Where there’s a ‘Wil’
All the virtual world’s a stage! Wil, a new feature project written and produced by SCAD Atlanta professor of dramatic writing Dan Rosen, will be presented via virtual reading this Friday-Tuesday, March 19–23 to benefit the Actor’s Fund and the Actor’s Fund Canada.
An acclaimed cast of esteemed industry luminaries have volunteered their time for the performance. The ensemble includes Eric McCormack (Will & Grace, Perception, recipient of SCAD aTVFest 2020 Impact Award), Oliver Dench (Ride, Pandora), Will Swenson (Broadway’s Hair, Les Misérables, Central Park), Jonathan Scarf (Van Helsing, The Equalizer 2), Colm Feore (Thor, The Chronicles of Riddick, Chicago), Luke Humphrey, Lucy Peacock, Zuleikha Robinson, and more.
Set in 1590, Wil introduces us to 26-year-old Wil Shakespeare, a promising but floundering playwright with a wife, three children, a ballooning mortgage, and a new play that just closed on opening night at the Stratford-Upon-Avon Supper Theater. Things look bleak until Wil’s trusted agent, Bernie Shylock, lands Wil his first professional gig — running the summer stock theatre program at Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Upon arriving in Denmark, ready to work out his new play Romeo & Juliet, Wil finds the royal Hamlet clan under siege by thieves and murderers looking to overthrow the kingdom. He realizes that putting on a respectable performance of the world’s greatest doomed romance might be the least of his worries.
“I originally wrote Wil back in 1994 just as I moved to Hollywood,” says Rosen. “Since then, I’ve written and directed a few films (The Last Supper, Dead Man’s Curve, Freeloaders), but Wil holds a special place in my heart, and has always been my favorite script. The story is not just about a young William Shakespeare trying to break into showbusiness, but it also tells my story and all the hoops and obstacles every writer or creative person has to jump through and get around to make it in Hollywood!”
The screenplay reading will be produced by Rosen along with Academy Award winner Richard Middleton (The Artist, Hitchcock, I Love You Phillip Morris) and Kelly McCall (Big Little Lies, The Morning Show, Little Fires Everywhere). Writer and director Sara Botsford (Those Damn Canadians) will direct and co-produce, and Christopher “CB” Brown (The Strain, The Morning Show, Little Fires Everywhere) will stage manage and co-produce.
Tickets can be purchased at MuchAdoAboutWil.com for the pre-recorded Zoom performance to be shown March 19–23. All proceeds and donations from the virtual reading will be donated to The Actor’s Fund and The Actor’s Fund Canada to support working and performing actors whose livelihoods have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, The Actor’s Fund has distributed over $18 million in emergency financial assistance to almost 15,000 professionals in performing arts and entertainment.
Written by Scottie Walden Albertson