Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

December 12, 2012, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Merrimack Repertory Theatre


“Shakespeare’s Will”

January 10-February 3, 2013

Press Opening January 13 at 7pm

Lowell, MA– Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, raised their children alone while he pursued fame. Discover why she was notoriously willed the bard’s “second best bed” in “Shakespeare’s Will” by playwright Vern Thiessen. The production is directed by Miles Potter and stars Seana McKenna, lead actress of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. “Shakespeare’s Will” runs at Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) from January 10-February 3. Tickets begin at just $20 and are on sale now thru or by calling 978-654-4678.

“McKenna is an actress who effortlessly blends heart and mind, intellect and feeling.” –The Record

“Shakespeare’s Will” will feature actress Seana McKenna, lead actress of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  She has previously performed in MRT’s production of “Boston Marriage.”  Director Miles Potter will make his MRT debut.  The creative team for “Shakespeare’s Will” consists of Robert Richardson (Producer), Colin Rivers (General Manager), Peter Harwell (Scenic/Costume Designer), Kevin Fraser (Lighting Designer), Peter McBoyle (Sound Designer), Ray Salverda (Production Manager), and Marylu Moyer (Production Consultant).

MRT’s Artistic Director Charles Towers commented on presenting “Shakespeare’s Will” in Lowell and working with Seana McKenna.  “Seana McKenna is not only one of my favorite actresses, she’s generally considered to be one of the finest stage actors in North America.  Although I am not the director of ‘Shakespeare’s Will,’ I have directed her in four productions over the years and each time her talent has taken my breath away.  The last time was David Mamet’s ‘Boston Marriage’here at MRT.  This is a rare opportunity to see Seana in the US (she’s a leading company member of the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival) and especially rare to see her command the stage in a one-woman show.”

Vern Thiessen’s plays are seen around the world. From New Orleans to Alaska; from Canada to China; from Europe to New Zealand; from regional theatre to off-Broadway; from comedies to historical drama; from musicals to works for children, Thiessen is considered one of the most diverse and successful playwrights his native Canada has produced.  Well known works include “Shakespeare’s Will,” “Apple,” “Vimy,” “Einstein’s Gift”, “Lenin’s Embalmers, A More Perfect Union,” “Bird Brain” and two musicals written with composer Olaf Pyttlik: “Rich” and “Rapa Nui”. Thiessen is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play, The City of Edmonton Arts Achievement Award, the University of Alberta Alumni Award for Excellence, The Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, the Carol Bolt Award, and the Alberta Playwrights Network Competition. In 2003, he won the Governor General’s Literary Award, Canada’s highest honor for playwriting. “Lenin’s Embalmers” was nominated for the GG in 2011. “Lenin’s Embalmers”was nominated for the GG in 2011. He has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre and the Herman Voaden Competition.  Thiessen has served as Playwright in Residence at Workshop West Theatre and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.  He is a past president of both the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. He is currently an Associate Artist with Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York City, where he writes, teaches, and acts.  He is also an advisory board member of New York’s Wingspan Arts, and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. He is currently Project Associate for the New Play Frontiers program at People’s Light & Theatre in Malvern, PA. Thiessen divides his time between Winnipeg and New York City with his fiancé, the acclaimed novelist Susie Moloney.

MRT’s 2012-2013 Season is sponsored by LowellBank. “Shakespeare’s Will”is sponsored by Courier, with additional support from 99.5 WCRB Boston. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Seana McKenna

Seana McKenna

Seana McKenna (Anne Hathaway) MRT: Boston Marriage. Regional (US): Phèdre, A.C.T.; A Winter’s Tale, Missouri Rep; How I Learned to Drive, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Rep; To Kill a Mockingbird, A Streetcar Named Desire, Huntington; Passion Play, Goodman; She Stoops to Conquer, Court Theatre.Tour (US):American tour of Stratford’s King Lear and Twelfth Night (LA, Seattle, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Washington). Stratford Festival: 21 seasons – most recently Dolly Gallagher Levi in The Matchmaker and Klytemnestra in Elektra; first – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(Helena) in 1982;  In between: Juliet, Cordelia, Viola, Olivia, Lady Macbeth, Portia, Titania, Queens Margaret, Elizabeth and Katharine, Chorus Henry V, Paulina, Richard (in Richard III directed by her husband Miles Potter) and the spaghetti-western Katria the Shrew; Other – Shakespeare’s Will, Medea, Phèdre, Dangerous Liaisons, The Glass Menagerie, Night of the Iguana, Private Lives, Fallen Angels, London Assurance, Noises Off, Trojan Women, Tartuffe, Good Mother. Regional (Canada): Mrs. Warren’s Profession, MTC; The Year of Magical Thinking, Belfry/Tarragon/NAC; more than 80 productions across the continent. Film/TV: The Hanging Garden (Genie Award – Canada’s Oscar), Rookie Blue, Flashpoint, Eleventh Hour. Awards: Dora (Toronto): Outstanding Actress in Saint Joan, Theatre Plus Toronto; Outstanding Actress in Orpheus Descending, MTC/Mirvish, Outstanding Director for Valley Song, New Globe; Jessie (Vancouver): Wit, Vancouver Playhouse/Canadian Stage; BWW Theater Award (Toronto) A Winter’s Tale; Jeff Award Nomination (Chicago): The Passion Play, The Goodman; CityBeat Award Nomination (Cincinnati): How I Learned to Drive, Cincinnati Playhouse (directed by Charles Towers); Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award Nomination: Phèdre; Tyrone Guthrie Award for Mentorship.Other: Recipient of Honorary MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco; Lives with Miles and son Cal in Harrington, Ontario.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s