PHILADELPHIA, PA. Quintessence Theatre Group launches its sixth season of progressive classic theatre with Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy ROMEO AND JULIET presented in rotating repertory with Wallace Shawn’s celebrated translation of Machiavelli’s sex comedy THE MANDRAKE. A nine actor repertory ensemble comprised of Quintessence’s best and director Alexander Burns will continue to establish Quintessence’s brand of full throttle epic classic theatre for today. ROMEO AND JULIET will begin previews on Wednesday, September 30 at 7pm and open on Saturday, October 3 at 8pm.  THE MANDRAKE will begin previews on Wednesday, October 14 at 7pm and open on Saturday, October 17 at 8pm. All performances are at the Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave in Mt Airy, Philadelphia, 19119. To purchase tickets visit or call 215.987.4450.


September 30 – November 7, 2015. Opening Night: October 3, 2015

Law and order is unable to quell an ancient and violent feud between the two wealthiest families of Verona. Fate steps in and introduces the rivals’ teenage progeny who fall in love at first sight. Can the intensity of young love undo their parents’ enduring hatred, or is love’s unbridled desire so intense that it will destroy the lovers themselves? Shakespeare’s greatest romantic tragedy is a timeless and powerful depiction of the fever pitch and madness of young love, celebrating both its ability to save and to destroy. 


October 14 – November 8, 2015. Opening Night: October 17, 2015

A young student falls madly in love with his city’s most beautiful woman who is married to an old miserly lawyer. Can our young hero fulfill his desire without destroying his soul or reputation? After an infamous career in politics, Machiavelli turned playwright, bringing his cunning to the comedic stage. In a celebrated translation by American actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, this early Italian sex comedy is replete with amoral intrigues, titillating disguises, and scintillating rendezvous, lampooning lawyers, doctors and clergy. But don’t worry about being offended. With the help of the mystical mandrake root the play brings all to a hysterical and happy ending. 


Quintessence Theatre Group is a professional classic theatre, dedicated to the performance and adaptation of epic works of classic literature and drama for the contemporary stage, which ignites the mind, body and soul through the power of the actor, design and spoken word.  Quintessence was just named 2015 Best Theater Company, Up-and-Coming, by Philadelphia Magazine.


Now in its sixth season, Quintessence continues to work towards the establishment of an acting ensemble and a rotating repertory at the historic Sedgwick Theater in Mt Airy, Philadelphia.

ROMEO AND JULIET plays September 30 – November 7. A special PAY WHAT YOU CAN preview will be presented on Wednesday, September 30 at 7:00pm. Post-show talkbacks with the cast and director will take place on Sunday, October 18 and Thursday, October 8.  THE MANDRAKE plays October 14 – November 8. A special PAY WHAT YOU CAN preview will be presented on Wednesday, October 14 at 7:00pm. Post-show talkbacks with the cast and director will take place on Thursday, November 5 and Sunday, October 25.

There will also be two special Saturday matinees at 2pm so that both productions can be experienced in one day. Please check the repertory performance schedule at for exact performance times and dates.

In Season VI, Quintessence will continue to offer five productions of epic classics for the contemporary stage.  The season will also include an original adaptation of Brothers Grimm’s HANSEL AND GRETEL, George Bernard Shaw’s SAINT JOAN, directed by Applied Mechanic’s artistic director, Rebecca Wright and Christopher Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS


ALAN BRINCKS (Mercutio/Callimaco): Quintessence: The Three Musketeers, The Metamorphosis, As You Like It, Richard II, Mourning Becomes Electra. New York: Henry V (Gallery Players), Macbeth (What Dreams May Co.), Hamlet (What Dreams May Co.), Street Scene (Brave New World Rep), Othello (Wandering Bark Theatre Co.) Regional: Green Eyes (Company One-Boston) A Midsummer Night?s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet (Nebraska Shakespeare), A Christmas Carol, U/S: Around the World in 80 Days (Virginia Stage Company). Film: The Poet (Tom White). Training: BFA-Nebraska Wesleyan University, Shakespeare's Globe London.

JOSH CARPENTER* (Friar Laurence/Tybalt): Quintessence: Mourning Becomes Electra, The Wind in the Willows, Hamlet, She Stoops to Conquer, Othello, The Seagull, The Venetian Twins, The Merchant of Venice, The Importance of Being Earnest, Henry V. Regional: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Theater at Monmouth, American Shakespeare Center, Miami Theater Center, GTA SouthernStage, The Growing Stage. New York: Cherry Lane Theatre, Target Margin Theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, Gotham Radio Theatre, American Theatre of Actors, Naked Angels Lab. Philadelphia: Macbeth, Great Expectations, Incorruptible (Arden Theatre Company). Film: Wildlife. Training: Northwestern University.                                                          

SEAN CLOSE (Paris): Quintessence: The Three Musketeers, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, As You Like it, Richard II, The Wind in the Willows, The Misanthrope, Arms and the Man, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, The Venetian Twins, The Importance of Being Earnest, Henry V. Philadelphia: Arden Theatre Company, Delaware Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery Theater, Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, Iron Age Theatre, South Camden Theatre Company, B. Someday Productions, Bootless Stageworks. Training: William and Mary University.

CONNOR HAMMOND (Romeo): Quintessence: The Three Musketeers, As You Like It, Richard II, Henry V. Education: Florida Atlantic University (MFA), Brenau University (BA). 

ANITA HOLLAND (Lady Capulet/Widow/Nymph): Quintessence:  The Three Musketeers, The Metamorphosis, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. New York: The Reckoning The Gym at Judson, LAMVF The Brick, The Comedy of Errors Sailors and Soldiers Monument, The School for Scandal and Servant of Two Masters at Jimmy's 43, Dealing with Ophelia on Governors Island. Philadelphia : Lulu’s Golden Shoes (Flashpoint Theater Company),We Are Bandits (Asian Arts Initiative). Film credits: The Maldonado Miracle and Smitty.  Training : The University of Utah (BFA).

GREGORY ISAAC (Capulet/Nicia): Quintessence: The Three Musketeers, Regional: The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Alliance Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Writers’ Theatre, TimeLine Theater, The Georgia Shakespeare Festival, The Scranton Shakespeare Festival, and the Marriott Lincolnshire. New York Credits include: Oliver! (Secret Theatre), The Short Life of Trouble (Wandering Bark), St. Joan of the Slaughterhouses (Horace Mann Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titan Theatre).  

E ASHLEY IZARD* (Nurse/Sostrata): Quintessence: Hamlet, She Stoops to Conquer, Arms and the Man, The Misanthrope. Regional: Macbeth, All My Sons (Arden Theatre Company); The Glass Menagerie (Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company); Crimes of the Heart (Gretna Theatre); Macbeth, King Lear (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre); Ghosts, A Doll’s House, All’s Well that Ends Well, King Lear (Lantern Theater Company). Barrymore Award recipient for Supporting Actor, Lantern Theater: Beyond Therapy. Training: MFA Temple University.

EMILEY KISER*(Juliet/Lucrezia): Quintessence: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Regional: Our Town (Palm Beach Dramaworks), Henry VIII and Much Ado About Nothing (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival).  Philadelphia: Pride and Prejudice (People’s Light and Theatre). Training: DeSales University (BA). 

JAHZEER TERRELL (Benvolio/Shepard): Philadelphia: Liberty To Go To See (New Freedom Theatre/Cliveden House), Macbeth (Arden Theatre Company), Henry V (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre), Henry IV (Shakespeare in Clark Park), Zooman and The Sign (New Freedom Theatre), In A Sense, Nonsense (Rhythmog). Training: University of the Arts (BFA). 

*Actors appear courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. 

ALEXANDER BURNS (Director/Artistic Director): Quintessence: The Three Musketeers, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, As You Like It, Richard II, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Wind In The Willows, Hamlet, She Stoops To Conquer, The Misanthrope, Arms and the Man, The Diary of a Madman, Othello, The Seagull, Antigone, The Merchant of Venice, The Venetian Twins, The Importance of Being Earnest, Don Juan, Apology, Henry V, Measure for Measure. Alexander was a Directing Fellow at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. As an assistant director Alexander has worked at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Steppenwolf Theater, The Goodman Theatre, The Flea Theatre, The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; assisting directors Frank Galati, Michael Kahn, Gale Edwards, Robert Moss, and Ethan McSweeny. Training: Northwestern University, LCT Directors Lab, the Jack O'Brien Directors Lab. 

Tickets are $34 - $27 general admission, $25 for seniors (65 and over) $15 for student and youth (21 and under). Group discounts and weekday student matinees are available. Season VI Subscription packages are still available. To purchase tickets or subscriptions, visit or call 1.215.987.4450. For ticket information please email