Shakespeare Is All In The Family
June 11, 2002 - Hadley, MA - It's an old cliché that the family that plays together, stays together, but the Lichtenberg family in Pelham takes
this one step further. They literally play together in the Hampshire Shakespeare Company's upcoming production of Measure for Measure,
which opens June 26 at the Hartsbrook School on Bay Road in Hadley. Director Andrew Lichtenberg oversees the acting work of his wife,
Debora, in the roles of Mistress Overdone and Francisca, the nun, while twin sons Drew and Nick play Lucio and Claudio respectively.
This is not the first time the two boys have been involved in their father's productions, but Debora has not performed
onstage since 1981. After earning her MFA in theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1980, and working in audience
development at Stage West and directing at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia, she went on to pre-med work at Bryn Mawr College and
then veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1992, Debora and Andy founded the Lichtenberg Veterinary Hospital on
Route 9 in Pelham.
Debora and Andy met at UMass as graduate students in theater. Andy had earned his BA in theater and music at Case
Western Reserve, and became familiar with UMass after working summers there with acting teacher Jon Farris. After receiving his MFA, he
taught at Bryn Mawr College for three years and then went on to work with the Walnut Street Theater in his native Philadelphia. As part
of the company's outreach efforts, Andy developed a series of workshops for teachers which later evolved into "Shakespeare Alive", a program
that brought a four-actor company into schools throughout the entire Philadelphia school district and tri-state area. He also performed
in a number of the company's mainstage productions.
Despite this extensive background, Andy had not directed for many years as he and Debora worked to establish the clinic and
raise their boys. But it was the boys that eventually lured him back into the theater. Both Drew and Nick were very active in
theater at Amherst High School and served as co-presidents of the Theater Club there. They worked backstage on school productions and
with the Valley Light Opera, and John Worthin got them involved as directors for students one-act productions. In their junior year,
they performed Edward Albee's two-person show Zoo Story together, and later went on to work with the Shoestring Players in
Macbeth and Julius Caesar.
In the meantime, they became interested in the Hampshire Shakespeare Company's Young Company. Both boys participated
in their father's production of The Tempest in 2000, with Drew writing and playing original music for the play. Last year they were
similarly involved in HSC's production of As You Like It, also under their father's direction. As college students now, they are full
members of the company with leading roles in Measure for Measure. Nick is now studying for a BFA in the drama department at Syracuse
University, and Drew is going for a BFA in acting at Dennison.
Even the official family cat gets into the act with the Lichtenbergs. Early rehearsals for Measure for Measure were
held in the loft of the barn above the clinic. Tiggy loves being part of the action as the actors have found out when she winds herself
around their legs as they rehearse their blocking. The Lichtenberg's historic home was built in the 1780s, and they have enjoyed finding
out about the five previous owners. The barn itself was added in 1951.
For more information about the Hampshire Shakespeare Company's production of Measure for Measure, check the company's web
site at www.hampshireshakespeare.org or call 413-788-4750.