020, Michael Stebbins has directed Door Shakespeare’s two virtual productions, J. M. Barrie’s Rosalind and William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. For the Door Shakespeare Reading Series, in addition to Dream Upon Avon, he directed J. M. Barrie’s Shakespeare’s Legacy, which featured Door Shakespeare Managing Director, Amy Ensign, and is also appearing in Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris, which will close out the Door Shakespeare Reading Series (December 4 – 6, and December 18 – 20). Michael has been Door Shakespeare’s Producing Artistic Director since the autumn of 2017.
“It’s wonderful to be creating again,” shares Managing Director Amy Ensign. “None of us knew what to expect heading into a virtual season. And although it is new territory for us, the creative process is just the same. And it feels great.”