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Current Season

Click here for a guide to attending Cleve Shakes this summer.

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Please Donate!

Donations may be made online or in person.

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Emily Wirthwein


Emily is excited to be back with Cleveland Shakespeare after performing as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet last year. Emily is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, with additional training at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. This fall, Emily will continue her education at George Washington University with an MFA in classical acting. Emily would also like to thank Dusten, Nick, Allison, and her family for always supporting her, and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.


Chris Bizub


Chris is thrilled returning to be working with CSF yet again! You may remember Chris from 2020’s Julius Caesar (Cassius). Some recent acting credits include The Underpants (Benjamin Cohen) at Western Reserve Playhouse, The Shawshank Redemption (Bryan Hadley) at Avenue Arts, Macbeth (Duncan/The Porter) at Chagrin Arts, and Twelfth Night (Duke Orsino) at Geauga Center for the Arts. As always Chris would also like to thank his wife Brittany for her love and support.

Carol Dolan & Greggory Hill

Amelia & Heather Blonsky

Steve Talbott & Kitty Sommers

Peter Alscher

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for your

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Individual Donors


Katie Wells


Katie is thrilled to be back with CSF where she was last seen as Octavia in Antony and Cleopatra 13 years ago. After attending CSU she has been acting professionally on stages and screens throughout OH and NY. Favorite local theatres she has performed with include: Ohio Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Public Theatre, Blank Canvas Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, French Creek, Magical Theatre Co., Rubber City Theatre and None Too Fragile to make a few. She is an award winning costume designer, award nominated director and devoted theatre educator. She would like to thank Dusten for this opportunity and thank YOU for supporting local theatre! She is a proud Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate.


Cody Swanson


Cody is a professional actor, teacher, and fight choreographer, who is ecstatic to be returning to the parks and urban jungles for Cleveland Shakespeare Festival’s 25th season! He was last seen in CSF’s 2021 production of Romeo and Juliet as Paris, The Prince, and Mercutio. Cody has a BFA in acting and a minor in musical theatre from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also at the university, he studied stage combat. He became an advanced actor combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors, certifying in eight weapon disciplines. At school, some of his favorite credits include “Kiss Me, Kate” (Gangster #1), and “The 39 Steps” (Clown #1). Favorite regional credits include “Young Frankenstein” (Igor), “Romeo & Juliet” (Mercutio), “Assassins” (Sam Byck), and “Bus Stop” (Carl). Thank you to my folks, and my fiancé, Jasmine Renee, for your constant love and support! Thank you to everyonewho made this production possible, but especially to Aislyn (a former student, who makes me proud of her every day!) and my old teaching colleague and someone who I’m honored to call a dear friend, Dusten, for leading us on this journey! Enjoy, folks!


John Lynch


John is a local actor and has performed in many productions in the Cleveland area. He recently played Mr. Greenway in the Beck Center's production “Elf The Musical”. He'll repeat that role this winter. Other plays with the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival include, “The Taming of the Shrew”, “Henry V”, “Merry Wives of Windsor”, “ As You Like It” and “ Macbeth”. When I first played the role of Polonius Dusten Welch was our Hamlet. John has also worked with Cleveland Public Theater, Ensemble, Cain Park, JCC, and as a guest artist with CCC.


Jasmine Renee


Jasmine Renee is a multi-disciplinary artist born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated with a BFA in Dramatic Arts from The New School of Drama. Acting Credits include: Dreamwalkers (Molly Walsh) with Shadow of the Run, Kentucky (Amy) at The New School of Drama, Othello (Duke of Venice) with No Man’s Land Theatre Co., and Twelfth Night (Feste) at The Academy of Performing Arts.


Ryan Pangracs

Laertes / Player

Ryan is a graduate of the Baldwin Wallace BFA Acting program. He is thrilled to join Cleve Shakes for a second season following his performance last summer as Romeo. Since last year, Ryan has had the opportunity to work with Great Lakes Theater as an actor-teacher, immerse himself in the world of voice acting, and spend many a sleepless night trying to figure out how to get an apartment in Manhattan. Praise the sun!


Rachel Gold

Rosencrantz / Francisco / Captain / Player

Rachel, originally from Columbus, OH, is a rising senior at Baldwin Wallace earning her BFA in acting. Most previous credits include Rebecca Nurse (The Crucible), Creature and Mary Shelley (The Modern Prometheus), and Commissioner (Leiningen Vs. The Ants). Rachel is also an aspiring director and playwright. She made her directorial debut in her junior year spring semester at BW directing a new work, Atropos by Alise Heckman. She will be directing a show in the 2022-2023 season at BW in February. This play is another new work by BW junior Olivia Garrett. Shout out to Rachel’s family for always supporting her. Huge thanks to Dusten Welch for giving Rachel this opportunity and to Aislyn Clark for their hard work throughout this process. Rachel would also like to thank her fellow castmates, especially her tweedle dumb twin Bennie, for being so amazing and always ready to play! Enjoy some live theatre! Insta: @bwbfa23 Website:


Bennie Bender

Guildenstern / Osric / Player

Bennie is thrilled to be a part of this production of Hamlet! Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Bennie is currently a senior Acting BFA at Baldwin Wallace University. Bennie would love to thank Dusten, Aislyn, the cast and crew for making this such an enjoyable and fantastic show. You can also see Bennie later this summer in the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival’s production of Learned Ladies. Enjoy the show!! @bwbfa23


Joe Milan

Barnardo / First Player / Fortinbras

Joseph is overjoyed with the return of live theater and pleased to return to Cleveland Shakespeare Festival for "Hamlet." He extends his heartfelt appreciation to the cast and crew. Joe's last stage appearance was in "Candlelight Hypothesis" at Cleveland Public Theatre, for Playwrights Local in "Millwood Outpost,” “Alabama Story” at Ensemble Theatre, and “Twelfth Night” for The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival. Please be kind and creative, seek knowledge, and treasure the arts for our society and its children.


Allen Branstein

Ghost / Gravedigger / Player

Allen is excited to be back with CSF for the 23rd time. Last year he was the Friar and Nurse (complete with hoop skirt). He has appeared at many other theaters, been on the   radio, done a few films, written and performed for The Mike And Al Show (a two-man vaudeville act) and would like to thank Paula, because he can.


Zoe Rose Davidson

Marcellus / Gravedigger 2 / Sailor / Player

(u/s Hamlet)

Zoe is thrilled to return to her hometown this summer with Hamlet! She’s grateful to have spent the past few years in Cincinnati working at amazing theaters such as Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Steel Magnolias), Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (Alice In Wonderland, Bob), the Falcon Theatre (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and more! Zoe is also a Pilates instructor and a big fan of anything active. Thanks to Dusten and thank YOU for supporting live theatre!


Aislyn Clark

Stage Manager / Prop Design

Aislyn is so grateful and excited to be a part of the wonderful casts and company of Cleve Shakes. This year marks her 4th season with the company and she couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of both Hamlet and The Learned Ladies! She would like to thank her parents, Kim and Phil for their endless support and her best friend Halli, who's always there for her. She hopes you enjoy the show!

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