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‘Julius Caesar’ opens Freed Center season on Sept. 29

ADA--The Freed Center for the Performing Arts will open its slate of theatre, dance and music events for the 2022-2023 season with Shakespeare's epic political tragedy of Julius Caesar staged in the Stambaugh Studio Theatre. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, and 2 p.m. matinees on Oct. 1 and 2.

Making his directing debut at ONU, Assistant Professor of Theatre James Savage, Jr., explains his approach to the play beginning with the “belief that art makes us think and, at its best, creates dialogue.” This is evident with Julius Caesar, a timeless play that audiences still find fascinating.

Savage describes the play’s similarities to our current society, which led to his directorial vision, saying, “Looking at our own contemporary political climate we can see the striking relevancy. To this end, I wanted this production to have a modern feel, but felt the need to shy away from a contemporary representation as a way for the audience to find their own parallels between the play and current events. I also wanted to find a way to include the audience, to ‘feel’ the world of the play by creating an atmosphere riddled with anxiety and angst. This led me to explore the theme of punk rock.”

Savage is a trained Meisner actor and a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov Technique with the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium. He has performed Off Broadway, regionally and internationally. His New York City acting highlights include Henry V, Richard II, Hamlet (American Globe Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (The Wild Project), Tape (Duel Theatre Company), Doubt, Everyman, Murder in the Cathedral (Black Orchid Theatre) and Your War’try Grave (La MaMa). His regional acting credits include Julius Caesar (Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), The Sweepers (Ensemble Theatre at The Cleveland Playhouse), Six Degrees of Separation (Charenton Theatre), Boy Gets Girl (Beck Center for the Arts). He also performed and co-created 8x10, a solo show about solitary confinement in the U.S. prison system, and played Odysseus in The Odyssey at the Hydrama Theatre on the island of Hydra in Greece.

As a director and fight director, Savage has worked for both educational and professional institutions around NYC. In addition to acting and directing, James has also taught at various schools in and around NYC including The New School for Drama, the New York Film Academy and NYU Steinhardt.

Guest artists
The guest artists who helped bring this contemporary staging to life include fight and intimacy director Alexis Black, who is Assistant Professor of Movement and Stage Combat at Michigan State University; scenic designer Kenneth M. Ellis, owner of DogAndPonyShow Enterprises LLC; lighting designer Dustin Druckman from ITA Audio Video Solutions; and graffiti artist Nathaniel Runkle “Runk” as the scenic artist.

Subscription packages and single tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 419-772-1900 or in person at the Freed Center Box Office, Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.