Who is Classical Theatre?

 

The Classical Theatre Company is dedicated to boldly re-envisioning classical drama on the stage, in the community, and in the classroom through engaging and enlightening plays that brings them new life and relevance while maintaining the integrity that the works deserve. The Classical Theatre Company is the only professional theatre company in the Houston area that produces year round classical drama.

Background

Mission

The Classical Theatre Company is dedicated to boldly re-envisioning classical drama on the stage, in the community, and in the classroom through engaging and enlightening plays that brings them new life and relevance while maintaining the integrity that the works deserve.

Vision

The Classical Theatre Company presents high-caliber professional productions of works from the classical canon. These time-honored plays, which were written at least one-century prior, are presented by outstanding local, national, and international artists as a critical component to the well-being of Houston’s cultural community. As Houston continues to develop its reputation as a nationally recognized city for culture and arts, a dynamic year-round, professional classical theatre is crucial in shaping Houston’s diverse cultural landscape.

 

History

The Classical Theatre Company was born in late 2006 when, inspired by a casual conversation about Houston theatre at a Christmas party, theatre professional John Johnston came to the conclusion that there was a distinct niche to fill in the local community. Recognizing the unwavering popularity of classical drama both regionally and worldwide, as well as the noticeable lack of year-round classical theatre in the Bayou City, he began traveling down the path that laid itself before him.

For its 2008-2009 inaugural season, CTC audiences enjoyed two very successful productions and a full three-installment reading series, highlighted by a reading of Benedictus and the inaugural production, Shylock, the Jew of Venice, an adaptation from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Following up its achievements the next season with a bold one-man adaptation of Hamlet as well as the smash hit production of Moliere’s Tartuffe, CTC continued to garner high praise from its audiences and critics alike.

In a landmark 2010-2011 third season, CTC added a third full production to its Mainstage including a co-production with the Prague Shakespeare Festival of As You Like It and King Lear. These Shakespearean classics combined local Houston and European artists with runs of the shows both in Houston and in Prague to rave reviews in each venue.

In the fall of 2014, after producing in eight different venues through its first six seasons, CTC moved into its own facility in Chelsea Market, where it produced all three of its Mainstage productions. This marked a turning point in the company’s life as it now had a permanent home from which to coordinate all of its programming and operations.

Using the clear need for the CTC’s services as well as its dynamic artists as its engine, the company has been able to garner support in many vital areas necessary to the successful achievement of its mission. As this support continues to build, we at the Classical Theatre Company look forward to making the future of classical drama as bright as its past.

In 2016 CTC was honored to be one of only seven companies in the country to be first-time recipients of the prestigious National Theatre Company Grant Award presented by the American Theatre Wing (the organization that runs the Tony Awards).

Artistic Team

JJ JohnstonJohn “JJ” Johnston
Executive Artistic Director

J.J. is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre Company. For CTC, he has directed Reading Series productions of Benedictus, Love’s Last Shift, Second Shepherd’s Play, and Prometheus Bound in addition to Mainstage productions of Hamlet, Tartuffe, Shylock, the Jew of Venice, Antigone, One-Man Hamlet, Ghosts, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, and The Cherry Orchard. As an actor for CTC, he has appeared as Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest as well as Sherlock Holmes in The Speckled Band. Raised in Texas, he came home to Houston after spending a number of years between Boston, Washington D.C., and New York City. Throughout his professional career he has been active in the theatre community locally, nationally, and internationally as an actor, director, and educator. He has appeared in numerous productions around the Houston area with Stages Repertory Theatre, the Alley Theatre, Unity Theatre, Unhinged Productions, Theatre Under the Stars, the Children’s Theatre Festival, and the Great Caruso as well as the International Festival Institute at Round Top, and the Houston Shakespeare Festival. He has also worked in a number of theatres in Washington D.C., Boston, and elsewhere including the Bill W. and Dr. Bob Project, Theater J, the Greenbelt Arts Center, the Source Theatre Festival, and the Keegan Theatre. He has directed around the country at such theaters and universities as the Goddard Players, Creative Arts, Boston College, the Magic Circle Theater, and Tufts University. He has also directed and acted internationally at the National Theatre of Ireland through the Abbey Theatre Program. As an educator, he was a professor of drama at the University of Houston Downtown, and has taught at all levels of education including Medford High School, Tufts University, Boston College, YES Prep Academy, San Jacinto College, and in Washington D.C. at the Catholic University of America. In addition to training at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, he holds a BA in Theater Arts from Boston College, and an MFA in Drama from the Catholic University of America.

 

BW-James BelcherJames Belcher
Artistic Company Member

At Classical Theatre Company, James could be seen as Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, and Dr. Roylott in The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. He was a 25-season member of The Alley Theatre resident acting company and has performed in over 100 professional productions. He has been seen in recent productions for Stages Theatre, Mildred’s Umbrella, and Unity Theatre in Brenham. He is a 35-year member of Actors’ Equity. He holds a BFA in Drama Production from the University of Texas at Austin and a MFA in Directing from the University of Houston. He also teaches Speech/Communication for the Center for Advanced Legal Studies in Houston and is a private acting coach.

 

 

BW-Lindsay EhrhardtLindsay Ehrhardt
Artistic Company Member

Lindsay has appeared at CTC as Gwendolen Fairfax The Importance of Being Earnest as well as Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard. Previous credits include: Grace in Tigers Be Still, Jo in Boom and Heather in Assistance with Black Lab Theatre; Mary in Late: A Cowboy Song with Mildred’s Umbrella; Tatiana Bakunin in The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Tata Herzen in The Coast of Utopia: Salvage, Tiffany in My Wonderful Day, Cat in The Cat in the Hat, Meg Murray in A Wrinkle in Time, Ms. Frizzle in The Magic Schoolbus Live!, and Mom/etc in Superfudge with Main Street Theater; Anna in The Rainbow Lands with 14 Pews; Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Goldilocks in Goldilocks & the Three Little Plays with InterActive Theater; Annelle in Steel Magnolias with Sugarland Imperial Theater. Education: Baylor University, BFA Theater Performance.

 

 

 

 

BW-Philip HaysPhilip Hays
Artistic Company Member

For CTC Philip has directed Doctor Faustus, A Christmas Carol, and adapted and directed Ubu Roi. Other directing credits include his commedia dell’arte-inspired reimagining of The Duchess of Malfi and the world premiere of The Murder of Gonzago for the Prague Shakespeare Company, as well as the original collaborations Cut Down and IMA ZO!!! for BooTown, Margo Veil for Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company and his adaptation of Henry VI, Part 3 for Nova Arts Project’s War of the Roses As an actor he has appeared in CTC’s productions of The Triumph of Love, Candida, and Tartuffe, as well as their co-productions with the Prague Shakespeare Company: As You Like It and King Lear. With other companies he has been seen in Julius Caesar, The Murder of Gonzago, The Duchess of Malfi, Macbeth, Cymbeline, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Prague Shakespeare Company); Henry V, Richard III (Prague Shakespeare Company/Main Street Theater); Love Goes to Press, Life Is a Dream, Dog Act, and the Coast of Utopia trilogy (Main Street Theater); The Barber of Seville (Houston Grand Opera); This Is Our Youth (Mosaic Theatre Company); Among the Thugs (Horse Head Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline (Houston Shakespeare Festival). Philip is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance and has studied commedia dell’arte with Antonio Fava at the Scuola Internazionale dell’Attore Comico.

 

Keenan_smallMatthew Keenan
Artistic Company Member

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Matthew has appeared as Peter Trofimov in The Cherry Orchard, Algernon in The Importance Of Being Earnest, Hamlet in Hamlet, Nazi Officer in The Merchant Of Venice, Ferdinand in The Tempest, Osvald in Ghosts, and Haimon in Antigone. He is a graduate from the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and is a proud company member of both the Keegan Theatre in Washington, D.C. and the Classical Theatre Company here in Houston. Previous acting credits include, The Woman In Black (Mr. Kipps), Dancing At Lughnasa (Gerry), Gdirl From Gdansk (Rich), The Rapture Index (Mark), Love Peace And Robbery (Darren), Stones In His Pockets (Jake), Translations (Doalty), The Shawl (Charles), The Departure Lounge (Frank), Don Carlos (Gabriel De La Cueva/Prince of Parma), A Christmas Carol (Dick Wilkins), Fusion (Jayo), Blue (Des), Romeo And Juliet (Romeo), Big Love (Oed), The B.F.G. (Danny/Bonecruncher), Massacre @ Paris (Various), and What The Dead Want (Bobby). Film and television credits include On Our Way, Henry And Sunny, The Tudors, The Clinic, The Big Bow Wow, Camera Cafe, Bachelors Walk, and Bouncing Boy. Matthew made his directorial debut in 2011 at Keegan Theatre with Peter Coy’s A Shadow Of Honor and most recently made his playwriting debut, also at Keegan Theatre, with An Irish Carol.

 

BW-Philip LehlPhilip Lehl
Artistic Company Member

With CTC: Merchant of Venice, Ghosts, Uncle Vanya, The Tempest. Philip is the Co-Executive Director of Stark Naked Theatre Company. With Stark Naked he has appeared in Macbeth, Debt Collectors(which he also co-directed) and Dinner With Friends, and directed Body Awareness. Last season, he appeared at the Alley Theatre in Clybourne Park, and Christmas Carol. Broadway: Blood Brothers, The Kentucky Cycle. Off-Broadway: Hundreds of Hats. National Tour: Titanic, the Musical. Since arriving in Texas in 2001: Stages: Oh, the Humanity, Yankee Tavern, I Am My Own Wife, Mr. Marmalade, Lady,Souvenir, Amy’s View, The Pavilion, Dirty Blonde. Over thirty productions at the Alley including: The Pillowman, The Farnsworth Invention, Eurydice,The Crucible, The Exonerated, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Mousetrap, Hamlet and The Invention of Love. Main Street Theatre: Houston Shakespeare Festival: King John, Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Julius Caesar, Cymbeline. TUTS: Wonderful Life, Sound of Music, and one memorable performance of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Generations: Bat Boy, Spring Awakening, Our Town. BCCM: On the Town, Fiorello, Assassins, She Loves Me. EHS: The Tempest.  Regional:  St. Louis Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The New Harmony Theatre and Weston Playhouse. Film and TV:Tripwire, The Nanny, Martial Law and Hollywood Off-Ramp. Education: The Juilliard School, Drake University, NTI, Moscow Arts Theatre School. As a director: Almost Main, Reckless (Brave Dog Theatre), Ferdinand the Bull (Stages), On the Town (co-director, BCCM) Art (Generations) Teaching: Philip teaches several ongoing acting classes as well as private sessions. For more information,please visit kimtobinactingstudio.com. Lehl is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

 

BW-Ryan McGettiganRyan McGettigan
Artistic Company Member

Classical Theatre Company: A Christmas Carol, The Importance of Being Earnest, Doctor Faustus, Ubu Roi; TUTS Underground: LMNOP, Reefer Madness; Stages Repertory Theatre: Marie Antoinette, Failure: A Love Story, The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns, Language Archive, Next to Normal; Catastrophic Theatre: A Very Tamarie Christmas (World Premiere), Middletown, Clean/Through (World Premiere), Old as Hell (World Premiere); Main Street Theater: Putting it Together, Into the Woods, A Civil War Christmas, Close Up Space, Henry V (Prague Shakespeare Company), Memory House, Richard III (Prague Shakespeare Company); Orlando Shakespeare Theater: Julius Caesar; Cape Rep (Brewster, MA): Jerusalem, Eurydice, Beauty Queen of Leenane, Avenue Q, Mack & Mabel; Abilene Shakespeare Festival: Much Ado About Nothing; Legacy Theatre (Atlanta Georgia): The Music Man, 9 to 5: The Musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Shepherd School of Music: Volpone, Our Town, A Little Night Music; New Orleans Opera: Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor; Houston Grand Opera: Bound (World Premiere), From My Mother’s Mother (World Premiere), Your Name Means the Sea (World Premiere). Upcoming: The Magic Flute (Opera San Jose), Le nozze di Figaro (New Orleans Opera), Tsuru (World Premiere – Houston Ballet/Asia Society Texas), The Odyssey (World Premiere – Glimmerglass Opera). Education: Emerson College. www.RyanMcGettigan.com.

 

SchliefMatthew Schlief
Artistic Company Member

Matthew Schlief is an Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Texas Tech University. From 2005 to 2013 Matt was a Lecturer at Rice University in Theatrical Design focusing on scenery, lighting, and sound. He has been an instructor at Augusta State University, St. John’s School, Mt. Pleasant High School, Klein High School, and the University of Houston. Matt received his BFA in Theatre from Southwestern University, and his MFA in Scenic and Lighting Design from the University of Houston. Outside of academia, Matt is a Company Member of Horsehead Theatre Co., Resident Designer for Generations A Theatre Co. and Classical Theatre Co., and has designed for Main Street Theater, Houston Shakespeare Festival, City Dance Company, and Brave Dog Theatre (now Stark Naked). Over the past 16 years, Matt’s design credits include: The Illusion, Sweeney Todd, COCO Dance Festival in Trinidad, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Our Town, Macbeth, Miss Julie, Tartuffe, Spring Awakening, Art, Forever Plaid, West Side Story, Dreamgirls, Urban Cowboy, True West, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Aida, Full Monty, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hecuba, No Exit, Cats, Odd Couple, Evita, Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Faustus, Harvey, Geurnica, The Music Man, Arcadia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, The Robber Bridegroom, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Chorus Line, Funny Girl, Ramona Quimby, Hello Dolly, Sweet Charity, Top Girls, Reckless, Miss Saigon, Private Eyes, Stop Kiss, The Threepenny Opera, Antigone, Twelfth Night, Pericles, Ruthless, The Bug, Noises Off, Ghosts, Among the Thugs, and many other performances and events.

 

Julia TraberJulia Traber
Artistic Company Member

As a CTC resident artist, Julia has performed as Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest. As a director at CTC she has worked on productions of Miss Julie; The Triumph of Love; and Candida. Other directing credits include: All Girls (Stark Naked Theatre Co.); Almost Maine; Greater Tuna; Angel Street; The Importance of Being Earnest; Enchanted April; Cyrano (Unity Theatre); The Lion in Winter; Art; Wit; The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Texas Repertory Theatre Company); The Art of Conversation (Musiqa); Good (staged reading at The Landing Theatre Company); O Mistress Mine (staged reading at Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Mauritius; The Bug; Private Eyes (Rice University); and The Nerd; Beyond Therapy (University of Houston). Assistant directing credits include: Bach at Leipzig; Cyrano; A Christmas Carol; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?; Yes, No, Maybe So (Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Hamlet (Houston Shakespeare Festival). She created and directed the Alley Theatre Young Performers Studio for several seasons, and developed an IB early childhood creative drama program for Aldine ISD. Julia is a guest lecturer and visiting director for Rice University’s Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts and a member of the performing arts faculty at St. Francis Episcopal Day School. She earned an MFA in theatre from the University of Houston.

Administration Team

delacruzEva De La Cruz
Administrative Associate

Eva has been active in the Houston theatre scene for several years in a variety of capacities. She is currently a freelance teaching artist, working as the Youth Theatre Director at the ER Jewish Community Center, a satellite teacher with Main Street Theater, and an instructor at Page Parkes Center of Modeling and Acting. Previously, she served as the Artistic Coordinator at HITS Theatre, where she taught, choreographed, and directed productions for kids in grades 1-12. Other arts administration credits include work with the annual Houston Shakespeare Festival (four seasons), Arts With an Impact, and Nova Arts Project. Eva received her BA in Theatre from the University of Houston. Eva has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association since 2005, and has worked as a stage manager for over 45 local productions at theatres including: Stages Repertory Theatre, Main Street Theater, HITS Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Festival, Talento Bilingue de Houston, Miller Outdoor Theatre, and the University of Houston.

 

 

BW-Andrew LoveAndrew Love
Operations Manager

As an actor with CTC he has appeared as Dr. Watson in The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. His previous theatre credits include: You Can’t Take it With You (G-man) and A Christmas Carol (Fred/Scrooge at 21) at the Alley; Cymbeline (Posthumous), Julius Caesar (Octavius), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) at the Houston Shakespeare Festival; as well as the world premiere of Abby Koenig’s Spaghetti Code (Phil) for Horse Head Theatre. Andrew also performs regularly at the Houston Grand Opera, having appeared in Il Trovatore, Showboat (Pete),and Ariadne auf Naxos. He is also a voice actor for Sentai Filmworks and Funimation Studios, where he has voiced more than 100 characters since 2005. Andrew won Behind The Voice Actor’s 2013 Best Male Voice Actor of the Year in Anime. Film credits include: Starship Troopers: Invasion and Critical Mass.

 

ThomasPrior-897x1024Thomas Prior
Internship Coordinator & Artistic Company Member

For CTC, Tom has directed The Importance of Being Earnest . As an actor at CTC he has appeared as Gloucester in King Lear, Touchstone in As You Like It, the title role in Tartuffe, Morell in Candida, Prisoner #A6202 in Shylock: the Jew of Venice, Teiresias in Antigone, Narrator/Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, and Hermocrate in Triumph of Love. Houston Shakespeare Festival: Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antonio in Twelfth Night, Cleon in Pericles, Pisanio in Cymbeline, Cicero/Conspirator in Julius Caesar, Costard in Love’s Labor’s Lost, Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Jaques in As You Like Itand The Ghost in Hamlet. Stages Repertory Theatre: Panto Cinderella, Five Course Love, Searching for Eden, Spitfire Grill, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Convenience, Syncopation, Romance, Romance, Elizabeth Rex, Company and The Memory of Water. UH/Alley Theatre: All My Sons. Main Street Theater: Copenhagen, The Three-Cornered Hat. A.D. Players: The Winslow Boy, The Importance of Being Earnest, Sanders Family Christmas. The Barnstormers Theatre (Tamworth, NH): The Seagull, The Three Sisters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Playboy of the Western World, Death of a Salesman, Lend Me a Tenor, I Do! I Do!. Film and Television: Warning: Parental Advisory, Law and Order. Education: MFA, University of Houston; BFA, Carnegie-Mellon University. Thomas is proud to have worked/studied with the following: Sir Peter Hall, Stuart Ostrow, Bobby Lewis, Elizabeth Orion, Mel Shapiro, and Sidney Berger. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of the Department of Theatre at Sam Houston State University and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

 

Andrea Weekley
Production Stage Manager

Stage Management credits include: Classical Theatre Company: Ubu Roi; Miss Julie; A Christmas Carol, The Tempest; Uncle Vanya; The Triumph of Love; Candida; Ghosts; Tartuffe; One-Man Hamlet. Main Street Theater: Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris; University of Houston: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; What the Butler Saw; I Hate Hamlet. As Assistant Stage Manager: Classical Theatre Company/Prague Shakespeare Festival: As You Like It; King Lear; Stages Repertory Theatre: Panto Sleeping Beauty; University of Houston/Alley Theatre: All My Sons. Andrea worked as the Production Stage Manager for the University of Houston Children’s Theatre Festival for three seasons and as Assistant Stage Manager for one season. Shows at CTF include: Pinocchio; The Ugly Duckling; The Little Mermaid; The Princess and the Pea; Magic Theatre; as well as four new musicals written by Jerry Bock and Dr. Sidney Berger.

Boards

Candida

Candida

Board of Directors

Ivar Siem, Chairman & President
Kate Pogue, Vice President
Claudio Gutierrez, Treasurer
Robert Lemus, Secretary
John Johnston
Jack W. Massey
Megan Steckly

Advisory Board

Sidney Berger (in memoriam)
Jodi Bobrovsky
Christy Bolingbroke
Joan Bolingbroke
Bob Boudreaux
Rehan Farooq
Conor Johnston
Christine S. Johnston
Jessica Q. Johnston
Mimi Kilgore
Chesley Santoro Krohn
Dr. Justin Lake
Christianne Mays Hagemann
Susan Shofner
Ed Smith
Claremarie Veryheyen
Michael Watson

 

Frequently Asked...

What kind of plays does CTC produce?

We produce plays that are drawn from the classical canon, which we define as having been written at least one century prior. That leaves countless texts that fall under our definition of “classical” into which we can delve with our unique artistic vision, with more plays being added every season.

Where is the CTC located?

CTC is based out of the Chelsea Market center (located at 4617 Montrose Blvd.) in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, Texas. All of our administrative and artistic operations are housed here. Please note: this is not our mailing address.

How can I get involved?

As a new company we are always looking for support in many areas. Of course, as a non-profit organization our lifeblood is based in individual or corporate tax-deductible donations. These can be donated directly online through our website, or we can be contacted at support@classicaltheatre.org for more information. We also need volunteers to help during productions. The need for ticket takers, ushers, and other temporary staff is always prevalent.

How do I audition?

The Classical Theatre Company casts a bulk of its roles from local Houston talent. Occasionally, roles will be cast from outside the Houston area. CTC is devoted to working with both Equity and non-Equity actors. CTC casts its season each summer from an open general audition. Announcements through our website and other media outlets will notify the public of any upcoming auditions.
To be included in our files, actors are encouraged to mail a headshot and resume (stapled together) to:

Classical Theatre Company
Attn: Artistic Company
PO Box 541324
Houston, TX 77254