THE BOOK OF WILL at Live ArtsApril 12-28, 2019

In her new play, playwright Lauren Gunderson—who happens to be the most produced American playwright in 2017-2018—recounts the trials and tribulations of the publication of the 1623 first Folio of Shakespeare’s plays. THE BOOK OF WILL introduces us to John Heminges and Henry Condell, Shakespeare’s closest friends, without whom we might have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays! After the death of their friend and mentor, Shakespeare’s cronies determine to compile a definitive copy of his original plays. In order to do so, however, they’ll have to contend with an unscrupulous publisher, a drunken poet laureate, and even their own mortality. Set in the bustle of Elizabethan London, Lauren Gunderson’s THE BOOK OF WILL is a lively, funny, poignant love letter to theater.

THE BOOK OF WILL… unequivocally announces Gunderson as a playwright with whom to be reckoned. It is, quite frankly, one of the best plays I have ever seen. It will bring tears of both laughter and sorrow to all but the most jaded audience member’s eyes. It is, in a word, a triumph.
Boulder Weekly

  • Sponsored by Bankers Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance
  • By Lauren Gunderson
  • Directed by Boomie Pedersen
  • Produced by Fran Smith

Dementia-Friendly Matinee

In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association of CharlottesvilleSunday, April 28th will be a modified dementia-friendly matinee performance. Dementia-friendly performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all guests living with dementia, as well as their care partners and companions.

Accommodations for this performance of Book of Will include:

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds;
    • Lights remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance, and a door to the lobby will remain slightly ajar;
  • Increased signage for restrooms and concessions and other important information throughout the building.
  • Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance, and a designated quiet area will be available in the lobby.
  • Live Arts staff, cast, and crew will be trained to be inviting and accommodating to guests’ needs.

Also, if you would like to visit Live Arts ahead of time to see the set, your seats, the locations of restrooms, and meet with a few members of the Live Arts staff, we will offer a familiarization event on Saturday, April 20th at 2 pm. Hard copies of the script will also be available at that time, or upon request.

Live Arts strives to make its performances and facilities accessible to all of our patrons. For additional information or if you have questions, need assistance, or an accommodation not mentioned above, please contact Live Arts, 434-977-4177.

More about our local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association:

Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia
355 Rio Road West, Suite 102
Charlottesville, VA 22901
phone: 434.973.6122




  • Fran Smith, Producer
  • Boomie Pedersen, Director
  • Martha Stafford, Stage Manager
  • Jay Taylor, Scenic and Lighting Designer
  • Tanya K Manwill, Sound Designer
  • Dorothy Smith, Costume Designer
  • Amanda Wagstaff, Assistant Costume Designer
  • John Owen, Scenic Charge
  • Amy Goffman, Tailor
  • Tammy Eberly, Tailor
  • Tricia Emlet, Tailor
  • Jen Kashatas, Tailor
  • Linda Zuby, Tailor
  • Lisa Healy, Tailor
  • Barbarie Hill, Tailor
  • Eliza Abbey, Properties Designers
  • Dawn Schimke, Dramaturg
  • Tim White, Creative Consultant
  • Carol Pedersen, Creative Consultant
  • Steven Spera, Master Electrician
  • Kathleen Mueller, Lightboard Operator
  • Kyle Ezer, Lightboard Operator
  • Lori Pinkey, Soundboard Operator


  • John Holdren… John Heminges
  • Jeannie Jones… Rebecca Heminges
  • Kiri Gardner… Alice Heminges
  • Chris Baumer… Henry Condell
  • Jen Downey… Elizabeth Condell
  • Brian Dowd… Richard Burbage
  • Mackie Boblette… Ben Jonson
  • Bit Pressley… Ed Crane
  • Roger Tolle… William Jaggard
  • Andy Davis… Isaac Jaggard
  • Joe Monaghan… Ed Knight, Marcus, Barman
  • Kate Monaghan… Emilia Bassano/Anne Hathaway
  • Jim McGinnis… Barman, Bernardo, Compositor
  • Amy Truesdell… Crier, Marcellus, Susannah Shakespeare
  • Denise Folley… Young Hamlet, Marcus, Horatio/Francisco