AS YOU LIKE IT
CAST & CREW
Founder & Producing Artistic Director
As a theatre artist, he has performed, directed, taught, and created all around the country. Some of his favorite shows include anything Shakespeare in the Wild, Sweet and Lucky at Denver Center – Off Center, The Three Musketeers at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Denver Center Theatre Company, and the self-produced The Mysterious Mr. Love.
He is currently a teacher at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver School for the Art, Leigh received his BA in Theatre from Colorado College and his MFA in Acting from the National Theatre Conservatory.
Company Member & All Things Media
Shannon Altner (she/her) is so excited to be back with Shakespeare In the Wild this summer! Local past credits include Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare In The Wild), Ensemble in Our American Cousin: A Nation Divided (Benchmark Theatre), Annelle in Steel Magnolias (Cherry Creek Theatre), Janie in The Lucky Ones (Misfits Theatre Company), Lydia in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (BETC), Sonya in Uncle Vanya (DCPA, Education), and Vern in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (Avenue Theater). A Lewis Myers Scholar alumni, she has grown her craft in the DCPA Education community and is an ensemble member of Shakespeare In The Parking Lot. She is a 2022 Henry Award nominee for “Best Supporting Actress: Tier 2” for her work in Our American Cousin: A Nation Divided (Benchmark Theatre).
Shannon is a multi-passionate creative; actor, host, producer, director, and photographer. She is a marketing and lifestyle producer by day and loves the creative process on both sides of the camera. Her directorial debut "U-Bus" won Best Picture in the 2020 Denver 48 Hour Film Project as well as Best Ensemble for her and her co-actors. She's now an Executive Producer of "Party People Say Yeah" a production company creating short films. shannonaltner.com
Leah Cardenas is a local actor, director, and experience designer from Denver, Colorado. She graduated with a BFA from Nebraska Wesleyan University and has since worked on various productions throughout Omaha and Denver including Walk the Night (Bluebarn Theater), The Whiskey Tasting (The Catamounts), and Bright Lights of Denver (DCPA Off Center Podcast). Her biggest passion, however, is creating immersive/interactive theater; she produced an immersive Christmas Carol with Four Mile Historic Parks, has been a fellow with Odyssey Works, and is in the process of starting her own company, Opia House. She first fell in love with Shakespeare while in college, and is thrilled to get to do Shakespeare again for the first time in a long while. Leah wishes to thank her parents, her partner Beau, Birdie (the best pup in the land), as well as her friends and fellow creatives for their support.
Company Member & Teaching Artist
Courtney Esser is an actor, playmaker, and food consumer hailing from the metropolis of Pullman,
WA where she is best known for originating the role of Legume #3 in the annual National Lentil
Festival. She has performed across the United States, working with several theatre companies in
Seattle, NYC, and Denver, where she received her MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory. Locally, she has acted for the Denver Center Theatre Company, the Aurora Fox, and Benchmark. Outside of theatre, Courtney is an enthusiastic explorer of the nooks and
crannies of humanity. She is particularly fond of food, and the conversations it creates around
community and culture. She deliriously delights in discovering delicious delectables. She also
adores alliteration. Thank you for venturing with us into the wilds of Arden!
Candace Joice is an actor, audiobook narrator, and director. She was last seen at Curious Theatre in Amerikin as Michelle. In Colorado, she has worked with BETC, Curious Theatre, The Catamounts, Miners Alley Playhouse, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, to name a few. A few favorite roles include Eddie Van Halen in Eddie and Dave, Gloria and Nan in Gloria, Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Portia in District Merchants (Henry award nominee, best actress), Mother in The Oldest Boy, and Abby in Belleville. She has also played Shakespeare’s Malcolm, Olivia, Emilia, Perdita, Helena, Thaisa, and Bawd. Directing credits include JQA and Dorothy’s Dictionary (BETC), The Real Inspector Hound (University of Colorado at Boulder), and Double Gothic (University of Central Missouri). Proud member of SAG-AFTRA. www.candacejoice.com
Daevon Robinson is so exited to be joining the second season of Shakespeare in the wild for their production of "As You Like It". He has had a fantastic time working with the cast and crew, and has enjoyed the experience gained! Daevon graduated from the University of Northern Colorado's musical theatre program, with a BFA in Fine Arts. You may have recognized him from his latest work in Vintage theatres production of "In The Heights", where he was dancing his heart out in the ensemble. Another project you may catch him in the next couple of weeks is Vintage theatres, " A Year with Frog and Toad".
Aaron has performed in theaters across the country and in 2017 moved to CO from NYC. In addition to acting and singing, he has adapted and directed Shakespeare; staged rock and symphony concerts; is a founding artist of the puppet and mask ensemble The Zoot Theatre Company; plays with the Irish band Banthom House (@BanthomHouse); and curates The People’s Building (@PeoplesBuilding) which provides access to affordable event and performance space to creatives in the metro area. In the Denver metro region, he has worked with the DCPA, The Arvada Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, The Catamounts, & Lake Dillon Theatre Company (SilCo). BFA Wright State University. AaronVega.com | @bardgeek
Former Artistic Director & Company Member
Sam Gregory directed Shakespeare in the Wild's inaugural production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, as well as our 2023 production of AS YOU LIKE IT. Sam lives in Denver, CO and has been acting for 35 years. In Colorado, he was a company member at the Denver Center Theatre Company for 10 seasons (appearing in 50 productions). He has performed with the Arvada Center for the Arts Black Box Repertory Company, BETC in Boulder, Co, and the Curious Theater company. Elsewhere, he was with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for 7 seasons, the California Shakespeare Festival for 5 seasons, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival for 8 seasons. He has performed at the Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, San Jose Rep, TheatreWorks Hartford, George Street Playhouse, O'Neil Theatre Center, Milwaukee Rep. and the Eureka Theatre Co., among others. Sam will be performing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol this winter at Syracuse Stage and will be directing Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at the Lone Tree Arts Center next March.
Melanie Bandera Hess is the Stage Manager of AS YOU LIKE IT for Shakespeare in the Wild and is delighted to support the second season. Melanie had her first role as Mustardseed at age 9 and went on to earn a BA in Acting, an MA in Counseling Psychology and Drama Therapy, and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and trauma specialist.
Favorite roles include Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Medea in Medea, Olivia and Maria in Twelfth Night, Duchess of Gloucester and Duke of York in Richard II, Mama in Distracted, Bella in Lost in Yonkers, Thelma in Pack of Lies, Electra in Electra, and Angel in Angels in America. Melanie received an Arty Award for Best Actress and Best Play for her work in Distracted.
Grant Bowman is an actor, singer, and teaching artist from Denver. Last summer, he worked with Shakespeare in the Wild as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other credits include A Midsummer..., Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth (Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Tour); Love's Labour's Lost and Cyrano de Bergerac (Colorado Shakespeare Festival); Stonewall (Benchmark Theatre); Peter and the Starcatcher (Cherry Creek Theatre); Carousel and Bye Bye Birdie (Performance Now Theatre Company); and play readings with Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado and Curious Theatre Company. He holds a BFA in Acting from CU Boulder, summa cum laude. This summer, he's excited to rejoin Shakespeare in the Wild for As You Like It! Later this fall, he’ll be playing Cliff Bradshaw in Cabaret at Vintage Theatre.
Mikah is beyond excited and honored to come back for his second season with Shakespeare in the Wild. He made the move to LA right after last year's performances, but it was a no-brainer to return and get to work again with this fabulous group of artists in such an incredible place. LA has seen Mikah branch into children's theater, performing as Snowbell the Cat in Stuart Little and Templeton the Rat in Charlotte's Web with Phantom Theater Projects. Mikah's other past credits include Christopher in The Sound Inside with Curious Theater, Nathan and other characters from the Life is Strange series by Deck Nine Games, and Edward Beale in the Into the Wild Frontier series on INSPtv. You can keep an eye out for Mikah in the background of the new seasons of Loot, Grey's Anatomy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 9-1-1, and Interior Chinatown.
Grady Hicks is thrilled to be making her debut with Shakespeare in the Wild. She is a Colorado native and a graduate of the University of Denver. But Grady has recently made the move to LA in Sep. 2022. but had to return to be a part of this wonderful production! You can see Grady in the web series “Hell is Other People” coming out later this year. Some of her other favorite credits include Sharla in Killer Joe (DU) Sandra in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (DUPAI) and Mary in Toward Zero (Firehouse Theatre).
She would like to thank everyone involved in the production for creating such a spectacular environment!
Frank appeared with Shakespeare in the Wild last summer as Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and most recently played nine different roles in Our Town and The Book Club Play (Arvada Center Black Box Rep).
A 45-year veteran of Denver theater, he has appeared locally in plays and musicals at the Arvada Center, Aurora Fox, Curious Theater, Littleton Town Hall, Walden Family Playhouse, Country Dinner Playhouse, and a 25-year involvement with original music-comedy theater at Heritage Square, where he directed and appeared in dozens of productions, and wrote book, music, and lyrics for several long-running musicals including Easy Money and The Winter Rose.
Also an accomplished musician and performance poet, he wrote and produced a collection of spoken-word “concert theater” programs which he tours to perform with symphony orchestras nationwide. (Cowboy Jamboree, The House of Halloween, Blue Dot, Love You To Death). frankoden.com
Laura Jo Trexler
ACCOMPANIST & COMPOSER
Laura Jo Trexler (AEA) has been tinkering around on the piano, composing, and singing for over 20 years. She has performed as an actor and musician in dozens of productions regionally and internationally, including local productions with Curious Theater, Arvada Center, Miner’s Alley, Avenue Theater, Stories on Stage, and Creede Repertory Theater. She wrote, composed, and performed in the award winning, critically acclaimed one-woman musical, PLAY ON! A Musical Romp with Shakespeare's Heroines, which has been produced in LA, Boston, and Denver. She has recorded 3 studio albums, 2 of which can be heard and purchased on Bandcamp, and holds a BFA from Ithaca College and an MFA from Brandeis University.
DUKE FREDERICK/DUKE SENIOR
is a respected Denver area director, actor, teacher, and administrator – currently serving as Executive Artistic Director at CenterStage Theatre Company in Louisville. Last year he played Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the inaugural Shakespeare in the Wild season. Other select acting credits include Christie Con, The Family Tree, Tartuffe, West Side Story, Hans Christian Anderson, Girl Crazy, Robinson Crusoe (Arvada Center); Pippin, Picnic (Creede Repertory Theatre); Midsummer, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet (CSF); Comedy of Errors, Midsummer (Utah Shakespeare); The Birthday Party (Aspen Theatre Company); Gross Indecency (The Theatre Group); Hamlet (Denver Civic Theatre); Much Ado, Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, Othello, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver! (Compass Theatre Company). He is married to professional actress Leslie O’Carroll and a proud dad of their talented daughter, Olivia – a musical theatre major at the University of Northern Colorado. Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Denver Post Ovation); Best Direction/Musical (4 Henry Awards, Best of Westword); Theatre Person of the Year (True West Award). Training: MFA, Acting, National Theatre Conservatory; BFA, Drama, USC. www.stevewilsonarts4all.com
Iliana Lucero Barron
Company Member & Teaching Artist
Company Member & Teaching Artist
Anne Marie Nest