WESTPORT, Conn. -- Two actors with roots in Westport are returning to the the area this summer to play roles in in the Connecticut Free Shakespeare’s production of "As You Like It."
Jacob Heimer of New York City and Westport will play the role of Touchstone, a witty and clever (and base and bawdy) court jester. He is an Actors’ Equity actor.
Heimer attended Staples High School, where he says “being in the theater club and Staples Players was like being on the football team.”
This role marks Heimer’s debut with CT Free Shakespeare. His recent theatrical credits include "The Fantasticks" and "Next to Normal" at Music Theatre of Connecticut. He has a B.F.A. in Musical Theater from Syracuse University. His studies there included a semester at London's Globe Playhouse.
Gabriel Aprea of Hamden and Westport plays the role of Le Beau, a member of the court of a usurping duke. Aprea is an Actors’ Equity membership candidate.
He is back for a third year with CFS. In addition to acting, he is serving as the company’s Equity Membership Candidate Coordinator, overseeing the understudies. Aprea’s past CFS credits include Balthazar in "Romeo and Juliet" (2012) and Oberon’s Wood Sprite in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" (2013).
Aprea has also worked with Connecticut Repertory Theatre; Act 2 Theatre; Main Stage Ensemble at Hamden High School; and with the Whitney Players Community Theatre. He is currently a senior at the University of Connecticut working on a B.F.A. in acting.
They will be joining another Westport area resident in the cast: Easton’s Hannah Dubner, a graduate of Staples High and Ithaca College, is playing the lead role of Rosalind in the production.
“Shakespeare is booby-trapped with challenges, and laden with risks," she said. "It’s important to first figure out what you’re saying, and then make sure you communicate the story. Actors are storytellers. Our job is to make sure the audience understands and goes with us on the characters' journeys."
Connecticut Free Shakespeare's performances of “As You Like It,” one of the Bard's most beloved comedies, will be at The American Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford through Aug. 3. The show will also run at the McLevy Green in Bridgeport from Aug. 6 to 10. All shows begin at 8 p.m.
Admission is free, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets for an enjoyable, outdoor evening. The show is geared toward all ages and according to Dubner, “prior knowledge of Shakespeare is not required.”
Last year, attendance at one show surpassed 1,800 playgoers. More information can be found at www.ctfreeshakespeare.org.