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Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale opens Folger Theatre’s homecoming season

Press release: September 26, 2023 — Washington, DC

Tamilla Woodard directs the timeless tale of transformation and forgiveness, as audiences are welcomed back to Capitol Hill location for first time since 2020


Folger Theatre announced today that tickets are now on sale for The Winter’s Tale, a Shakespeare romance that takes audiences on an exhilarating journey, weaving together a series of complex relationships. The play, directed by Tamilla Woodard (Weightless at WP Theater off-Broadway, 2022), marks the first production staged at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill since the historic building began renovations in March 2020.

The Winter’s Tale is on stage at Folger Theatre from November 4 through December 17, 2023. Tickets are available online or by calling the Folger Box Office at (202) 544-7077.

The Winter’s Tale is an ode to the fundamental essence of theater—the intimate partnership between the audience and the act of making believe,” says Tamilla Woodard. “This play invites us to such extreme acts of theatricality and leaps of imagination, both physical and psychological. It is a demonstration of Shakespeare’s faith in his audience, in the power of art to transform nature and thus humanity, and arts’ ability to awaken us to our greater selves. In its final moments, it asks us to arrive at a moment of transcendent reconciliation, of an improbable reunion, a moment where we are all called on to awaken our faith in each other again.”

In The Winter’s Tale, a loving marriage is torn asunder when Leontes (played by Hadi Tabbal) suspects his loyal wife Hermione (Antoinette Crowe-Legacy) of being unfaithful to him with his lifelong friend Polixenes (Drew Kopas). Consumed by jealousy, Leontes plots Polixenes’ murder, puts Hermione on trial, imprisons her, and casts out their infant daughter. In the second half of the play—after the passage of sixteen years—the family is reunited, bringing with it revelation and  forgiveness.

“I’ve always loved The Winter’s Tale,” says Karen Ann Daniels, Folger Theatre Artistic Director. “Our reopening season intentionally investigates the transformational power of stories, and I couldn’t think of a better play to mirror the dynamic journey this organization is in the midst of. Tamilla’s vision for The Winter’s Tale will engage audiences in thinking about where and when we’ve needed second chances in our own lives. We’ve assembled an amazing cast of well-loved DC actors, talented youth, and Broadway actors. It’s a thrilling start for our homecoming season.”

The cast of The Winter’s Tale also features longtime Folger favorites Cody Nickell as Camillo, a close confidant to Leontes, and Kate Eastwood Norris as Hermione’s fiercest defender, Paulina.  The production includes Kayleandra White as the exiled daughter, Perdita; Jonathan Del Palmer as Forizell, son to Polixenes, who falls in love with Perdita; Reza Salazar as the roguish con artist Autolycus; alongside Stephen Patrick Martin (Antigonus/Shepherd), Nicholas Gerwitz (Shepherd’s Son), and Sabrina Lynne Sawyer (Ensemble). Children Richard Bradford and Clarence Payne will share the roles of Mamillius and Time.

The set design is by Raul Abrego, Jr., making his Folger Theatre debut. Costume design is by Sarah Cubbage, and Max Doolittle is the lighting designer (both having most recently worked on Folger Theatre’s King John). Matthew M. Nielson (A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the National Building Museum and Merry Wives of Windsor at Folger Theatre) designed the sound and composed original music. Joya Powell, making her Folger Theatre debut, is choreographer for The Winter’s Tale. The resident intimacy director is Kaja Dunn.

Ticketing Information & Performance Dates:        

The Winter’s Tale is on stage at Folger Theatre from November 4 through December 17, 2023. Tickets are $20-$84. Discounted preview performances and special rates for patrons under 30, students, seniors, members and family of the military, educators, and groups may be purchased through the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at

Related Programming:   


The Pay-What-You-Will performance is on Monday, November 6, 7:30pm. Tickets will be available to the public in-person starting at 5pm. One ticket per person.

Relaxed performances, designed to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for neuro-diverse audiences are Sunday, November 5 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, November 29 at 2pm.

Folger Theatre’s Stage Director Talk is on Wednesday, November 8 at 6:30pm. Learn about the creative process, staging, and vision of The Winter’s Tale with director Tamilla Woodard, in conversation with Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels. $25, with discounts for Folger Subscribers and Members.

Folger Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore engages in conversation with Karen Ann Daniels, about the opening production of Folger Theatre’s homecoming season at Inside the Season: The Winter’s Tale on Wednesday, November 29 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25, with discounts for Folger Subscribers and Members.

Audience members are encouraged to stay and take part in our Post-Show Discussion with the Cast of The Winter’s Tale on Thursday, November 30. This interactive discussion will follow the 7:30pm performance.

Folger Theatre has denoted performances during the 2023/24 season as mask-required by all audience members, staff, and volunteers. Masked Performances for The Winter’s Tale are Saturday, December 2 at 2pm and 8pm.

Open-Captioned performances are Sunday, December 3 at 2pm and 7:30pm.

Please check our website for a complete listing of related programming and events.

The Winter’s Tale is part of the Shakespeare Everywhere Festival, Oct. 7 – Dec. 31, 2023. The Folger is joining artistic and cultural institutions across the District in producing 12 Shakespeare shows in 12 weeks.

The Cast:

Richard Bradford (Mamillius, Time) – DC Youth Orchestra Program: Cello. Television: Lumumba’s Playground Pilot Series. Richard is a fourth grader at John Lewis Elementary School. He also enjoys writing stories, singing, and reading the Wings of Fire book series.

Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Hermione) – Broadway: Slave Play; Off-Broadway: Playwright’s Horizons: If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfka; MCC: BLKS. Television: MGM+: The Godfather of Harlem; AppleTV+: WeCrashed; Netflix: Passing. MFA, Acting, Yale University. Recipient of the Carol Finch Dye Award.

Nicholas Gerwitz (Shepherd’s Son) – Shakespeare Theatre Company: Here There are Blueberries; Studio Theatre: Clyde’s; Roundhouse Theatre: The Tempest; Bob Bartlett Theatre: Lýkos Ánthrōpos; 1st Stage Theater: Secret Things. Academy of Classical Acting: The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, The Cherry Orchard, MFA in Acting from The Academy of Classical Acting, and a BFA in Acting from Fredonia University.

Drew Kopas (Polixenes) Folger Theatre: Nathan the Wise (produced by Theater J); Theater J: Trayf. Work at other theaters includes: Olney Theatre Center, Mosaic Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Everyman Theatre, Constellation Theater Company, 1st Stage, Keegan Theatre, Rep Stage, Faction of Fools Theatre, We Happy Few, and the Capital Fringe Festival. Regional theaters include work at: Great Lakes Theater, Dobama Theatre; Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Shakespeare Festival. MFA, Acting, Western Illinois University.

Stephen Patrick Martin (Antigonus and Shepherd) Folger Theatre: Hamlet, Henry VIII; Washington Stage Guild: Ben Butler, Major Barbara; Regional theaters include work at: Arena Stage, Chesapeake Theatre Co., Delaware Theatre Co., Everyman Theatre, ExPats Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Round House Theatre, Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company and Theater J. MFA in Acting from The Academy of Classical Acting, and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.  He is also a licensed Washington, DC tour guide.

Cody Nickell (Camillo) – Folger Theatre: The Tempest (produced by Round House Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor, Antony and Cleopatra, Mary Stuart, The Taming of the Shrew (Helen Hayes nomination), Arcadia (Helen Hayes nomination), The School for Scandal, Macbeth; Shakespeare Theatre Company: The School for Lies, Romeo and Juliet; Studio Theatre: Animal (World Premiere); Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Company Member): Clybourne Park (Helen Hayes nomination), In The Next Room, or the vibrator play, Stupid F***ing Bird (World Premiere), Baby Screams Miracle. Other regional credits include plays at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Playmakers Repertory Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, The Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre Company, Capitol Repertory Theatre, and Gulfshore Playhouse where Cody was Artistic Associate for three seasons. Cody’s work also includes film, television, and voiceovers.

Kate Eastwood Norris (Paulina) – Folger Theatre: The Tempest (produced by Round House Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1 Henry IV, King John, Macbeth (2018, 2008), Mary Stuart, The Taming of the Shrew (Helen Hayes nomination), Hamlet: Now I Am Alone, The School for Scandal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helen Hayes Award), Much Ado About Nothing, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, She Stoops To Conquer, The Tempest, Hamlet (1999); Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Stupid F***ing Bird (Helen Hayes nomination), Full Circle, Fever/Dream, She Stoops To Comedy (Helen Hayes Award), Big Love, Bug; Arena Stage: The Book Club Play; Source Theatre: Intimate Exchanges (Helen Hayes nomination), Private Eyes; Round House Theatre: A Body of Water; Washington Shakespeare Company: Strange Interlude (Helen Hayes nomination), The Taming of the Shrew. Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival: Gnit, Eat Your Heart Out; Berkeley Repertory Theatre: Concerning Strange Devices From The Distant West; Shakespeare Santa Cruz: Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Playboy of the Western World, As You Like It, King Lear; Portland Center Stage: BoNita, The North Plan; Florida Stage: Ghostwriter; Delaware Theatre Company: Lucy.

Jonathan Del Palmer (Florizell) Folger Theatre: The Reading Room: Our Verse in Time to Come; Rep Stage: Kill Move Paradise. Shakespeare Theatre Company: Hamlet (u/s). Constellation Theatre Company: Moon Man Walk. 1st Stage: columbinus, The Member of the Wedding, The Rainmaker. Theater Alliance: Day of Absence. Avant Bard Theatre: Suddenly Last Summer, Julius Caesar. Rorschach Theatre: Sing to me Now. 4615 Theatre: Life Jacket. Library of Congress: The Conjure Man Dies. Off-Broadway: 54 Below: How to Quit Your Day Job.

Clarence Payne (Mamillius) – Camp Arena Stage: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Clarence loves being a 3rd grader at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School. When he is not in school, he enjoys swimming and playing the piano.

Reza Salazar (Autolycus) – Broadway: Clyde’s, Sweat; Off-Broadway: Public Theater: Richard II, Oedipus El Rey, Mobile Unit’s The Tempest, Shakespeare: Call and Response; Playwright’s Realm: My Mañana Comes. Regional theater include work at: Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theater, Guthrie Theater, and Arena Stage. Television credits includes: Inside Amy Schumer, The Accidental Wolf, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Daredevil, The Blacklist, Believe, Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Louie, The Knick, Film: The Prisoner, The Imperialists Are Still Alive, See Girl Run, The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz. Reza is currently an artist in residence at Mad Gene, a multimedia company started by actor and producer Oscar Issac and writer, director Elvira Lind.

Sabrina Lynne Sawyer (Ensemble) – Folger Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Reading Room: A Room in the Castle; Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Henry IV Pt 2; National tour:  National Players (Olney Theatre Center): A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Raisin in the Sun. BA, Acting, University of Southern California.

Hadi Tabbal (Leontes) – Mosaic Theater: The Vagrant Trilogy. Off-Broadway: Astoria Performing Arts Center: Buggy Baby; The Public Theater: The Vagrant Trilogy; Roundabout Theatre Company/Atlantic Theater Company co-production: English (Obie Award, Lucille Lortel nomination). Regional theaters include: Berkeley Repertory Theatre: English; Humana Festival: The Hour of Feeling. Film: Rosa; Circumstance (Sundance Audience Award-winner). Select television work includes: The Brave, Law & Order SVU, Bull, FBI. MFA, Acting, The New School for Drama. Fulbright Grant recipient.

Kayleandra White (Perdita) – Howard University: A Dangerous Acts: Series. BFA, musical theater from Howard University.

The Creative Team:


Tamilla Woodard(Director) Yale Rep: the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christine Anderson; Women’s Project Theater: Weightless (Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Musical); Alliance Theatre: Working: A Musical; Guthrie Theater: Sweat; Women’s Project Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, and Steppenwolf NOW: Where We Stand (Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Show); American Conservatory Theater: Top Girls. Work at other theaters include Classical Theater of Harlem, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts with TheaterWorksUSA, and The Cleveland Public Theatre, among others. Tamilla is the Chair of the Acting program at David Geffen School of Drama and a Resident Director at Yale Rep. She is the co-founder of the site-specific international partnership, PopUP Theatrics, proudly served as the co-Artistic Director of Working Theater in New York. She was the Associate Director of the Tony Award-winning Hadestown on Broadway in its premiere season. Prior to joining Working Theater, Tamilla was the BOLD Associate Artistic Director at Women’s Project Theater. Tamilla was named one of 50 Women to Watch on Broadway and is the recipient of the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a proud board member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Raul Abrego, Jr. (Scenic Designer) – Design work at Opera Center, The Manhattan School of Music, The Spoleto Opera Festival in Italy, Rattlestick Theater, Cherry Lane Theater and Intar.  Recent projects include: Princeton University: Adamandi; Barrington Stage and GeVa Theater Center: Ain’t Misbehavin’; The Bushwick Starr: The Brobot Johnson Experience; Two River Theater: Living and Breathing; Boundless Theater Company and New Perspectives: How to Melt Ice.  Television: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Seasons 3 and 4; Ghost and John Wick, (Assistant Art Director); Falling Water (Art Director), The Outcasts (Art Director); Cruzando (Production Director).

Sarah Cubbage (Costume Designer) – Folger Theatre: King John; Round House Theatre: The Tempest (in association with Folger Theatre), Spring Awakening, The Heal (co-produced with The Getty Villa); Signature Theatre: A Chorus Line; Studio Theatre: KingsThe Wolves, The Hard Problem; Olney Theatre Center: The Crucible and Labour of Love; Theater J: Compulsion, Actually; Rep Stage: Sweeney Todd, Dorian’s Closet; Center Stage: That Face. New York: David Geffen Hall: Crazy for You; The Juilliard School: Triumph of Love, Hippolyte et Aricie. Regional: American Repertory Theatre: The Lily’s Revenge, at American Repertory Theatre; Syracuse Stage: Disgraced, In the Next Room; Disney Creative Entertainment: Beauty & The Beast. She is a member of USA 829. @SarahCubbageDesign

Max Doolittle (Lighting Designer) – Folger Theatre: King John, Amadeus, The Merry Wives of Windsor. Design work at other Washington DC theaters includes: Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Theater J, Rep Stage, Kennedy Center/Second City, Imagination Stage, Forum Theatre, Adventure Theatre, Constellation Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Academy for Classical Acting, Pointless Theatre Company, NextStop Theatre. Design work at New York theaters includes: Ars Nova, Juilliard School, New Ohio Theatre, New World Stages. Design work at regional theaters includes: Geffen Playhouse, Kitchen Theatre Company, Great Lakes Center for the Arts, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Fulton Theatre. Television: Anderson Cooper 360, Piers Morgan Live (Light Direction). Cruise Ships: Wine Lovers, The Musical.

Matthew M. Nielson (Sound Designer and Composer) – Folger TheatreA Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of WindsorTwelfth NightOthelloMuch Ado About NothingHamlet; Arena Stage: Four Women/Nina Simone; Ford’s Theatre: The Carpetbagger’s Children; Round House Theatre: OsloBook of Will; Theatre Alliance: Mnemonic (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Sound Design); Olney Theatre: Mary StuartThe Magic Play; Regional: Cincinnati Playhouse: Last Wide OpenTreasure IslandMisery; Portland Center Stage: Astoria, Parts 1 & 2The Color Purple; Denver Theatre Center: Anna Karenina; Actor’s Theatre of Louisville: Dracula; Repertory Theatre of Milwaukee: Two Trains RunningPeter and the Starcatcher; Baltimore Center Stage: Shakespeare In Love; Off-Broadway: 59E59 Theatres: Occupied Territories; Lincoln Center: Where Words Once Were; Public Theater/NYSF:  Shakespeare’s Villains; Film: From Hell To HearElbow Grease,  BlueThe Long RoadLittle Lamb; TV: The Hero EffectEPIX Drive-In, Facebook,,  NFLUFC on FOX. Nielson has won five Helen Hayes Awards and has been nominated for several others, including the League of Cincinnati Theatre, Barrymore and BroadwayWorld nominations.

Joya Powell (Choreographer) – Classical Theatre of Harlem: Fit for a Queen; The Flea Theater: JOB; JACK: Ducklings; The New Ohio Theatre: Songs About Trains; Luna Stage: The Brothers Size; American Shakespeare Center: Une Tempête. Choreography work at organizations includes: BAM, Lincoln Center, SummerStage, La Mama, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Dance Complex, Mudlark Theater, Movement Research @Judson Church, The School of Contemporary Dance & Thought, and BAAD! among others. Joya is a Bessie Award winning choreographer and educator passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. Hailed by The New York Times as a “radiant performer,” throughout her career she has danced with choreographers such as Paloma McGregor, Katiti King, Nicole Stanton, Neta Pulvermacher, and Mar Parrilla. In 2005, Joya founded Movement of the People Dance Company, dedicated to addressing sociocultural injustices through multidisciplinary Afrofuturist immersive contemporary dance. Wesleyan University: Assistant Professor of the Practice of Dance and African American Studies.

Kaja Dunn (Resident Intimacy Director) Folger Theatre: Our Verse in Time to Come, The Reading Room. Arena Stage: American Prophet; Denver Center for the Arts: Choir Boy; 5thAve and ACT Theatre (Seattle): Choir Boy; St. Louis Rep: Private Lives, Confederates; Penumbra Theatre: Sugar In Our Wounds; Broadway: A Strange Loop (Assoc. Intimacy Director); Television: The Best Man, Final Chapters, Harlem, The Equalizer. Awards: Kennedy Center American Theatre Award, Playwrights Project Excellence in Arts Education. Publications: Arden Contemporary Shakespeare, Intimacy Direction For Theatre, Theatre Symposium, HowlRound, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (UK). Associate Professor Carnegie Mellon University.

Michele Osherow (Resident Dramaturg) – Folger Theatre: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Amadeus, 1 Henry IV (2019, 2008), Love’s Labor’s Lost, Nell Gwynn, King John, Macbeth (2018, 2008), The Winter’s Tale (2018, 2009), The Way of the World, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, As You Like It, Sense and Sensibility, District Merchants, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2016, 2006, 2022),  texts&beheadings/ ElizabethR, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Mary Stuart, Julius Caesar; Fiasco Theater Company’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet (dramaturg and actor), Twelfth Night, Henry V, The Conference of the Birds, The Taming of the Shrew, The Gaming Table, Othello (2011, 2001), Cyrano, The Comedy of Errors, Henry VIII, Hamlet, Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Much Ado About Nothing, Arcadia, The Tempest, Measure for Measure (dramaturg and actor). University of Maryland, Baltimore County: Associate Professor of English.

Leigh Robinette (Production Stage Manager) – Folger Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Woolly Mammoth: Incendiary, There’s Always the Hudson, Describe the Night, Gloria, Botticelli in the Fire, Familiar, The Arsonists, Hir, Baby Screams Miracle, An Octoroon, Guards at the Taj; Arena Stage: Angels in America, Holiday, Change Agent, Dear Evan Hansen, The Originalist, Mother Courage and her Children; Studio Theatre: English; Theater J: Love Sick, The Jewish Queen Lear; Kennedy Center: The Second City’s Love, Factually. Off-Broadway: Second Stage: Dear Evan Hansen.

Production Sponsors:


Folger Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale is supported by the Share Fund, and made possible in part by the generous support of:

Premier Season Sponsors —
Dr. Bill and Evelyn Braithwaite, and Andrea “Andi” Kasarsky

Season Sponsors —
Helen and David Kenney and Family

Production Sponsors —
Nancy and Steve Howard

Contributing Sponsors —
Louis and Bonnie Cohen, Gail Kern Paster,
Ian Vance, and Scott & Liz Vance

Associate Sponsors —
Timothy J. Carlton
, Peter and Mary Jay Michel,
and Rick Kasten

Artist Sponsors – Karl K. and Carrol Benner Kindel

About Folger Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Library:       

Folger Shakespeare Library
is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. It provides unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of path-breaking research. The Folger offers the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages.

The award-winning Folger Theatre in our nation’s capital bridges the arts and humanities through transformational performances and programming that speak inclusively to the human experience. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels, Folger Theatre continues its legacy through exciting interpretations and adaptations of Shakespeare and expands the classical canon through cultivating today’s artists and commissioning new work that is in dialogue with the concerns and issues of our time. Folger Theatre thrives both on its historical stage and in the community, engaging audiences wherever they happen to be.

Following a multiyear building renovation, the Folger’s historic Capitol Hill home will fully re-open to the public in 2024. Learn more at

Press Performance:

Press who wish to cover the production are invited to the press performance of The Winter’s Tale on Saturday, November 11 at 8:00pm. Please reserve tickets through Peter Eramo, Jr., Folger’s Events Publicity & Marketing Manager, by phone at 540.226.7385 or via email at

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Press contacts

Peter Eramo, Jr., 540.226.7385 /

Garland Scott, 202.675.0342 /