Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre to announce season at ‘Sounds and Sweet Aires’

Conway Institute of Music

Partnership with The Max offers series of Shakespearean events

CONWAY—The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will present “Sounds and Sweet Aires” as its first installment of Experience Shakespeare at the Max on Friday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m., at The Max Event Venue, 1007 Spencer Street in downtown Conway.

The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (AST) will also reveal the 2023 AST season. Event tickets are $20 and can be purchased on the AST website.

“Experience Shakespeare at The Max” is a series of fun, interactive and insightful events aimed at exploring the magic behind Shakespeare’s poetry and theatrical craft. The first installment will explore the musicality of Shakespeare’s work. The Max is a state-of-the-art facility that will allow Shakespeare’s plays to be reviewed with top-quality sound, video and multimedia.

“Shakespeare’s plays are not only full of gorgeous verse and prose but have inspired original music for hundreds of years. We will hear live music and stories from the stage from some amazing artists including Aidan O’Reilly, Steven Marzolf, Betsy Jilka and a special surprise remote performance from one of our favorite AST alums who is now performing on Broadway in New York City!” said AST’s Managing Director Chad Bradford, who will also serve as event emcee.

Aidan O’Reilly is a Shakespearean actor with credits from all over the world including Prague Shakespeare in the Czech Republic and the American Shakespeare Center, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. O’Reilly has played the title role in “Richard III,” the Fool in “King Lear” and Caliban in “The Tempest.” O’Reilly is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and his new album of piano-driven blues and jazz songs inspired by Shakespeare’s work will drop in the coming months.

Steven Marzolf is currently the head of undergraduate acting at the University of Arkansas. He has worked with some of the top professionals in the country such as Richard Dreyfuss, Bruce Vilanch, Patrick Page, Darko Trejnak and Adrian Noble. Some of his regional acting credits include The Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Theatresquared, Trike Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Notre Dame Summer Shakes and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he was a part of the original production of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “August: Osage County.” He holds a Master of Fine Arts in acting from The Old Globe Theatre/University of San Diego Professional Actor Training Program.

Betsy Jilka is an actress, teacher, singer and musician. She has taught at the University of Arkansas since August 2017. She has performed professionally in New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. A few of her favorite regional credits include Ruth in “Dessa Rose”  at the Fourth Wall Theatre and Charwoman and Fred’s Wife in “A Christmas Carol” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. She has also sung regionally for Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. Jilka has performed in various roles regionally and locally. At Theatresquared, she was seen in “Rabbit Hole,” “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” and “A Christmas Carol.” She has performed with Trike Theatre of Bentonville, in “Peter Pan,” “Turning Red,” and “A Year With Frog and Toad,” which toured to Indianapolis and Notre Dame, Indiana. Additional local credits include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (NWA Shakespeare) and “The Soldier’s Tale” (Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from the University of Arkansas, as well as training in musical theatre from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

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