“I’m so excited to direct Intimate Apparel again with a new group of performers,” said director Tasia A. Jones as rehearsals started for the 2021 season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. “Some of them are reprising roles they have played in previous productions of the play and some are new to this story, but all of these actors are invested in bringing the journey of these characters to life.”
Intimate Apparel is a heart-rending, gentle play which weaves an intricate tapestry of our human need for intimacy, and at the same time explores our social divisions. It takes a group of talented artists to bring this show to the stage, and the six actors in the production are excited and up to the task. They are:
Jasmine Bracey will be making her Festival debut, playing Mrs. Dickson, the widowed owner of a boarding house which acts as the geographical center of the story. She has worked in many other regional theatres, including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, American Blues Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Resident Ensemble Players, and The Acting Company. She has also appeared in the television series New Amsterdam and Chicago P.D. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Afua Busia is also at the Festival for her first time, playing Esther, an African-American seamstress in 1905 lower Manhattan who makes her living sewing intimate apparel for ladies at all levels of society. Before her appearance at the Festival, she has worked as Ama in School Girls at Berkeley Rep, Mary in A Christmas Carol at A.C.T., Grace in An Octoroon at Berkley Rep, and others. She earned her M.F.A. from American Conservatory Theater and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Yao Dogbe, in his first appearance at the Festival, is playing George, who becomes Esther’s love interest. Regionally, he has appeared in Intimate Apparel at Northlight Theatre, Fences at American Players Theatre, Homebound and Ohio State Murders at Round House Theatre, Macbeth at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and many others. In 2017 he was listed as one of Houston’s best actors for his performance as Booth in Topdog/Underdog. He is an Equity Membership Candidate.
Josh Innerst, who is playing Mr. Marks, a Jewish fabric seller and friend to Esther, has appeared at the Festival in over a dozen roles, most recently as Earl of Suffolk and Earl of Salisbury in Henry VI Part One, Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice, and Robert in The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2018. He has also worked in theatres across the country including Cleveland Playhouse, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and American Shakespeare Festival. He has also done extensive audiobook and commercial voiceover work. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Tiffany Scott last worked at the Festival in 2005 when she played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This year in Intimate Apparel she is playing Mrs. Van Buren, a wealthy white woman who orders fancy corsets from Esther. Other theatres she has worked at include National Theatre D.C., Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Repertory, McCarter Theatre Center, Seattle Repertory, Goodman Theatre, American Players Theatre, and Illinois Shakespeare Theatre. She also has appeared on television in Chicago Med. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Constance V Swain is making her Festival debut this summer as Mayme, a prostitute who has become friends with Esther through her orders of lingerie. Regionally she has performed in such plays as Caesar and Cleopatra, Antigone, The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Grimm Lives, and the world premiere musical Willard Suitcases. She also played the role of Zoe in the movie To Love and to Cherish. She was honored with the 2019 Broadway Regional Award for Best Actor in a Play.
The Festival’s 2021 season is June 21 to October 9. Plays will be Pericles, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, The Pirates of Penzance, Ragtime, Cymbeline, Intimate Apparel, and The Comedy of Terrors. Tickets are available by calling 800-PLAYTIX or visiting www.bard.org.