Comedic Theatre Production (Opening February 15) Brings Shakespeare and Contemporary World Together

Janice Fronczak
UNK Department of Music and Performing Arts, 308-865-8670

The University of Nebraska at Kearney theatre department’s upcoming presentation, “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet),” will bring a comedic mix of the Shakespearean and contemporary world to the university in February.
The production will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 15-17, and again Feb. 22-24, in the Miriam Drake Theatre. On Sunday, Feb. 18, there will be a 2 p.m. performance.
The play, which was written by Ann-Marie MacDonald, is a “fantastical comedy,” according to Janice Fronczak, the director of the UNK production.
“The production is a magical expose of a doctoral candidate’s imagination, as well as her ponderings, ideas and fancy notions about who the ‘real’ writer was behind Shakespeare’s most beloved characters,” Fronczak said.
The play features a cast of five: Ashley Kobza, David City; J.T. Jelkin and Joseph Kni spel, Kearney; Stephanie Gray, Polk; and Rachel Jensen, Wayne. In addition, the dramaturg position will be handled by Sarah Schreiter, Holdrege; set design by Bob Heiden, Kearney; and costume design by Takashi Morimoto, Japan.
The play will include stage combat and dancing, as well as famous characters from Shakespeare’s literature, including Othello, Desdemona, and Romeo and Juliet. Cast members will play multiple roles, which will require numerous quick costume changes.
In addition, original music for the performance has been composed by Dr. Darleen Mitchell, UNK associate professor of music and performing arts, and Gary Schaaf, UNK professor of music and performing arts, choreographed the dance portion of the performance.
Fronczak said the large number of supporting members who are working on the performance require a high level of coordination and planning. However, she said the extra effort is paying off for the production.
“A lot of energies are coming together, and that’s exciting,” she said. “The play is a true theatrical event, a tour de force.”

Full Cast and Crew Listing

Performers, along with their hometowns and the parts they will play, include:

Ashley Kobza, David City – Constance Ledbelly

J.T. Jelkin, Kearney  – Othello, Tybalt, Prof. Claude Night, Juliet’s Nurse

Joseph Knispel, Kearney – Romeo, Iago, Chorus, Ghost

Stephanie Gray, Polk  – Desdemona, Ramona, Mercutio, Servant

Rachel Jensen, Wayne ­ – Juliet, Student, Soldier of Cypress


Dramaturg – Sarah Schreiter, Holdrege

Set Design – Bob Heiden, Kearney

Costume Design – Takashi Morimoto, Japan

Lighting – Ron Koinzan, lecturer, theatre department

Sound Engineer – Shawn Deiger, sound production coordinator, fine arts & humanities

Stage Combat – Chance Hartman

Music Composition – Dr. Darleen Mitchell, associate professor, music & performing arts

Choreography – Gary Schaaf, professor, music & performing arts