July 20 - August 5 | 2023 Festival Stage
The WTF Cabaret returns to Williamstown this summer! Intimate, casual, and always surprising, these exhilarating evenings feature performances by Festival artists you know and love! No two weekends are the same, and all shows take place on our specially created 2023 Festival Stage, featuring a mix of premium cabaret-style tables and traditional seating, as well as a full bar. So grab a drink and pull up a chair for the must-see event of the summer!
Thursday, July 20 at 8PM
Friday, July 21 at 8PM
Saturday, July 22 at 10PM
Thursday, July 27 at 8PM
Friday, July 28 at 8PM
Saturday, July 29 at 10PM
Thursday, August 3 at 8PM
Friday, August 4 at 8PM
Saturday, August 5 at 10PM
$65 seats at tables
$45 traditional seating
Plus a $5 processing fee per ticket
Seating is general admission. Tables will be assigned when checking in at the theater entrance.
The show runs for 90 minutes without an intermission.
Program, casting, and COVID-19 protocols are subject to change.
Williamstown Theatre Festival does not typically offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person, but for information about any show, we encourage you to contact the Box Office at (413) 458-3253.
2023 Festival Stage
This summer, experience the Festival in a new, uniquely created environment that puts us all—artists and audience—onstage in one intimate setting together. The 2023 Festival Stage, reimagined on the stage of the theater by designers Se Hyun Oh and Emily Schmit, is home to our inimitable WTF Cabaret and a new Main Stage Reading Series featuring popular plays and esteemed Festival artists. Join us onstage for conviviality, fun, and a season of celebration!
“We are placing both the audience and the performers on stage together, making the auditorium the backdrop for this season. This gives everyone a unique opportunity to reflect on inhabiting this space together as creatives and spectators alike – consider the past, contemplate the future. It is also important, of course, to acknowledge that being present in the same space together is always a precious thing. We want to cherish this moment of being together and encourage you to take the joy you experience this season back home with you.” — 2023 Festival Stage Designers Se Hyun Oh and Emily Schmit
Three-time Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald most recently starred in the Broadway revival of Company. He earned a Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his previous Broadway role as Ogie in Waitress. He was Tony-nominated for prior roles in Young Frankenstein and Finian’s Rainbow, for which he received a Drama Desk Award. His other Broadway credits include originating the role of Boq in Wicked; An Act of God; The Merchant of Venice opposite Al Pacino; Amour (Drama Desk nomination); and Chicago. Off-Broadway and regional credits include the US premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night at Second Stage (Drama Desk nomination); the American premiere of Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Public; the renowned Steppenwolf production of McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane; the US debut of Frank McGuinness’ Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme at Lincoln Center; the title role in Barnum at the Chichester Festival Theatre (UK) and he spent thirteen seasons with the Williamstown Theater Festival (MA), beginning as an apprentice in 1993. In 2010, he starred in an all-male version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, directed by his wife, Jessica Stone. Favorite productions include June Moon, Where’s Charley, and Dead End among many others. His film credits include Girl Most Likely opposite Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening. He was a series regular on SyFy’s “Happy!”, DirecTV’s “Almost There”, and WB’s “Twins”. He most recently recurred on The “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and on Netflix in “Godless”.
Joel Waggoner. Broadway Actor and Singer/Songwriter from Iowa and NYC. Acclaimed musician and entertainer. Broadway credits: School of Rock, Be More Chill. Off-Bway: A Man of No Importance (CSC), Southern Comfort (Public Theater), The Joel Waggoner Experience (Joe’s Pub). TV: “Only Murders in the Building” S3, “$100,000 Pyramid Winner”. Joel plays Piano, Violin, Guitar, Accordion, Vocals. He is Queer and writes about it. Debut Single: “Unlikely Warrior” With band Miss Natalie, “Gorgine” and “Get Into It…Queen”. “Stable Girl” with Julia Mattison. All available on music platforms. Arranger for Randy Rainbow. Discography: Trixie Mattel Two Birds, One Stone, Knoxville Original Cast Recording, MacGyver: The Musical, My Marcelo Cast Recording, Natalie Douglas, Alyssa Robbins, One Voice (Natalie Weiss/Sally Wilfert), Joe Iconis’ Album, Broadway Bounty Hunter Cast Album. Breakout Instagram series ADVENT CAROLNDAR with Julia Mattison featured on NPR and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Insta: @joelwaggoner @adventcarolndar @joelcappella TikTok: @unlikelywarrior. www.joelwaggoner.com
Stephanie Layton is a musician and graphic designer who splits her time between the Pacific Northwest and NYC. As a singer she fronts jazz band Eden Lane and has appeared at mainstays such as Joe’s Pub, the Rainbow Room, and Carnegie Hall (technically; it was a very fancy bat mitzvah gig) in addition to a potpourri of random engagements like Macallan Scotch’s pop-up speakeasy (Third Rail Projects), Charlotte Tilbury’s “Hollywood Collection” makeup launch, and Etsy’s company Halloween bash. She has served as an audition/rehearsal accompanist for countless Broadway, tour, and regional productions, spent a number of years as a vocal coach at Pace University, and enjoys consistent work as a hired gun drummer/pianist/vocalist at bar gigs and in pit orchestras. When not making music Steph is at the helm of Red Scandal Graphics designing music packaging for Warner Music Group and marketing materials for a myriad of small businesses. Love to husband Steve!
Ben Clark (@bensingsthings) is a singer/songwriter, composer, actor based in New York City. His debut musical, The Circus in Winter, was produced at Goodspeed Musicals in 2014. He received the Kennedy Center Award for Outstanding Musical Composition, and an entrance into the NAMT Festival in New York City, wherein 2-time Tony Award Winner Sutton Foster featured in a leading role. Ben recently had 2 songs featured in the motion picture A Score to Settle starring Nicolas Cage. Additionally, he is composer/lyricist of Skin & Bones, a commission from University of Nebraska, and Bruno and the Gospel of Infinity. Ben was recently seen acting in Ring of Fire at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, MS and Almost Heaven: The Songs of John Denver at The Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, NY. He has additionally been featured in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, and “America’s Got Talent”. He is honored to be apart of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Allison Kelly is thrilled to be making her Williamstown Theatre Festival debut! Favorite regional credits include The Other Josh Cohen, American Idiot, Ring of Fire, Airness, Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America. NYC: Little Orphan Danny (New York Stage and Film); and The Hello Girls (Prospect Theatre Co.). Television credits include The Helpsters (Apple TV+) and The 75th Annual Tony Awards (ensemble vocalist). Allison tours nationally with Darlin’ Companion: Johnny and June Carter Cash and with the show she created — Americana Women: Celebrating the Icons of Country and Folk. Her original music can be found through her band, Southpaw Green, on all streaming services.You can follow her on social media @akplaysmusic and @southpawgreenmusic.
Eden Espinosa is recognized for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Other Broadway credits include originating the title role in Brooklyn the Musical, and Maureen Johnson in the closing company of Rent. Her regional credits include Eva Peron in Evita, María Celia in Two Sisters and a Piano, Sadie Thompson in Rain, Emma Borden in Lizzie, Daniela in In the Heights and Mary in Merrily We Roll Along. Mama in The Gardens of Anuncia and most recently starring as Tamara De Lempicka in Lempicka directed by Tony award winner Rachel Chavkin. Her television appearances include “Law and Order”, “Ugly Betty”, and “Elementary”. Voiceover credits include Cassandra in “Tangled the Series”, “Robot Chicken”, “MAD TV”, “Elena of Avalor”, and “Titan Maximum” and received an Emmy Nomination for The Queen of Hearts in “Alice’s Wonderland Bakery”. Eden’s albums Look Around and Revelation, her album of original music, can be found on all streaming platforms and available at www.edenespinosa.com Instagram @edenespinosa
Asmeret Ghebremichael is an actress, singer, and director. She spent this past fall as Associate Director for the world premiere of The Notebook at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and is currently working as Associate Director for ALI, which is slated to arrive on Broadway in 2025. She also served as Artistic Director of the Big Sky Summer Theatre Festival and an artistic consultant on the “South Park: Pandemic Special” (Comedy Central). On stage, her resume includes the original Broadway casts of The Book of Mormon and Elf, as well as Legally Blonde, Spamalot, Wicked, and Footloose. Off Broadway includes In The Heights (Drama Desk Award), and The New Group’s Sweet Charity (Lucille Lortel, Chita Rivera, and AUDELCO nominations), as well as the West End casts of Dreamgirls and The Book of Mormon. On camera, she recurred on “WeCrashed” (Apple) and “Get Even” (Netflix) and appears in “And Just Like That” (HBO), “The Blacklist” (NBC), “The Other Two” (Comedy Central), “Bonding” (Netflix), and “Trevor Moore: High in Church” (Comedy Central).
Jon-Michael Reese is a performer based in Brooklyn. He has performed on Broadway in the Tony Award winning A Strange Loop and in many plays and musicals across the country from Matt in The Fantasticks to James Baldwin in Jimmy and Lorraine. His cabaret By Myself: Judy and Jon-Michael, Together Again! was last seen at Club Cumming and Green Room 42.
CABARET WEEK ONE
Jeff Hiller started performing at UCB in NYC, eventually becoming a regular cast member in “ASSSSCAT”. Hiller is currently a series regular on HBO’s “Somebody Somewhere” and has had recurring roles on “American Horror Story”, “30 Rock”, “The McCarthy’s”, “Impastor”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and was a series regular on the Pop Network’s, “Nightcap”. Guest star roles include “Psych”, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, “Broad City” and “Community”. Film includes Greta, Set it Up, Morning Glory, Ghost Town, and Adam. Jeff has appeared on Broadway (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson), Off-Broadway (Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, Silence!, Heartbreak House), in Shakespeare in the Park (Midsummer…, Love’s Labour’s Lost) and in Disney’s Hercules With Public Works. Jeff has performed solo shows at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre. Jeff was a Moth StorySlam host and has told stories for Risk!, Nights of Our Lives, and many other shows. Jeff is a cast member of improv show “Raaaatscraps” which performs Sunday nights at Caveat in NYC.
Bill Irwin is an actor, director, writer, and clown. His original works include: The Regard of Flight; Largely New York; Fool Moon; Old Hats; The Happiness Lecture; and others. His theater credits include The Iceman Cometh, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Goat, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, and On Beckett, an evening of passages from Samuel Beckett’s work. Television appearances include “The Dropout”, “Legion”, HBO’s “Confirmation”, “This Is Us” and Mr. Noodle in “Elmo’s World”. His film credits include Spoiler Alert, Rachel Getting Married, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Eight Men Out, and Interstellar. His work has been honored with Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Barrymore, and Helen Hayes Awards. He is also a recipient of Guggenheim, Fulbright, MacArthur and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.
Natalie Joy Jonhson was last seen on Broadway as Pat in the Tony Award winning musical, Kinky Boots. Other favorite roles include Legally Blonde on Broadway (Enid Hoopes) & the First National Tour (Paulette), Lempicka at La Jolla Playhouse & Williamstown Theatre Festival (Suzi Solidor), Bare: A Pop Opera (Nadia), & Southern Comfort (Cori). TV credits include “High Maintenance” (HBO) and “Difficult People” (Hulu). Natalie is an accomplished cabaret artist – selling out venues on both coasts (Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, The Regency, Rockwell). In 2019, she was invited to perform in the inaugural season of the Sydney Cabaret Festival in Australia. Her singles “GORGINE” and “GET INTO IT…QUEEN” (under the name Miss Natalie) are available wherever you stream music, and the music videos are available on YouTube. For more information & upcoming shows, visit www.nataliejoyjohnson.live.
Jacob Ming-Trent TV: “White Famous” (Showtime), “Watchmen” (HBO), “Ray Donavan” (Showtime), “Feed The Beast” (AMC). Additional TV credits include “Only Murders In The Building” (hulu), “WU-TANG: An American Saga” (hulu), “New Amsterdam” (NBC), “God Friended Me” (CBS), “High Maintenance” (HBO) and more. Film: SuperFly, The Forty-year-old Version, The Snakes, R#J, Possession Of Hannah Grace, The Bygone, Julie Taymour’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and others. Broadway: Shrek, The Musical (Original cast), Hands on a Hardbody (Original Cast). Off Broadway: The Alchemist (Redbull Theater/ Lortel nomination), Merry Wives (The Public Theater/ Drama Desk nomination), Father Comes Home From The Wars (The Public Theater/ Lortel Award), Twelfth Night (The Public Theater), Cymbeline (The Public Theater), Mother Courage (Classic Stage Co.), Merchant of Venice (TFANA), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (TFANA), Widowers Houses (Epic Theater), The Tempest (The Public Theater), On The Levee (Lincoln Center).
CABARET WEEK TWO
Lewis Black. Two-time Grammy award winning comedian/actor/writer Lewis Black, known as the King of Rant, uses his trademark style of comedic yelling and finger pointing to expose the absurdities of life. His comedic brilliance makes people laugh at life’s hypocrisies and the insanity he sees in the world. Black is the longest-running contributor on Comedy Central’s THE DAILY SHOW. His stand-up specials have appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, Showtime and Epix. Black notably voiced the character “Anger” in the Pixar Academy Award-winning film, Inside Out and will be reclaiming his role in the sequel. His other notable films include Universal’s Accepted co-starring Jonah Hill, Blake Lively and Justin Long, and also Man Of The Year opposite Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney and Jeff Goldblum. The comedian has released eight critically acclaimed comedy albums including the 2007 Grammy Award-Winner, The Carnegie Hall Performance. He won his second Grammy in 2011 for his album, Stark Raving Black, and has a total of 6 Grammys nominations. He has published three bestsellers: Nothing’s Sacred (Simon & Schuster, 2005), Me of Little Faith (Riverhead Books, 2008) and I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas (Riverhead Books, 2010). Today, Lewis is currently on his 2022 Off The Rails Tour.
Ari Notartomaso (they/them) stars as “Cynthia” in the musical prequel series, “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies”. They recently shot the film adaptation of Mean Girls: The Musical, directed by Tina Fey, and made their feature debut in the hit horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin. Ari made their Los Angeles stage debut in the world premiere of the Pat Benatar musical Invincible at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts. Trained in musical theatre with a degree from Penn State, Ari has amassed a loyal social media following for putting a queer twist on musical theatre classics. They are based in New York.
Lee Wilkof spent four wonderful summers at the Williamstown Theater Festival and is thrilled to return to perform here this summer. Lee’s most recent performance was as The Announcer in Champion at The Metropolitan Opera. He originated the roles of “Seymour” in Little Shop Of Horrors, and “Sam Byck” in Assassins. He has been in around 125 films and television shows. Lee directed the film No Pay, Nudity, and has written the book and lyrics for a new musical entitled Brotherly Love. Lee is married to painter Connie Grappo, and is the father of Perrie Wilkof, master baker, and Master of Social Work student at The Ohio State University. Lee is celebrating 50 years in show business this year. He has been nominated for a Tony Award, and three Drama Desk Awards. He is a recipient of an Obie Award, and a SAG Award.
CABARET WEEK THREE
Jaye McBride is funny, smart and proudly transgender. Jaye is the first openly trans comedian to perform at Madison Square Garden and is a regular at New York City’s “Comedy Cellar”. In 2021 she was featured as one of the “New Faces” at the Just For Laughs comedy festival and been invited to the New York Comedy Festival and Netflix is a Joke Festival.
John Cariani. Broadway: Caroline, or Change (Stuart Gellman); The Band’s Visit (Itzik); Something Rotten! (Outer Critics Circle Award nom.); Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Award nom.; Outer Critics Circle Award). Off-Broadway: The Atlantic, The Public, Transport Group. Regional: Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Barrington Stage Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Several films, including Showtime (with Robert De Niro), Elephant Sighs (with Ed Asner), and Scotland, PA (with Christopher Walken). Television: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “Blacklist”, “The Good Wife”, and “Homeland”; recurring roles on “Law & Order (CSU Tech Beck)”, “Numb3rs”, and The “Onion News Network”. Concerts: Ragtime with the Boston Pops. Playwright: Almost, Maine; Last Gas; LOVE/SICK; cul-de-sac.
Eleri Ward is a New York City-based actor, singer, songwriter, and musician. In 2021, she recorded and produced her full length indie-folk Sondheim album, A Perfect Little Death, in her closet. After gaining a viral TikTok following, it was released by Ghostlight Records and has been hailed as “a harmonious marriage of musical theater and indie folk music, with hauntingly beautiful arrangements” by Forbes and “an incandescent new record, something genuinely new” from American Theater Magazine. Coming off a triumphant national summer tour opening for global superstar Josh Groban, she released Keep A Tender Distance, the sublimely introspective follow-up to A Perfect Little Death in 2022. According to The New York Times, “Ward plumbs this deep well in a way that feels so intuitively right, it’s remarkable no one has done it before.” She studied Songwriting at Berklee College of Music before transferring and graduating from The Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Musical Theater with an emphasis in Songwriting & Acting, and has since consistently explored the lines between Theater and Music through her unique interpretive lens. www.eleriward.com @eleriward
Samantha Williams. A Texas native, SAMANTHA WILLIAMS made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning hit musical Dear Evan Hansen as “Alanna”. She then went on to capture hearts as the spirited “Emmie” in the Tony Award-winning and Grammy nominated Broadway revival of Caroline, or Change. Recently, she’s starred in the titular role of “Alice” in the world premiere of Life After at the Goodman theater, earning her rave reviews. Additional credits include Dear World (Nina) at New York City Center and Roundabout’s star-studded concert of Pirates of Penzance (Mabel). Updates can be found at @sawmie.
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