Directed by Lear deBessonet, The Insurgents runs in repertory at the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) at Shepherd University, along with new plays by Kyle Bradstreet, David Mamet, Sam Shepard and Tracy Thorne. The four-week festival, consisting of 93 performances, will be held July 8 – 31, 2011.
Single ticket prices to the 2011 repertory are $52. Four-show and five-show ticket packages (CATCards) are available, ranging from $100-$225. Discounts for students, seniors, active military personnel, and groups are also offered. For the Theater Festival Box Office, which is open off-season Monday to Friday from Noon to 5 p.m., call 800-999-CATF (2283) or visit www.catf.org.
Shelley discovered his love for acting at Thornwood High School in South Holland, IL. “In my sophomore year of high school, I had an English teacher named John Knight who liked my voice and encouraged me to join the Speech Team, specifically the event of Radio-Speaking,” said Shelley. “It was not my forte and I gravitated towards humorous acting instead. I auditioned for other things and began my acting training with coaches Darcelle Williams, Cheryl Frazier and Knight.”
He attended Columbia College for a year while pursuing an acting career in Chicago. A friend who had been accepted to Julliard suggested that he audition.
“After two attempts, I was accepted,” said Shelley. “I knew how high the stakes were. I thought it was going to make me the greatest actor in the world and give me more of a foundation for my craft.”
“Juilliard conducted showcases for the graduating class in New York and LA, and I got an agent right out of school,” said Shelley.
After graduating with his BFA from Juilliard, Shelley made his professional acting debut and got his Equity Card for his role as Husband Witherspoon in The Public Theatre’s production of John Henry Redwood’s The Old Settler, directed by Janet Mitchko, in Lewiston, Maine. New York theater credits include the Music Theatre Group’s workshop of Susie Ibarra and Yusef Komunyakaa’s experimental opera Saturnalia, directed by Daniel Fish, in which he plays Paul Bolivia, a U.S. marine who returns to Bangkok with his fellow Marine who saved his life after an attack in Ramadi; Clinton in HATER, Sam Buggeln’s adaptation of Moliere’s The Misanthrope at the Ohio Theatre (Soho Think Tank’s Ice Factory Festival), the title role in Othello, directed by Cara Reichel (Oberon Theatre Ensemble). Regional theater credits include Thami in My Children! My Africa!, by Athol Fugard, directed by Ralph Zito (Chautauqua Conservatory Theatre Company); Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, directed by Christopher Edwards (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival); Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet and Blindman/Con in Ain’t Supposed to Die A Natural Death, both directed by Alfred Preisser (Classical Theatre of Harlem; and Sam in the National Tour of Addy: An American Girl Story with Seattle Children’s Theatre, directed by Linda Hartzell. On TV, he played an ESU officer on “Law & Order.”
New York Times critic Rachel Saltz called Shelley’s portrayal of a troubled artist cannibal headhunter on a remote island in Papua New Guinea, “excellent.” Martin Denton of nytheatre.com said, “the ensemble is excellent, anchored by a strong, sympathetic performance by Daniel Morgan Shelley as Designing Man. The New York Post said The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller was “well-acted, particularly by the charismatic Shelley.”
Who are the directors you would like to work with?
Kenny Leon, Edward Hall, Liesl Tommy, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Julie Taymor, Christopher Nolan, Spike Lee, Michael Mayer, Clint Eastwood, and Michael Grief
What are you most passionate about?
I love the theatre. Be it live or on-camera, I am absolutely in love with the connections that actors have with an audience. It’s my passion – to connect. I love that I am a part of the centuries old tradition of the Thespian, the Griot, the Jyrau, the Bard, the Ashik. Storytellers. Carriers of the Oral Tradition so that the people remember who they are and where they come from. Without that, how do we grow? Theatre is society’s mirror and I thrive on being a part of that mirror. Giving Life to characters – a voice – a body – an existence – a fully realized person for the purpose of telling a story and connecting to an audience. Theatre is a community practice with the potential for a circular exchange of energy between audience and actor. An intimate relationship is established with an audience. It is entertaining and it is healing. Theatre is Magic – to genuinely create living, breathing characters who only existed on paper before I gave them life and having an audience connect to that character is Magic. And I will do this until I die.
Other Articles by Lia Chang
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Photos: Working Theater’s Production of Rob Ackerman’s CALL ME WALDO at Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex through March 11, 2012
Photos: Larry Bryggman, Denise Burse, Peter Jay Fernandez, Tim Hopper, Arliss Howard, Kobi Libii, Mary McCann, Neil Pepe, David Pittu, Steve Rosen, Sheila Tapia, Debra Winger at Atlantic Theatre’s Opening Night of Gabe McKinley’s CQ/CX
Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot, starring Colman Domingo & Scott Shepherd in The Alice Griffith Jewel Box at The Pershing Square Signature Center through March 11, 2012
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Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Up Close and Personal with Darren Pettie, Star of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
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