Opening this Weekend – the 19th Season of Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks

Performances for PSiP’s all-female Cleopatra & Antony begin this Saturday, September 2nd at 2 p.m. at Frick Park and continue through October 4th in various city parks with free admission.

Politics meets passion in the timeless story of Cleopatra & Antony. Founding Artistic Director Jennifer Tober takes a twist on Shakespeare’s classic by examining and highlighting the strength and passion of the female characters—putting Cleopatra first. 

Anthony played by Harper York and  Cleopatra played by Callee Miles in her PSiP debut | Photo by Catherine Aceto.

Tober is staging PSiP’s first production of the historic play in four different City of Pittsburgh parks and at The Frick’s Clayton Mansion grounds. 

 “We are excited to keep expanding our diversity footprint and our mission of excellent, free Shakespeare for all in our 19th season with this innovative all-female version of Cleopatra & Antony,” says Tober, who directs her fourth production for PSiP.

“For me, this play is a study in the contrast in the sometimes opposing forces of love and politics. The question arises—can the two exist simultaneously? And how do we create a political body and society that also values love? For our piece Cleopatra & Antony, I chose an all-female cast to highlight the intelligence, fierceness and accomplishments of women, and to retell Shakespeare’s timeless classic in a new way relevant for today’s audience.”

“Because we are committed to giving roles to women and female-identifying performers, we highlight the character of Cleopatra, one of the most fascinating and complicated characters in all of Shakespeare’s plays as well as in history,” says Tober. “Thus, the title change from Anthony and Cleopatra to Cleopatra & Antony.”

Tober stresses: “It is vital at this time in history, when arts censorship is on the rise and the rights of women, people of color, and LBGTQ folks are being eradicated, that we tell Shakespeare’s stories in relevant and innovative ways that speak to all people.

“And, of course, get ready for our big musical numbers as we bring the Bard’s words to life. We are psyched to add the Frick Museum Clayton House lawn to our season this year – September 23 and 24 – and are honored to be back in the beautiful city parks of Frick Park, Highland Park, Westinghouse in Homewood, and Oakland’s Schenley Plaza.”

In addition to a company of nine players, she announces: “We are so fortunate and excited again to be working with Music Director extraordinaire Matt Calvetti, Props and Set designer Sam Kuchta, and Costumer Ricky Lyle.

Callee Miles, in her PSiP debut, portrays Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra. Miles also plays Octavia, sister to Octavius Caesar, whom Antony marries for political reasons during the course of the play despite his ongoing relationship with Cleopatra. Harper York appears as Rome’s Mark Antony, a role York portrayed in PSiP’s all-female Julius Caesar in 2019. York is also cast as the Clown.

Actors will appear in a variety of other varied roles. Returning PSiP actor Catherine Baird portrays Charmian, Lepidus, Menecrates, and Schoolmaster. Joanna Getting returns to the company as Enobarbus and Proculeius.

PSiP’s 19th year will honor the lives and work of actor Ronald H. Siebert, who performed in many company shows and events and other regional theatre companies, and Tracey D. Turner, actor, and PSiP Board Member.

Tober adds: “We miss both Ron and Tracey terribly and are honored that they continue to live on in our work.” 


Admission to PSiP’s Cleopatra and Anthony is free, with online and onsite donations requested. 

Performance Schedule:

  • Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at 2 p.m. at Frick Park | Alan Irvine tells the story of the play before each performance. Puppeteer Cat Aceto gives a preshow workshop on Sunday at 1 p.m. Participants can make their own puppet! Enter Frick Park from Beechwood near the Blue Slide playground at Nicholson St, Pittsburgh, PA, 15217. 
  • Saturday and Sunday, September 9th and 10th, at 2 p.m., at Highland Park
  • Saturday and Sunday, September 16th and 17th, at 2 p.m., at Westinghouse Park
  • Friday. September 22nd at 6 p.m., Schenley Plaza, Oakland
  • Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, at 2 p.m., Frick North Lawn at Clayton House, Point Breeze
  • Saturday and Sunday, September September 30th and October 1st, at 2 p.m. at Frick Park
  • Wednesday, October 4th at 6:30 p.m. at The Frick, outdoors in Point Breeze Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks actors perform Shakespeare monologues in different locations around the Frick Museum and Clayton Mansion grounds. The audience will stroll through the beautiful Frick grounds and interact with the actors who will perform famous soliloquies from Shakespeare’s plays, enjoy music by Matt Calvetti, and wrap up the night with a wine and cheese reception and informal chat with the performers and PSiP artistic director Jennifer Tober about how actors and directors use the First Folio, on display now at The Frick Museum thru October 2023. https://www.thefrickpittsburgh.org/shakespeare400

Preshow Workshops (Plan to arrive one hour early)

  • Sunday, September 3rd – Paper puppets with Cat Aceto  | Decorate and assemble 2D paper puppets of our Cleopatra and Antony based on the Comic Synopsis created for our production. Learn some techniques of paper puppet construction (including coiled wire joins) and puppet design for making your own paper puppets for storytelling. Suitable for all ages (an adult must accompany children ten and under). Please register in advance to help us plan for materials!
  • Sunday, September 10th. Show choreography with Kalee George
  • Sunday, September 17th – Director’s chair with Alan Irvine
  • Saturday, September 23rd – Unlocking the First Folio with Yvonne Hudson
  • Sunday, September 24th – Connections between musical and classical theater with Nick Hrutkay 
  • Find more details at Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and pittsburghshakespeare.org

Categories: Show Previews

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