Strassburg returns for ‘Shakespeare’ at theREP

Takes time out from job on Wall Street
The cast of "Shakespeare in Love."
The cast of "Shakespeare in Love."

In photo: The cast of theREP’s “Shakespeare in Love” includes, standing, from left, Kevin McGuire, Jenny Strassburg, Diaka Kaba Hill, Benita Zahn and Gabrielle D. Straight; seated, from left, Casie Girvin, Christian Ryan and Kevin Craig West.

People who know Jenny Strassburg or have seen her perform on stage, can’t quite grasp the notion that she doesn’t always get the role she wants.

“I’ve auditioned for this show a couple of times and haven’t got it,” said Strassburg, a New York City-based actress who will play Viola in the Capital Repertory Theatre production of “Shakespeare in Love,” opening Friday and running through May 12. “When I heard that Capital Rep was doing it I was so excited and hoping that I’d be able to do it here. It’s a dream show for an actor. It’s one of those shows that require all the skills you learn in your theater training.”

The story about Shakespeare getting writer’s block – originally a film from 1998 with Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes – was written for the stage by Lee Hall and first performed in 2014 in London to rave reviews. The Capital Rep production is being directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill and along with Strassburg stars Christian Ryan as Shakespeare. The cast also includes a number of the Capital Region’s most recognizable faces, including Kevin McGuire, David Girard, John Romeo, Kevin Craig West, Tom Templeton and Benita Zahn.

“There are so many great local actors up here working on the show and I really enjoy collaborating with them,” said Strassburg, who delighted Cap Rep audiences “Venus in Fur” in 2013 and “Sex with Strangers” in 2017. “It’s a very huge and diverse cast. I always love coming to Albany because I know Maggie’s going to do a great job and I know I’ll be working with great people.”

The script for the stage production of “Shakespeare in Love” keeps fairly close to the movie version, which was co-written by Tom Stoppard, the winner of four Tony Awards and the author of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstein Are Dead” and “The Coast of Utopia

“I hadn’t seen the movie in a while but I did go back and watch it before I auditioned and I was struck by how perfect it was,” said Strasburg. “Tom Stoppard is an incredible writer, and while the stage play is a little different in places, it does follow the movie’s story pretty closely.”

While Strassburg has kept herself very busy as an actress – she’s worked at Alabama Shakespeare the past three summers – she does have other responsibilities. Along with being the mother of a young child, she is also working on Wall Street.

“I have a kid, I’m working on producing some of my own material, and I’m an executive assistant for a hedge fund manager,” said Strassburg. “They are so nice because they gave me some leave to come and do this show. So I’m still trying to act when I can, but I’m also a full-time parent with a cool day job.”

Much of the cast in Capital Rep’s “Shakespeare in Love” also sings, which Strassburg says was a challenge she was ready to take on.

“I’ve been hired to play singers before, but they were always characters who didn’t sing that well,” she said. “I have an OK singing voice but I’m just not a musical person. I wouldn’t audition for a musical but I can sing a little bit. This is not a musical but it is a play with plenty of music. It’s very similar to a musical in its scale of production.”

“I want music all the time,” said Mancinelli-Cahill, who is employing Josh D. Smith as the show’s musical director as well as one of its cast members. “We have madrigal singers in ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ and lots of onstage underscoring. The music is part of the storytelling.”

Mancinelli-Cahill will lead a pre-show discussion at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, and a post-show discussion the following Wednesday, April 24, also at 6:30 p.m.

‘Shakespeare in Love’

WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111, North Pearl, Albany

WHEN: Previews run Friday through Sunday; the show opens Tuesday, April 9 and runs through May 12; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Satuurday and 2 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $$62-$16

MORE INFO: Visit or call (518) 445-7469





Categories: Entertainment

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