Much Ado About Nothing - cast and creative team

(* Member Actors' Equity Association)        (+SF Shakes Resident Artist)

David Moore

David Everett Moore*+ Benedick

David is excited and proud to return to the Free Shakes stage for the sixth time! David has worked with many Bay Area theaters, including Crowded Fire, Aurora Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Marin Shakespeare Company, African-American Shakespeare Company, Perspective Theater Company, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and Word for Word. Regional credits include work with Capital Stage (Sacramento), Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Some his previous favorite roles are Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet for SF Shakes, Addison in Safe House for Aurora Theatre Company, BJJ in An Octoroon for Capital Stage, and Black Man in We Are Proud To Present for Just Theater. David is a proud graduate of UC Berkeley, where he earned his BA in Theater and Performance Studies.

Steven Flores

Steven Flores* Borachio/The Holiness

Steven Flores is a proud descendant of the Native American Plains Nations and the Mexica indigenous peoples. He has performed in both national and state Repertory theaters across the country. Recent notable credits include: Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, continuing the role of Seketemaquay/Luke in Manahatta after having first performed in the world premiere release at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Other professional credits include: Menelaus in Helen and Master Puppeteer for Puppets & Poe Theatre of Yugen. Other credits: Last of the Caucasians (The Barrow Group Theater Company, NY) Delusion: The Blood Rite (Haunted Play, Los Angeles),TV/Film: The Monster Project, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Various stunts for independent films. He studied at the Herbert Berghof Studio, NY and practices various techniques in movement, voice, and dance and clowning.

Ben Chau-Chiu

Ben Chau-Chiu Claudio

Ben (he/him) is a Bay Area based actor, educator, and director. Previous productions include: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Lamplighters Music Theatre); Otello (Livermore Valley Opera), Much Ado About Nothing (Plethos Productions); The Cherry Orchard (Town Hall Theatre); Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Construction Site on Christmas Night (Bay Area Children’s Theatre). He has also worked with Cal Shakes, Berkeley Rep, NCTC, Marin Shakes, and UCSC Opera. Ben holds an M.A. in Theater Arts from U.C. Santa Cruz. benchauchiu.com/

Kathryn Hannah

Kathryn Hannah* Leonato

Kathryn Hannah is thrilled make her SF Shakes debut! Favorite credits include Ana Smith in The Book Club Play (Center REP), Minhee in You For Me For You (Crowded Fire), Aphra Behn in Or, (Dragon Theatre), Christmas Eve in Avenue Q (Los Altos Stage Company), and Mother in the world premiere of Inside Out and Back Again (BACT). She has also worked with SF Playhouse, Broadway By The Bay, 42nd Street Moon, Cal Shakes, and Willows Theatre Company, among others. She studied musical theatre and Shakespeare at A.C.T. and dance at Stanford University. Offstage, she dances Argentine tango.

Livia Gomes Demarchi

Livia Gomes Demarchi* Beatrice

Livia Gomes Demarchi (she/her/hers) is absolutely thrilled to be returning to Free Shakespeare in the Park after having appeared as Titania and Hyppolita in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 20018. Recent credits: Cassandra in Somewhere by Marisela Treviño Orta at Perspective Theater, Miri in Sapience at Playground SF and San Diego Rep Latinx festival, and Lola in the world premiere of Ghosts of Bogotá at AlterTheater (both by the incredible Diana Burbano), Tania in Native Gardens at Center Rep, and Olivia/Maria in Twelfth Night also with Perspective Theater (formerly Arabian Shakes, TBA Winner for Best Ensemble). She was also a part of the original production of The River Bride as Belmira, presented at Alter Theater Ensemble. Other companies: SF Playhouse, Magic Theater, Marin Shakespeare, Playwrights Foundation, BRAVA, Shotgun Players, among others. She holds a B.A. in Theater and performance studies from UC Berkeley, where she workshopped her solo bilingual pieceQuem Eu. She is an associate artist with Alter Theater Ensemble and company member at Playground SF. As always: to my familia, here and in Brasil!

Maryssa Wanlass

Maryssa Wanlass*+ Don Pedro

Maryssa  (she/them) is thrilled to join the cast of Much Ado About Nothing. They have previously been seen on the SF Shakes stage in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, and As You Like It. Other acting credits include As You Like It (California Shakespeare Theatre); Book Club Play, Breaking the Code (Jewel Theatre); Betrayal (Pear Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing, Good Person of Szechuan (Woman’s Will). Wanlass is also passionate about social justice theatre and has directed at-risk young adults in Shakespeare plays and taught improv to California’s maximum-security inmates. She is currently the Engagement Director for San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

Alan Coyne

Alan Coyne Don John

Much Ado will be Alan’s fifth-ish show with the Festival, following last year’s Pericles and the school tours of Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, and Macbeth. He has also worked with Central Works (The Victorian Ladies’ Detective Collective, Escape From the Asylum), We Players (Psychopomp, Caesar Maximus), Custom Made (Cloud 9, Chess, The Braggart Soldier), and, most recently, Lafayette Town Hall Theatre (Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St Catherine’s). In 2019, he took his two-person adaptation, 2ELFth Night, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and excerpts from his cosmological musical, The Theory of Everything, were performed at the 2016 Musical Cafe Showcase. NB: this one’s for you.

Fran Astorga

Fran Astorga Margaret/Verges

Fran is a San Francisco local whose administrative and artistic works center the well-being of the community and artistic excellence by working to decolonize approaches, practices, and procedures that negatively impact folx from marginalized communities. Fran works toward their goal by continuously seeking to work alongside those who are asked to assume a role of silence and kindred spirits who enjoy exploring the nuances of identity and perception. Fran upholds that if “all the worlds a stage,” then we need to ensure that the world we represent on our stages insights action for the world we need and not the world we need to leave behind. Fran is a founder and co-leader of IN THE MARGIN, a 501(c)(3) arts and advocacy organization. Their full-length play, EXHAUSTION ARROYO, was recently selected and featured in the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons’ Comedy Carnival where their writing was presented as being part of “the best Latinx comedic talent in the country!”. Follow them @TheyAreFran on all platforms.

Larissa Kelloway

Larissa Kelloway Antonia/Dogberry

Larissa is excited to do her first production with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, to work with this delightful group of performers and get back on the stage again. She moved to the Bay Area in 2016, and has quickly become a familiar face in the Bay Area artistic community. Theatre credits include Groundhog Day: The Musical, 9 to 5: The Musical, The Boy From Oz, Mamma Mia (twice!), The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Religomania and Tomfoolery. She has also created and performed two cabarets, Always Something There to Remind Me - Love as Portrayed by the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and The Ladies Who Lunch, produced and performed in the “Australian Bushfire Benefit” and has been a guest artist for Katya Presents and 2 + 2. Australian credits include Woman On the Edge of a Nervous Impulse (cabaret), The Sound of Music, Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens, Darlinghurst Nights, Carousel, Working, Guys and Dolls, Baby and West Side Story. When Larissa isn’t working on the stage, she is a singing teacher and voice researcher. She thanks her wonderful family for their love and support.

Baldota

Veda Baldota Hero

Veda is delighted to make her SF shakes debut - woohoo! She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley and currently is getting her MFA in acting from Columbia University. Theatre credits include The House of Spirits, Who Shot La Miguelito, 1984. She loves nature, animals and sometimes people.

Shakoria Davis

Shakoria Davis U/S to Veda Baldota, Steven Flores, Larissa Kelloway

Shakoria is excited to be joining SF Shakespeare Festival during their 40th year of production. Shakoria comes from Atlanta, GA. She is a recent graduate of The University of Cincinnati at The College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where she earned her BFA in Acting. Some of her credits include Ophelia (Hamlet), Miranda (Tempest), and Caska (Julius Caesar). When she’s not acting, she enjoys rolling out her yoga mat to practice.

Violet Elisandre

Violet Elisandre U/S to Fran Astorga

Violet Elisandre (they/them) is excited to be a part of SF Shakes for the first time. They have been working as a teaching artist, and recently took part in the Fresh Baked Pears One-Act Festival as a playwright. The last time they were on stage as an actor was in a 2019 production of She Kills Monsters as Narrator/Vera at The Empty Space Theatre. After earning their B.A. in Theatre Arts from Cal State Bakersfield and their M.A. in English from National University, they moved to The Bay Area in 2021. They hope to keep telling queer stories in theatre. They would like to thank their loved ones, Pratiksha, Rebecca, and Shannon for allowing them to be a part of this production.

Ryan Tasker

Ryan Tasker* U/S to Ben Chau-Chiu, Kathryn Hannah, David Everett Moore, Maryssa Wanlass

Ryan is happy to be part of the the Festival's 'Free Shakes' program again. He appeared in Free Shakespeare in the Park productions of Macbeth and Henry V as well as the Festivals' touring productions of Two Gentlemen of Verona and Twelfth Night. He's also performed with Marin Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theatre, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Word for Word Performing Arts Co., and San Jose Repertory Theatre. More at ryantasker.com

Director Shannon R Davis

Shannon R. Davis Director

Shannon (she/hers) is a Bay Area-based director and storyteller originally from Wisconsin. She is in the CalShakes Artist Circle and is the Director of Community Connections at American Conservatory Theater. She describes her directorial focus as “classical re-envisionings through an intercultural lens to explore societal inequities and raise awareness. Then I add in some silliness.” She holds an MFA in Directing & Acting from UW-Madison. Shannon has worked with the following: New Native Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The American Repertory Theatre, American Indian Community House, CalShakes, Theatre of Yugen, Berkeley Rep, Ohio University, UC-Berkeley, Ashland New Play Festival, Forward Theatre, Shotgun Players, TheaterWorks, others.  shannonrdavis.com

Vanessa Dalpiaz

Vanessa Dalpiaz Assistant Director

Vanessa Dalpiaz is a Bay Area director, actor, and teaching artist. She is making her professional directing debut with Much Ado About Nothing and is thrilled to be working with SF Shakespeare for the first time. Vanessa is a graduate of Pomona College where she earned her BA in theatrical performance and directing. She also studied Shakespearean performance at the London Dramatic Academy where she worked on a devising team who performed at the Tower of London. Vanessa’s previous directing projects include both theatrical works and digital media content. She also teaches musical theatre and Shakespeare performances classes for Poison Apple Productions.

RJ Ennals

Rebecca J. Ennals Artistic Director

Rebecca (she/her) has been on the staff of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival since 2002 and Artistic Director since 2012. She holds a BA in English and Theatre from Scripps College and an MFA in performance from U.C. Davis. She has taught and written curriculum at the elementary through college levels. As a director and teaching artist, she has worked locally with Marin Theatre Company, PlayGround, Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, Pear Theatre, Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Los Altos Youth Theatre and Shakespeare At Stinson. Ms. Ennals has directed eight productions for the Festival’s Shakespeare On Tour in-school touring program, six productions for the Civic Arts Stage Company program in Pleasanton, and six productions for Free Shakespeare in the Park -  Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Episode 1 (2021), The Taming of the Shrew (2014), Romeo and Juliet (2015), The Winter’s Tale (2016), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2018), and a new musical adaptation of As You Like It with The Kilbanes and Phil Wong, (2019). She has written several of the Festival’s Green Shows and conceived and executed the 2012 pop-up Shakespeare project “30 Days of Free Shakespeare in the Parklet” and the 2017 project “35 Famous Speeches in 35 Famous Places.” By far her favorite productions are Henry (2014) and Edward (2018).

Silhouette headshot

Marina Polakoff Costume Designer

Marina is absolutely thrilled to do her first production for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Originally from Moscow, Russia Marina earned a recognition in the costume designing world of the USA. She worked as a costume designer on many Opera and Ballet productions including: Pagliacci (Festival Opera), Susannah (Festival Opera), Heggie: Triptych (Festival Opera), Howards End, America (A New Chamber Opera), The Bat (Lamplighters Musical Theatre), La Sonnambula (Island City Opera), Kashchey, the Imortal (Island City Opera), Nutcracker (Santa Rosa Ballet), Messalina (ARS Minerva). She also designed and made costumes for stage performers including for America's Got Talent, Cirque du Soleil and the Gregangelo Museum. Marina holds a Masters in Fine Arts with a major in Fashion Design. Her fashion collections were shown in San Francisco's, Miami's and New York's Fashion Weeks. Her dresses were shown in art galleries and pictures of her designs were published in many fashion magazines and shown on billboards at Times Square, New York.

Richard Jennings

Richard Jennings Music Composer

Richard (he/him) is very happy to contribute his first musical score to SFSF. His original musical plays have been produced in New York, San Francisco and across the country. He’s composed over 50 musical scores for plays (over 30 of them Shakespeare) in theatres tiny to Tony Award winning and was Composer In Residence for Southwest Shakespeare Company for a decade. His work has been showcased in feature stories in The Los Angeles Times. Jennings is the recipient of the Hollywood Drama Logue Critics Award for “Outstanding Achievement In Theatre”. He’s composed for PBS, Disney, network TV and commercials. Jennings is a co-founder and principal of Musical Cafe, a musical theatre development and education program for Northern California-based writers and composers. He’s served on the faculties of colleges and universities and is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. Please visit: rjmusic.org.

Chelsea Gregory

Chelsea Gregory Movement Director

Chelsea (she/her) is a community-engaged artist and cultural organizer with over two decades of experience working at the intersections of arts and social change. She has collaborated with companies such as Cornerstone Theater Company, Working Theater, Urban Bush Women, Movement for the Urban Village, and Asé Dance Theater Collective as a performer, choreographer, facilitator, and director of community engagement. She currently teaches social justice theater and performance studies at UC Berkeley, and collaborates with the social impact firms Create Forward and Culture Shift Agency. For more info please visit  www.chelseagregory.com

Neal Ormond

Neal Ormond Technical Director/Scenic & Graphic Designer/Builder, Painter, Mover/Site Services

Neal (he/him) has been the Technical Director of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival since 2017, serving also as graphic designer, scenic designer, master carpenter, and managing infrastructure and venue logistics. He graduated with a B.A. in Design from Stanford University in 2001. Thereafter he founded NAO Design and spent the next decade expanding into the realms of graphic design, product design, sound design, web design, automotive design, lighting, furniture, signage, pyrotechnics, robotics, and architecture. From there he spent four years as Manager of Art and Technology at the advertising conglomerate Publicis, creating the Art & Tech department to bring new design and production services to 57 offices nationwide. Upon joining the ranks of SF Shakes in 2017 Neal found it to be a tremendous match for all these miscellaneous skills. At the outset of the COVID pandemic Neal developed SF Shakes’ “Unified Virtual Space” method of compositing multiple live, remote actors into a shared virtual space onscreen, the first such undertaking worldwide. Future plans include the first-ever production of Shakespeare in Space. For more info see nealormond.com.

Shah Pratiksha 225x225

Pratiksha Shah Production Manager

Pratiksha (she/her) fell in love with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival while working on a joint production of the Ramayana. She has since joined the company as production manager. She holds a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering, but her true calling has always been theater; so, she did an intense two-year theater program at Foothill Theater Conservatory. Pratiksha is a production manager, director, actor, light designer and theater teacher. She has worked with San Jose Rep, City lights, NDNU,EnActe Arts, Rungmunch and many other local theater companies. She is excited for her first Free Shakespeare in the Park season and is thrilled to be part of the team.

Annelisa Montoya

Anelisa Armijo Montoya Assistant Costume Designer

Anelisa (she/they) is incredibly honored to be a new addition to SF Shakespeare Company! Hailing proudly from Albuquerque, New Mexico, they moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2021. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in Spring 2020 with a BFA in Theatre with focuses in acting and playwriting. Anelisa is looking forward to the opportunity to be creative again as a wardrobe supervisor in a new theatre community.

Murph Elyria

Murph Elyria Props Master/Sound Intern/Move Crew

Murph (they/them) is excited to be working with SF Shakes for the first time! They currently are a student at California Institute of the Arts pursuing a B.F.A. in Composition and Experimental Sound Practices. Murph is grateful for the opportunity to work with SF Shakes as the props designer in their first theatrical production since graduating high school.

G Howell

Gabriella Howell Deck Manager

Gaby is thrilled to be returning to San Francisco Shakespeare as a member of the Much Ado About Nothing team! She started her Bay Area theatre career as a stage management intern for the company’s 2016 run of The Winter’s Tale and since then has joined SF Shakes the past three years as ASM/Wardrobe Assistant for As You Like It: A New Musical, ASM/Props Coordinator for King Lear, Props/Costumes Coordinator for Takes on Shakes, and Props/Wardrobe Supervisor for Pericles. Other highlights of her past work include stage managing Urinetown at Berkeley Playhouse and Lamplighters’ 2019 & 2021 champagne galas.

Robyn Grahn

Robyn Grahn+ Covid Safety Manager

Robyn (she/her) is a Resident Artist with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. She is an avid environmentalist & artist, newbie doula & momma, and always looking for new opportunities.

Sara Lowe

Sara Lowe Production Intern (Props)

Sara (she/her) is excited to work with SF Shakes for the first time! She is currently a student at UCLA pursuing a B.A in Theater with an emphasis in Scenic Design along with a minor in digital humanities. Recent credits include John (Scenic Designer), Queen Milly (2nd Assistant Director & Production Design Assistant), Red Bridal Veil (Assistant Stage Manager), Parallel Lives (Scenic & Prop Designer), and Arabian Nights (Prop Designer). Sara looks forward to growing as a holistic design artist in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Lee Garber-Patel

Lee Garber-Patel Production Intern (Wardrobe)

Lee (they/them) has worked on several productions in a variety of capacities, from backstage to onstage. In their first year as a production intern with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, they focused on the costumes and wardrobe department.They are currently in their third year at UC Berkeley, working towards a B.A. in Media Studies, with a double minor in Theatre and Ethnic Studies.

Morgan Bright

Morgan Bright Stage Management Intern

Morgan (she/her) is pursuing a theater arts degree with a specialty in technical theater at San Francisco State University. Her previous credits include West Side Story (Stage Manager), Mamma Mia! (Stage Manager), Chicago (Stage Manager), Marisol (Assistant Stage Manager), A Nice Indian Boy (Stage Manager), and most recently, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Assistant Stage Manager). Morgan looks forward to continuing her studies in stage management and all aspects of technical theater at San Francisco State University and other theaters in the Bay
Area, and she is very excited for her first summer with Free Shakespeare in the Park!

Brousseau Tristan 225x

Tristan Brousseau Stage Management Intern

Tristan (he/him) is excited to work on his first SF Shakes production. He is currently studying directing at UCLA and is looking forward to applying what he has learned here to improve his own process. His recent work includes assistant directing the premiere of 11:38 from Fond du Lac (2022), assistant directing Little Women (2021), and improvising with BATS Improv and the UCLA Shenanigans Comedy Club (2020 –).

Arushi Maheshwar

Arushi Maheshwar Hospitality Intern

Arushi (she/her) is excited to be working as a hospitality intern for SF Shakes’ production of Much Ado About Nothing. She is currently a rising junior at Saratoga High School, looking to pursue a career in entertainment management. Her recent work includes stage managing Saratoga High School’s productions of Fiddler on the Roof (2022), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2021), and The Addams Family (2021), as well as being a member of her school’s ComedySportz team.

Toby Leavitt

Toby Leavitt Executive Director

Toby oversees all aspects of the Shakespeare Festival's programs. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Chicago, and received her Masters from the University of Chicago Business School in 1997. Prior to joining the Festival in 1998, she served as General Manager for Chicago's Court Theatre. She oversaw their financial growth from a $1.6 million to $2.8 million annual budget, guided the theatre in developing a 5-year strategic plan to become the National Center for Classic Theatre, and managed the ensuing strategic growth of the organization. Prior to her four years with the Court, she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago as Senior Editor and Director of Marketing Communications. Her accomplishments in audience development have been recognized by the Arts Marketing Center of Chicago and the Marshall Fields Foundation. She has served as a management consultant for Chicago Opera Theater, the Piven Theater Workshop, and Roadworks Theater Company, and has served as a panelist for the San Francisco Art Commission's Cultural Equity Initiatives Grant program.