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Shakespeare on the Sound


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Aaron Simms, Managing and Producing Director


Aaron Simms is a New Yorker from Cincinnati with over twenty Shakespeare production credits and over thirty years of experience in regional, Off-Broadway, and Broadway theater.  He has worked at Maximum Entertainment Productions, Snug Harbor Productions, Richards/Climan, Inc., Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Realm, DR Theatrical Management, and ICM Partners.  He is the founder and Executive Producer of Inwood Art Works where he produces the Inwood Film Festival, Film Works Alfresco, Community Concert series, and On Air podcasts, and is also the Managing Director of The York Theatre Company.  He was the founding co-chairman of Northern Manhattan Arts and Culture. He holds a B.A. in Theater from Butler University, and an M.F.A. in Theater Management & Producing from Columbia University. 

Nick Urda

Nicholas Urda, Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education


Nick Urda has been with Shakespeare on the Sound since 2012 as an actor, teaching artist and director. He has been leading our education department since 2019. He is beyond excited to be stepping into the role of Associate Artistic Director. With SOS, Nick has been seen on stage as Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and as Macduff in 2017’s production of Macbeth as well as all 5 productions of A Christmas Carol. He and his family now live in Trumbull, CT after spending many many years in NYC, where Nick worked as an actor, director and teaching artist. As a director, Nick has directed everything from new works to Shakespeare, Including our most recent production of A Christmas Carol. As a performer, Nick has been acting professionally on stage and on screen for the past 19 years. Nick’s credits include Federico García Lorca in Olives and Blood (CT Rep) and The Off-BWay premiere of The Preacher and The Shrink, as well as working with such companies as  Northern Stage, Two River Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Co, DC and The Royal Shakespeare Company. He holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College as well as completing the fellowship with The Shakespeare Theatre Co, DC. He can be seen on film in Strawberry Flavored Plastic, Audition and White Irish Drinkers as well as many television commercials.

Artistic Leadership History

Claire Kelly

Claire Shannon Kelly (Artistic Director 2016-2023)

From 2011-2015 Claire worked at Shakespeare on the Sound as Artistic Associate and Director of Education.

For Shakespeare on the Sound’s main stage she has directed Hamlet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, (which won the BroadwayWorld CT award for Best Ensemble Cast in a play),  Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream (2018 & 2021), Twelfth Night, King John, and As You Like It. 

Educationally, Claire has directed a 5-person A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She co-created and directed Shakespeare on the Sound’s K-5 touring production Let’s Play Shakespeare!, directed their anti- bullying program Speaking Daggers, and devised and directed a children’s version of All’s Well That Ends Well. Currently she is in development of two new plays: The Family and Wordsmith. She has worked at the Guthrie Theater, the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, the Ordway Music Theater, and the George Street Playhouse among others. Additionally, Claire is a Teaching Artist and has taught theater to students from pre- school through high school. She traveled to Africa in August 2017 & 2019 where she taught and directed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Livingstone, Zambia. Claire has holds a Masters of Arts degree from New York University in Educational Theater.

Steven Yuhasz

Steven Yuhasz (Executive Director, 2013 – 2015)

Steven produced Streakin’ and Pterodactyl Island Off Broadway and The Visit, The Normal Heart, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for The Actor’s Fund of America on Broadway.  He is a Founding Producer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival has been the Associate General Manager for Papermill Playhouse, Producing Director for Capital Rep and oversaw the transition of the New Apollo Theatre in NYC to the Academy as the Creative Producer.  He has directed Off Broadway Flamingo Court with Anita Gillette and Jamie Farr, and worked at numerous regional theatres around the country including Goodspeed, The Westport Playhouse, Casa Manana, Ogunquit Playhouse, The Dallas Theatre Center and The McCarter Theatre. He has appeared on Broadway in Peter Pan with Sandy Duncan, and Zorba with Anthony Quinn.

Joanna Settle

Joanna Settle (2009-2012)

Joanna Settle, Artistic Director from 2009-2012, directed A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. Under her leadership, the company received widespread national recognition for artistic excellence. Her collaborations with artists including composers Stew and Heidi Rodewald and designer Andrew Lieberman created Shakespeare on the Sound as a home for adventurous work. She also founded the Apprentice Company in 2009, mentoring 52 developing artists who were apprenticed directly to members of the company and herself through her tenure.

Ezra Barnes

Ezra Barnes (1996-2008)

Ezra Barnes, founding Artistic Director 1996-2008 both directed and performed in the company's work over the course of his successful 13 year tenure. Together with members of the community, Ezra created the tradition of Shakespeare on a summer night in Rowayton. Very quickly audiences grew in Pinkney Park to capacity, thrilling families and friends with the stories year after year. Under his leadership, and in collaboration with then managing director Mary Osborne, the company expanded to include performances in Greenwich in 2007.

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