Cover Story: Talent Pool

CSF Assembles Acting Ensemble for 2004-05

Rob Jansen

The core acting company at Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival is one of its hallmarks, a feature that keeps audiences returning to see favorite performers. Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips will work with a dozen actors for CSF's 11th season, including Jeremy Dubin, now a member of Actors Equity who was a company member from 1999 to 2002 and who turned in a brilliant performance as Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in February.

He'll be joined by founder Nick Rose and Phillips, both of whom will perform in three productions. The ensemble will be rounded out with three other CSF veterans: Corinne Mohlenhoff, Matt Johnson (also serving as company manager) and Sylvester Little Jr. (a company member in 1999-2001).

A most interesting addition is Rob Jansen, who caught the eye of many in the theater community in June 2003 playing the lead role in Know Theatre Tribe's award-winning production of Corpus Christi by Terrence McNally. Jansen was named Best Local Actor for that performance in the 2003 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

The company will include five new actors: Jeff Rice, Jeff Sanders, Anita Ross, Kate Berry and Andrew Bernhard, who graduates from Northern Kentucky University this spring (and was a CEA nominee in 2003 for his performance in NKU's production of Man of La Mancha).

In addition to Dubin, Phillips will cast several local professionals who are members of Actors Equity in a variety of roles: Bruce Cromer and Amy Warner will play George and Martha in the April production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Both actors were 2003 CEA nominees for their work at Ensemble Theatre, Cromer in the one-man show Underneath the Lintel and Warner as the writer in The Guys who helps a fire captain write eulogies to men lost at the World Trade Center. Additionally, professional Michael Shooner will perform in Arthur Miller's All My Sons, and Nancy Eyermann, an acting intern during 2003-04, will return as a guest artist.

Phillips intends to professionalize the company.

"Five years from now," he says, "the majority of CSF's actors will be Equity. We will be an Equity ensemble."

When that happens, CSF's Young Company will earn Equity points toward union membership by performing at the theater.