Interview with Aaron Alderman

As we are getting ready to open Richard III and The Merry Wives of Windsor, we had the chance to interview Aaron Alderman on his experiences playing both Richard and Falstaff.

What drew you to playing Richard and Falstaff?

The short answer: I was asked. The more honest answer is that I first agreed to play Richard. When given the opportunity to play one of the greatest written roles with a company that I love and respect, very few things could compel me to say no. Falstaff was a role I’d preformed before and thoroughly enjoyed, and I was excited at the opportunity to play again.

What are the similarities between Richard and Falstaff?

The similarities are few but ones I find intriguing. There are two notable answers. They’re both men who have survived massive wars, and they are both men of notably unusual physicality.

What are the differences?

While there are many differences, the most notable are how they deal with their commonalities.

Richard thrived in war, Falstaff got through it. Richard cannot bear to be bored and left alone with himself, so much so that he murders enemies and friends to take over his kingdom. Falstaff would just as soon goof around and have the rest of his life be nothing but weekend partying followed by a lazy Sunday.

Richard is full of self loathing, and he has been told his whole life that he is disgusting and he despises the world for it, with a special destain for women. Falstaff is called or alluded to as fat at every given opportunity and he still thinks he’s God’s gift to the human race. He truly believes all women want him and all men want to be him (they just don’t know it yet).

How has playing both of these characters in repertory stretched you as an actor?

Goodness, I mean there’s the simple weight of the amount of text itself that’s difficult. The real challenge I find is the switch between characters. I likened it recently to the sport of Chess Boxing, where you box and play chess alternating at 5 minute intervals. The whole point being to physically engage, while keeping your mind lucid and alert, and conversely to engage your mind heavily without deactivating your body to let it cool… so yeah… it’s a bit like that.

Why should people see Richard III and The Merry Wives of Windsor?

These shows are very different experiences, and each one on their own will be a fun and magical engagement. However, combined, they are like coffee and cream and will leave, I believe, a happily satiated audience.

Get your tickets to see these plays in action at sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets.

 

Free WoCo Concert & Season Reveal on June 11

Sweet Tea Shakespeare invites you to join us for a season reveal party featuring a concert by our house band, The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (affectionately known as WoCo).

The event will take place on Tuesday, June 11 at 7p.m. at the 1897 Poe House (801 Arsenal Avenue). Food will be available for purchase, along with craft beer and wine.

Grab a lawn chair and come on out for some foot-stomping, heart-stirring music and to get a sneak preview of the stories that Sweet Tea Shakespeare will be bringing you next season.

How Not to Write a Play, or Why the Tea is Cold

by Jessica Osnoe, writer and director of Maid Marian

      If I sit down to write a play, I’ll invariably want some tea for the process. Of course, making tea is a process unto itself in my house. So, I go first to the tea cabinet (yes, it has its own cabinet) to decide which brew will most suit my mood and the scene(s) I feel like writing today. Do I need a rich, robust flavor that can sustain a touch of milk for ploughing through some dense action? (A fascinating flavor profile is Fortnum and Mason Smoky Earl Grey, which I swear smells like Henry VIII’s kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.) Do I want something citrusy and exotic to inspire new ideas? (My favorite here: Fortnum and Mason Countess Grey.) Should I go for something floral and fruity with a touch of honey to be series-appropriate? #Honey (Harney and Sons Tower of London is unparalleled for this flavor blend in my experience.) This could go on for a while….
       Once I settle on a tea choice and turn on the kettle, there’s the question of a vessel. A mug or a pot? Does the setup need to be Instagram-worthy? If I make a pot of tea to last me for the duration, of course it should be in the Robin Hood teapot. As I pull the teapot off the shelf, of course I wonder about the story of the action it depicts. Did Robin and his Merry Men actually venture so boldly to the local pub, bask in the sun and raise a tankard of ale? Naturally, I’ll want to investigate this possibility in the legends.
      Whilst spiraling down this tunnel of digital inquiry, the kettle whistles and reminds me to brew the tea which I set out to make in the first place. The smell of the tea brewing (Tower of London, for those curious as to my final choice) reminds me that I wanted to look up different kinds of fruit trees native to English forests that might be relevant to the story. I’ll add that to my must-google list, because I have learned the hard way not to leave tea steeping too long. Having steeped the tea and replaced the thatched-roof lid of the pot, I go to choose a teacup, a process which can be as involved as the tea or teapot selection.
     Fortunately, I’m distracted at this point by an idea for introducing a character, so I stop in my path to sit down and type out the scene. Halfway through, I wonder where in the story it should occur and if another character should or should not be present as well. *Cue mental wandering* Half an hour later, I get thirsty and remember that once upon a time, I made tea. Alas, the tea is cold, but I have a scene. So begins the play.

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd

Rehearsals for Sweeney Todd are underway, and the following folks are excited to bring you this bloody good tale.

Medina Demeter (director) received her bachelor’s in theatre arts with licensure from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. As a part of her thesis project she was the co-founder and artistic director for the Hiram Actors Repertory Theatre, which focused on bringing classic literature to life for elementary and middle school audiences. After graduating from Hiram, Medina made her way to North Carolina where she began her teaching career at Orrum Middle School in Robeson County. During her time at Orrum she was involved in the all county arts program as a director for Once on this Island and as an actress in Romeo and Juliet. After three years with Orrum, Medina began her time as the Educational Director at Cape Fear Regional Theatre where she directed the summer camp, including their production of Alice in Wonderland Jr. Soon after this production, opportunity struck and Medina began teaching theatre arts full time at Hoke County High School in Raeford where she continues to teach today as the head of the fine arts department. As the sole theatre arts teacher in Hoke County, Medina directs two mainstage shows every year, plus a dinner theatre in December and a festival of one acts. She advises the Drama Club and their improv team, Room for Improv-ment, which tours to local places and festivals. In 2012 she was honored to be named Teacher of the Year for Hoke County High School. She is the troupe director for Thespian Troupe 4599, and serves as Co-Chapter Director for the North Carolina Educational Theatre Association. From 2012-2015 Medina served as the secretary for the North Carolina Theatre Arts Educators and currently serves as the head of their membership committee. In 2014 Medina began working with Sweet Tea Shakespeare as an actress in Julius Caesar. She now serves as Master of the House and manages front of house affairs for all of their productions. Thus far in her theatrical career, Medina has directed over 50 productions, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Wiz, Arsenic and Old Lace, Macbeth, To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Shop of Horrors, Alice in Wonderland, The Crucible, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Medina lives in Raeford with her husband Jake, and their three-legged cat Chance.

This is the the third STS show for Heather Eddy (musical director, Johanna), and her first as the musical director. Heather has a BA in Music from Winthrop University. She recently appeared as Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods and is excited to be tackling her second Sondheim this year. When she’s not onstage Heather takes care of her two sons and teaches voice lessons at Fayetteville School of Music

Aaron Alderman (Judge) is happy to be back in Fayetteville as this show’s #1 creeper.  We promise he’s really a nice fellow. This marks his sixth Sweet Tea production and (despite all the music-ing he does) first actual musical in two years.  A Durham native, he loves spreading the arts in Fayetteville as a performer for Sweet Tea as well as a member of the Cool Springs Downtown District Buskers Program.  He likes walks in the mountains, pie, a shave and a haircut, board games and a nice wool pea coat.

Katherine Anderson (pianist/ensemble) is happy to be working with Sweet Tea Shakespeare for the first time and is enjoying the rare opportunity to both sing and play the show! She has performed as an actor, singer, and musician throughout the country. She lives in Raleigh and music directs, performs, and teaches all over the area. Recent music direction includes: Theatre in the Park- A Charlie Brown Christmas; Raleigh Little Theatre- Avenue Q; Gilbert Theater- Evil Dead, Godspell, and Secret Garden (also played Lily); Temple Theatre- A Christmas Carol, Ghost, and Beauty and the Beast (also played the Wardrobe). Favorite past roles include Marian in The Music Man, Franca in The Light in the Piazza, and Cunegonde in Candide. She has a BM in voice performance and musical theatre with a minor in piano from Meredith College.

Joyce Borum sings and performs just for fun, with the hope of sharing a little joy with others. She has appeared in numerous productions, most recently with Sweet Tea Shakespeare as King Alonso in The Tempest and Bawd in Pericles. Some of her favorite productions include: Cats the Musical, Steel Magnolias, The Dixie Swim Club, Southern Discomfort, Our Town, Into the Woods, and Oliver. Professionally, Joyce is an accountant with the US Army, but takes advantage of every opportunity to escape to the stage.

Jennifer Czechowski (Beggar Woman, Pirelli)  indulges her love of words and stories not only on stage but in her career as a high school English teacher. She has appeared in STS’s OthelLIT, Songs for a New World, Cymbeline, As You Like LIT, Romeo and JuliLIT, The Merchant of Venice, HamLIT, and The Tempest. Other favorite roles include Martha in The Secret Garden and Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein at the Gilbert Theater.

Jeremy Fiebig (Sweeney Todd) is an award-winning director and actor and serves as Associate Professor of Theatre at Fayetteville State University and Founder and Artistic Director/Master of Play at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. He’s previously appeared in Sweet Tea’s The Comedy of Errors, As You Like LIT, Antony & Cleopatra, King Lear (with Honest Pint Theatre Company), The Cherry Orchard, and others. He’s appeared regionally in CFRT’s Henry V, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd, The Three Musketeers,  and Man of La Mancha, Gilbert’s Titus Andronicus, and Macbeth, and Raleigh productions of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He hold the MFA/M.Litt from Mary Baldwin University/American Shakespeare Center, where he served on artistic staff in 2006, a season featured in The Wall Street Journal. He’s a published Shakespeare scholar and cultural reviewer. He holds the BA in Theatre and Cultural Performance Studies from William Jewell College.

This is his third production of Sweeney Todd, having first play Antony Hope in 2000 at Horsefeathers & Applesauce Theatre in Winfield, Kansas, and Beadle Bamford in CFRT’s production several years ago. He first fell in love with Sweeney after being introduced to the only person who’s a bigger Sondheim fan than he is in high school, the late, great Mary Hook, a whiz of a choral director and stage director, to whom this performance is gratefully dedicated.

Jeremy is husband to Nan and dad to Elliott and Owen, who, along with their oddly shaped dog, Sandy, make a pretty great crew.

Tyler Graeper (Anthony) is beyond ecstatic to be back at Sweet Tea Shakespeare performing in one of his favorite musicals by his absolute favorite composer. Tyler has made it his mission in life to perform in every single Sondheim show ever written, and he’s forever grateful for the opportunity to cross this one off his bucket list, only a dozen more to go! He was last seen in STS’s production of Cymbeline as Posthumous and Othello as Cassio. Next up for Tyler is Big River at Temple Theatre in Sanford followed soon after by Stage Kiss at Sonorous Road Theatre in Raleigh.

Marie Lowe (Mrs. Lovett)  Marie serves as an Associate Artistic Director and runs the LIT Series for Sweet Tea Shakespeare. While she has favorite roles, including Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense!, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, and Woman #2 in Songs For a New World, Mrs. Lovett has been number one on her bucket list since she first heard the score as a child. Thanks to Jeremy, the cast and crew, and Leslie at Fay Pie Co for making this happen, and to Jason and the girls for generally making me “so happy, I could eat you up, I really could.”

Always ready with and for an exciting story, Tohry Petty (ensemble) is the Master of Gift and Director of Creative Engagement for Sweet Tea Shakespeare and a proud graduate of James Madison University and Central Michigan University. Blessed with a ninja dog and an amazing collection of family and friends, she proudly calls VA, DC and NC home. A few past favorite roles include the Duchess of Plaza-Toro (The Gondoliers), The Lady Saphir (Patience), Karen Weston (August: Osage County), Ariel (The Tempest), Rosalind (As You Like It, STS’s As You Like LIT), Beelzebub (Paradise Lost).

Allison Podlogar (Toby) is delighted to make her Sweet Tea Shakespeare debut. A sophomore at Southern Lee High School, Allison includes Helen Keller (THE MIRACLE WORKER, Judson Theatre Company), Ghost of Christmas Past (A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Temple Theatre), Scout (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Judson Theatre Company), Amaryllis (THE MUSIC MAN, N.C. Symphony, Temple Theatre), Tobias (SWEENEY TODD, Temple Theatre), and Colin (THE SECRET GARDEN, Gilbert Theater) among her past credits. In April, Allison will appear with the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble at the New York Pops Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall for the third time. She is a member of the Temple Teen Ensemble, and enjoys singing, playing piano, violin, and ukulele. Allison wishes to thank the Sweet Tea Shakespeare cast and crew, as well as her friends and family for their tremendous support.

Jackie Rednour-Hallman (ensemble) is happy to be joining STS again for Sweeney Todd after appearing in Pericles. A veteran of the US Army, he has appeared as Eddie in Streamers and as a dancer in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and The Nutcracker. In addition, he has worked behind the scenes on productions of The Butler Did It and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Offstage, he is active in Fayetteville Pride. Jackie thanks his wonderful husband for all of his support.  

Gabe Terry (Fogg, ensemble) is excited to be part of Sweeney Todd!  He has performed this show with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in the past. His credits include Cassio in OthelLIT, Ceres in The Tempest, Richard Mason in Jane Eyre, Mardian in Antony and Cleopatra, Capulet in Romeo & JuliLIT, and Moloch in Paradise Lost.  He has also been a member of That Improv Show at The Stage Door Theatre. He holds a degree in Music from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  

 

Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd

Attend the dark, witty and Tony Award-winning tale of love, murder and revenge. Sweeney Todd has become a bloody, worldwide success since being awarded eight Tonys (including Best Musical) for its Broadway premiere. Stephen Sondheim’s and Hugh Wheeler’s tasty, thrilling theatrical treat has simultaneously shocked, awed and delighted audiences across the world.

In this infamous tale, Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, returns to London, seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice. Mrs. Lovett’s luck sharply shifts when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up… and the carnage has only just begun!

Sweet Tea Shakespeare is serving up a rich and saucy production of this flavorful and “full-bodied” Broadway classic at Fayetteville Pie Company. Expect notes of peppery revenge, despair, and cat to linger on your palate as you savor the experience of this show.

Thursday-Saturday, January 17-19 at 7pm; Sunday, January 20 at 6pm

Thursday-Saturday, January 24-26 at 7pm; Sunday, January 27 at 6pm

Thursday-Saturday, January 31-February 2 at 7pm; Sunday, February 3 at 6pm

Fayetteville Pie Company

253 Westwood Shopping Center

Parking is available onsite at Westwood Shopping Center.

Director: Medina Demeter

Musical Director: Heather Eddy

Musicians are led by pianist Katherine Anderson. The cast includes Jeremy Fiebig, Marie Lowe, Aaron Alderman, Jennifer Czechowski, Heather Eddy, Tyler Graeper, Joyce Borum, Allison Podlogar, Tohry Petty, Gabe Terry, and Jackie Rednour-Hallman.

Tickets are $45; the cost includes a meal and a soft drink; beer and wine will be available for purchase. Seating is strictly limited.

Tickets are now available for season ticket holders and Patreon pledgers; see website for details on purchasing season tickets or pledging on Patreon.

Tickets will be available to the general public in December.

Changes due to inclement weather will be announced on our website and Facebook page.

Savory and sweet pie meals and beverages will be available 1 hour prior to curtain.

Sweeney Todd is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Behold 2018

Sweet Tea Shakespeare invites you to join us as we usher in the holiday season with Behold, our annual musical celebration of Christmas and the winter holiday season.

Behold—part Gospel, part Sweet Tea magic—is an evening of communion meant to warm your hearts and focus your minds on Advent and Christmas. Featuring Andrew Peterson’s folk cantata Behold the Lamb of God rounded out with songs both traditional and new, Behold tells Old and New Testament stories with simplicity and grace, examining the lines between belief and disbelief during this time of joy and reflection.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, December 6-8 & 13-15, 2018

7pm, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 1601 Raeford Road

Pay What You Will

ADVANCE RESERVED SEATING for season ticket holders and season sponsors – Email tickets@sweetteashakespeare.com to claim your place.

Seasonal drinks will be available for purchase: Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Scarlet Marvel – A True Spectacle Maker (brewed in collaboration with Hugger Mugger Brewery) and tea from Fayetteville’s local tea shop, Winterbloom. Cocktails and wine will also be available.

Outside food and drink are not permitted.

Changes due to inclement weather will be announced on our website and Facebook page.

Parking is available onsite at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Behold Cast List:

Music Director: Jacob French

Musicians: Dean Dibling, Jacob French, Rob Brown, Katelyn Brummel, Gabe Terry, Nick Miller.

Singers: Hannah Duncan, Jessica Osnoe, Marie Lowe, Tyler Graeper, Jennifer Czechowski, Joyce Borum, Nathan Pearce, Evan Bridenstine, Linda Flynn, Jeremy Fiebig, Tohry Petty, Traycie Kuhn- Zapata, Taj Allen.