The Scottish Play Is Next Up For Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Macbeth 2As its winter offering the Nashville Shakespeare Festival will present Macbeth featuring Nashville Ballet at Belmont University’s Troutt Theater. The show runs Jan. 10-27.

Macbeth is a timeless and timely tragedy about a man whose ambition outweighs his judgment,” Nashville Shakespeare Festival Executive Artistic Director Denice Hicks says. “The talent involved with this production is a potent combination that will create a fresh, moving and haunting show.”

The Nashville Ballet – in a first-time collaboration with Nashville Shakes – will contribute choreography and dancers portraying the play’s three witches. Headlining the cast are Eric Pasto-Crosby as Macbeth and Shannon Hoppe as Lady Macbeth. The roles of Duncan and Seward will be performed by Brian Russell.

Pasto-Crosby and Hoppe played the lovers Berowne and Rosalind in the 2010 Nashville Shakespeare Festival production of Love’s Labor’s Lost. Pasto-Crosby had the role of Mark Antony in the festival’s 2012 presentation of Julius Caesar and was Laertes in its 2008 Hamlet.  Hoppe was also seen as Lady Capulet in 2011’s Romeo and Juliet.

Russell is a festival veteran who most recently appeared as Brutus in last winter’s Julius Caesar.  In 2010 he was Prospero in The Tempest and played the Bard himself in the festival’s original play Shakespeare’s Case in 2009 and 2011.

Other Nashville Shakes alumni who have been cast are Evelyn O’Neal Brush as Lady Macduff, Jon Royal as Banquo, and Robert Marigza as Malcolm. Recent apprentice company members Rachel Woods and Eryn Haber are also in the cast.

Making their Nashville Shakespeare Festival debuts are Aaron Muñoz as Macduff, Tony Nappo as Ross, Kraig Kelsey as Lennox, Andrew Derminio as Angus, Edd Garcia as Seyton, Ben Hutto as Young Seward, Charlie Webb and Jack Woods as Fleance with siblings Brooke and Abby Jones as the Macduff children.

Macbeth is directed by Matt Chiorini, who now teaches at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. after serving as founding artistic director of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. He is assisted by Hicks.

Chiorini is a familiar face to many Nashville theatergoers. He is a former artistic director of now-defunct People’s Branch Theatre and has been an actor and teacher for the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children’s Theater and Nashville Shakespeare Festival.

Hicks has been part of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival since 1990 as an actor, director and teaching artist. She has held the position of artistic director since 2005. An Ingram Fellowship award winner and advocate for arts in education, Hicks has developed and facilitated workshops for students of all ages and designed and implemented the festival’s apprentice company training and Shakespeare Allowed! programming.

Costumes for Macbeth are by Billy Ditty. Set design is by Made First with light design by Anne Willingham.

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings as well as Sunday afternoons. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Tickets (including discounts for seniors, students and groups) are available by calling (615) 852-6732 or online at


Macbeth 1*Photos by Jeff Frazier courtesy Nashville Shakespeare Festival.

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