Hickory – In the Hickory Community Theatre production of Shakespeare in Love, familiar faces return to the stage as businessmen and theatrical professionals in the community of Young Will Shakespeare’s London. Among these are Donovan Harper, Justin Thomas, Watts Rogers, and Matt Finch. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting troupe made up of men and young boys since women weren’t allowed on stage, is comprised of Cameron Brent Carroll, Jordan Smith, Adam Lowery, Eljae Roe, Taylor Edwards, David Sandoval, and Steve Austin. The show opens Mar. 6 and runs through Mar. 22 in the Jeffers Theatre.

Harper plays Kit Marlowe, a fellow playwright. He has been in other recent HCT shows, such as A Raisin in the Sun and As You Like It. Thomas plays Richard Burbage, owner of the rival Curtain Theatre. When asked why he chose to audition for Shakespeare in Love, Thomas said, “Comedy, swordfighting, and a dog.” Rogers plays John Webster, a young boy who frequents the Rose Theatre. He is making his second onstage appearance at HCT. Finch plays Ned Alleyn, a leading tragedian actor. When asked why he chose Shakespeare in Love, Finch said, “I liked the film; I’m a student of Shakespeare and Marlowe.”

Carroll plays Robin. He most recently played Brick in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Old Colony Players. Lowery plays Ralph. When asked what he likes about his role, Lowery said, “No shaving.” Roe is a student at Catawba Valley Community College. He recently was in their production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Smith was just on stage last month as Bobby in American Buffalo, and had roles in three productions last season – Dreamgirls, As You Like It and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Edwards recently was seen on stage at HCT in Hair, and Dreamgirls, as well as being a “pit singer” for Mamma Mia!. When asked why he chose this particular show, Edwards said, “I love Billy Shakes.” Sandoval plays Nol. He was last seen in Newsies, Mamma Mia, and Legally Blonde. Austin plays Wabash. When asked what he likes about his role, Austin said, “It was played by one of my favorite actors in the movie.”

This romantic comedy, based on the 1998 Oscar winning film, has a historical setting but the language and situations are decidedly modern. The script was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, based on the original screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard.

Performances of Shakespeare in Love are Fridays and Saturdays (Mar. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, & 21) at 8:00pm, Thursdays (Mar. 12 & 19) at 7:30pm and Sundays (Mar. 15, & 22) at 2:30pm.

Tickets for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors. Thursday night tickets are $16 for all adults and $10 for students. Call the box office at 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org to purchase tickets or get more information.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. A Cleaner World, Paramount Automotive, the City of Hickory and Sunbelt Xpress are the sponsors of the 2019-2020 Season. Shakespeare in Love is being produced by Commscope, Shurtape, and the Friends of the Theatre.

PHOTO: (back row: Adam Lowery, David Sandoval, Jordan Smith, Eljae Roe, Steve Austin; middle row: Watts Rogers, Justin Thomas, Matt Finch; front: Taylor Edwards and Cameron Brent Carroll) make up the theatrical community in the upcoming production of Shakespeare in Love at the Hickory Community Theatre. Performances run March 6 through March 22 in the Jeffers Theatre. For show times and tickets visit hickorytheatre.org or call 828-328-2283. Photo by Lauren Albers.