PRESS RELEASE: Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

The Hilberry Theatre “Shakes” Things Up with the Modern Comedy
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) - Hilberry Theatre, Detroit

Royal Oak Native Vanessa Sawson Stars in this Modern Comedy
Photo: Kevin Replinger

DETROIT – On November 16, 2012, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald will open as the third production in the Hilberry Theatre’s 50th season. Incorporating the storylines of both Othello and Romeo and Juliet, the play tells the story of a young academic who proposes Shakespeare had two different, comedic endings in mind for two of his most beloved tragedies. This modern comedy will be playing in rotating reparatory with Shakespeare’s Othello. Patrons interested in seeing both shows can save $10 off the regular price when mentioning coupon code 30R8. Individual tickets for Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) range from $12-$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

MacDonald’s take on these two Shakespearean classics places the young professor, Constance Ledbelly, at the center of a fast-paced plot where she encounters many characters from Romeo and Juliet and Othello. As she works out the details of her dissertation, she determines these plays were originally comedies and became the tragedies we know today by the removal of a “Wise Fool” from each plot. The “Wise Fool” archetype is a common device used in Shakespearean drama.

Royal Oak native and third-year Hilberry actor Vanessa Sawson plays the charismatic and quirky Constance. “It’s really The Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland meets Shakespeare,” said Sawson. “Because it’s a full company show, this role gives me the chance to work with so many talented and hilarious actors in every scene. The play would not be nearly as much fun without them.”

Anthony Schmitt is delighted to return to the Hilberry Theatre as guest director. Before retiring from the Wayne State University Department of Theatre, he was Associate Director in charge of the Hilberry Graduate Repertory Theatre Acting Program and Company. In his 24 years at Wayne State, Schmitt directed over 60 productions. His varied experience from classics like Romeo & Juliet at the Utah Shakespeare Festival to the humor of Noises Off at the Cherry Country Playhouse make him well suited for this hilarious, classic reimagining. For more information about the production, please visit

Cast Includes:

Vanessa Swanson (Constance), Chelsea Ortuno (Desdemona), Chris Call (Othello), Danielle Cochrane (Juliet), Ty Mitchell (Romeo),  Joshua Miller (Tybalt), Miles Boucher (Iago), Topher Payne (Claude Night), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Juliet’s Nurse), David Sterritt (Mercutio), Megan Dobbertin (Julie), Brandon Grantz (Soldier), Annie Keris (Ramona), Joshua Blake Rippy (Ghost), Joe Plambeck (Servant), and Alec Barbour (Chorus)

Production Team:

Anthony Schmitt (Director), Nira Pullin (Choreographer), David Sterritt (Fight Choreographer), Mercedes Coley (Stage Manager), Michael Wilkki (Scenic Designer), Brian Scruggs (Lighting Designer), Anne Suchyta (Costume Designer), Leah McCall (Sound Designer), Kimbra Essex (Property Master), Leazah Behrens (Technical Director), Max Amitin (Asst. Technical Director),and Kevin Replinger (Publicity Manager)

About the Hilberry Theatre Company

The Hilberry Theatre Company is the nation’s only professional theatre company that is staffed by graduate students and runs on a rotating repertory schedule.  Each academic year, about forty or more graduate students receive assistantships to work for the Hilberry Theatre and study for advanced degrees from Wayne State University. The company performs and produces an annual season of six plays, including high school matinees for nearly 6,000 students. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, and group discounts and corporate packages, visit the theatre’s website at

The 2012-2013 Hilberry season is sponsored by CBS Outdoor, Between the Lines, and Encore Michigan.

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
By Ann-Marie MacDonald

Calendar Information:

Wednesday 2 p.m.      Nov. 28 (Postshow Talkback)
Thursday 8 p.m.          Nov. 29 (Preshow Discussion), Jan. 24, Feb. 7
Friday 8 p.m.               Nov. 16 (Opening Night), Jan. 18, 25, Feb. 8
Saturday 2 p.m.           Nov. 17, Feb. 2
Saturday 8 p.m.           Nov. 17, Jan. 19, Feb. 2, 9

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