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This weekend's Southern Shakespeare Festival will feature a "Cleopatra" with deep Tallahassee roots

Kelsey Scott in the role of "Cleopatra."
Southern Shakespeare Festival
Kelsey Scott in the role of "Cleopatra."

Tallahassee's upcoming Southern Shakespeare Festival features the Bard's "Antony and Cleopatra." We had a chance to chat with "Cleopatra." as portrayed by Florida A&M alum Kelsey Scott. Scott has a long and distinguished acting career in film and TV. She's also an accomplished director and writer. And, not long ago, she learned there was a title role in the upcoming Southern Shakespeare production of "Antony and Cleopatra."

"It was by invitation! Chip Chalmers reached out to me. He heads up the board at Southern Shakes. We know each other from my time as a faculty member at Florida State. And I was in L.A. doing my thing and he said they were gearing up for their next production and they were going through names for might be their guest artist."

Over the years, Scott has had many notable roles in productions such as "Twelve Years a Slave,""How to Get Away With Murder,""Fear the Walking Dead" and "Better Call Saul." She insists the role of "Cleopatra" is something totally different.

"It is absolutely something completely outside my comfort zone. Which is one of the reasons I wanted to do it."

And in a place where, as not only a former faculty member at Florida State, but also a proud graduate of Florida A&M, she felt completely at home.

"I mean, I've been in Tallahassee for so many different stages of my life. For undergrad, then graduate school, then as a faculty member. And then I've been invited back by both universities at different times to speak and do career retrospectives. And so this is a warm climate for me. If I'm going to choose any place to do this big leap into Shakespeare, then this is the place to do it."

Scott and her cast mates will be joined by some local notables in the production. Folks like School Board Member Darryl Jones, Leon Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna, FSU First Lady Jai Vartikar and artist/gallery owner Quia Atkinson will make guest appearances on stage.

"Everybody is excited about what they're doing! And that doesn't always happen, so I appreciate that energy. I feed off of it and audiences are going to recognize that when they see this performance that everybody here is in love with this process and really excited to do this show."

Nationally famous actress and Tallahassee homegirl Kelsey Scott, portraying Cleopatra during the Southern Shakespeare Festival May 11th through 14th in Cascades Park's Adderley Amphitheatre.


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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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