Shakespeare Festival St Louis - In the News

Into the Breeches!

Written by George Brant
Directed by Nancy Bell

Written by the award-winning playwright of Grounded, which starred Anne Hathaway in its New York run, Into the Breeches! is a hilarious and heartwarming look at the WWII home front and a group of St. Louis ladies who band together to keep their favorite theater going with an all-female production of Henry V.

About George Brant

George Brant was born in Park Ridge, Illinois and studied acting at Northwestern before turning to writing for his own zeppo theater company in Chicago during the ‘90s. He now lives in Cleveland with his wife, Laura Kepley, the Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House.

His 2012 play, Grounded, about a female fighter pilot reassigned to the Air Force’s drone unit, played New York’s Public Theater in a production starring Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and directed by Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner Julie Taymor. That production won three Lortel Awards for excellence Off-Broadway and has gone on to over 125 productions in 18 countries and a dozen different languages.

Still when Into the Breeches! premiered earlier this year at the Tony-winning Trinity Rep in Rhode Island, the Providence Journal called it, out of Brant’s 20-plus plays, “his best work by far” and “a gem of a play, one of the sweetest nights of theater you’re likely to see”.

The Shakespeare Festival is proud to present the Midwest premiere of this charming, big-hearted and provocative new play by one of America’s most acclaimed and original new voices.


Gary Wayne Barker* (Ellsworth) recently directed A Most Outrageous Fit of Madness (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Education Tour).  He is a two-time Kevin Kline Award winner for acting.  Regional (selected): Repertory Theatre St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Mustard Seed Theatre, Arrow Rock Theatre, New Jewish Theatre, Upstream Theatre, Ozark Actors Theatre.  Education:  MFA Acting, Michigan State University; Actors Center NY; Central School of Speech and Drama, London.  Professor of Acting and Associate Dean, Saint Louis University.

Kari Ely* (Celeste) has worked for virtually every professional theatre in St. Louis, recently playing: Regina in The Little Foxes, Violet in August: Osage County and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf  (St. Louis Actor’s Studio).  Highlights also include: Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra and Hostess Quickly in Henry IV & V (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), Mrs. John Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (Repertory Theatre) and Agnes in I Do, I Do (marking her 50th production at Stages).

Michelle Hand (Maggie) was most recently seen as Kent in Blow Winds Blow (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis). Other recent credits include: Life Sucks (New Jewish Theater); Born Yesterday (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Silent Sky (West End Players Guild) Dancing at Lughnasa (Mustard Seed Theater); Macbeth (St. Louis Shakespeare) and The Two-Character Play (Tennessee Williams Festival/Midnight Company).  Much love to Tim and Liv and thanks to her friends for their support of her and local theater.

Katy Keating (Winnifred) is the co-artistic director of Poor Monsters and the communications director at ERA in St. Louis. Recently, she appeared in No Exit (SATE), Blow, Winds (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), Life Sucks (New Jewish Theatre), Remnant (Mustard Seed Theatre), and Titus Androgynous (YoungLiars). She directed Or What You Will, The Third (Poor Monsters), and How to be a Woman (SATE’s Aphra Behn Festival). Much love to Janet!

Mary McNulty* (June) is delighted make her Shakespeare Festival St. Louis debut. Select credits: The National Tour of Camelot (Guenevere). NYC: The Merchant of Venice (Portia), End of Summer (Paula). Regional: Kiss Me Kate (Lilli/Katherine), Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice), Brigadoon (Fiona), A Little Night Music (Charlotte), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania/Hippolyta), and Moon Over Buffalo (Rosalind). For more about McNulty please visit Much love to P, G, E, J, and J.

Ben Nordstrom* (Stuart) is grateful to join Shakespeare Festival St. Louis  for Into the Breeches. Previously with the Festival, he appeared in Nancy Bell’s Found At Sea and The Tempest in collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony. Nordstrom’s work includes many appearances at the Repertory Theatre (Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, To Kill A Mockingbird, Macbeth) and the Muny (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Music Man, Billy Elliot). Other work includes Arrow Rock Lyceum, New Jewish, Stages, HotCity, OnSite, Echo. Proud member AEA, SAG-AFTRA. BFA – Webster Conservatory.

Laura Resinger (Grace) is elated to be making her Shakespeare Festival St. Louis debut.  She hails from Columbia, Mo., and she received her BA from Washington University in St. Louis and MFA from DePaul University.  Resinger currently resides in Chicago where she can be seen in the upcoming production of The Father with Remy Bumppo Theatre Co.  Special shout out to Ellie and Paul, Lance, and her ever supportive family.

Jacqueline Thompson* (Ida)  is an assistant professor of theatre at the UMSL and proud member of Actors Equity Association. Selected acting credits include Insidious and Dot (The Black Rep), Old Hearts Fresh, A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), A Kid Like Jake and A Christmas Carol ( Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Intimate Apparel (New Jewish Theatre), and A Human Being Died That Night (Upstream Theater). This year, she received a Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama as well as an Artist Fellowship from the Regional Arts Commission.

*Denotes member, Actors’ Equity Association

Creative Team

Nancy Bell (Director) is an award-winning playwright, director and actor. Acting credits include work at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, South Coast Repertory, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and many other theatres. She has directed at New Jewish Theatre, STL Actors Studio, and Saint Louis University, where she is Associate Professor of Theatre. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has produced eight of her contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare plays.

Margery and Peter Spack (Set Design) made their Shakespeare Festival St. Louis debut with 2016’s Tales of Shakespeare at Powell Hall with the St. Louis Symphony and designed the 2018 Festival mainstage production of Romeo & Juliet in Forest Park. Recently they have designed scenery for Heisenberg and Safe House at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Golda’s Balcony, Intimate Apparel (Winner, Set Design in a Play, 2018 STL Theater Circle), and Never
 the Sinner at The New Jewish Theatre. As Studio Spack Environment Design, Margery and Peter Spack design corporate theater, product reveals, broadcast news, trade show environments, and private events. They both have BFAs from Webster University and reside in their hometown of St. Louis.

Michele Friedman Siler (Costume Design) In addition to working with the Shakespeare Festival’s Education Tour, Michele’s recent design credits include A Streetcar Names Desire for the Tennessee Williams Festival, New Jerusalem, Never The Sinner, Intimate Apparel, for New Jewish Theatre, The Tempest, Cardenio, The Heir Apparent, for St. Louis Shakespeare,  Infected, A Human Being Died That Night, The Death of Atahualpa, for Upstream Theatre,  and Blithe Spirit, Waiting for Godot for St. Louis Actors’ Studio.