Our previews of interesting/fun local happenings.
Jun 21, 2012
06:00 AMBe There
Spree Theater with Darwin McPherson: Richard III’s Tim Newell Speaks
Tim Newell, who stars in the title role of Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s Richard III (which opens tonight), was selected as “Favorite Actor” in Spree’s “Best of WNY” poll last year. Between that victory and his current part, Newell has appeared in two vastly different roles in Jewish Repertory’s double feature of Brecht’s The Jewish Wife and Mamet’s The Duck Variations and made his way to Chicago for his first role working outside of Buffalo. In May, he appeared in the Shattered Globe Theatre (SGT) production of Her Naked Skin by Rebecca Lenkiewicz at Stage 773.
Newell received the opportunity after meeting SGT artistic director Roger Smart while on vacation in Chicago. “Having seen my resume, he asked me in to audition, and I got the role!” Newell tells.
Set in London, 1913, Her Naked Skin told the story of Celia Cain, a mover and shaker of the Women’s Suffrage movement. While imprisoned in London’s notorious Holloway prison, she falls in love with a younger inmate and has a lesbian affair with her. Newell played William Cain, Celia’s successful lawyer husband, who is supportive of her efforts within the movement, but is also torn by his love for her and concern for her safety.
Reviews stated that Newell’s part was “played to perfection” and “had many terrific moments.”
After Her Naked Skin ended in early June, Newell returned to WNY for Richard III. “Rehearsals are the normal four weeks, but the run (six nights a week) can get pretty grueling. Still, the ‘fun’ comes from the environment: it makes for a delicious job,” he says.
“Speaking those words in the open air, the way they’re meant to be spoken. The elements lend a natural lighting design; sometimes there’s a gentle breeze. The tweeting birds and chirping crickets accentuate the soundscape; and sometimes, the wedding music blasting from the Marcy Casino can ‘help’ to underscore a scene. “We Are Family” and “Celebrate!” come to mind. (Those ‘in the know’ will smile and chuckle when they read this.)”
Tim Newell in Much Ado About Nothing; photo courtesy of Shakespeare in Delaware Park
While neither Broadway nor Hollywood has called since being named Favorite Actor, “it sure looks good on paper,” Newell admits. SGT even mentioned it in one of their e-mail blasts to promote Her Naked Skin. “It is a tremendous honor, and I am still quite moved by the title.”
He adds, “If anything, and as always, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all who have helped me get to where I am today–not only in my career, but in my life. Without my ‘schooling’ that was begun in 1996, I wouldn’t be where I am career-wise right now. I’m grateful to all of the directors who have offered me some terrific roles, thereby strengthening my chops as a character actor, as well as a leading man.
“So far, that schooling is really paying off...sans a student loan.”
After Shakespeare, Newell says “a well-deserved vacation is on the horizon,” but he’ll definitely be back in February to reprise his much-lauded performance as Jack Benny in Mr. Benny by Mark Humphrey for Jewish Repertory. And, of course, he’s looking forward to returning to Chicago.
The Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of Richard III continues through July 15. Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 pm. All performances are free in Delaware Park.