Twelfth Night, Elm Shakespeare Company

Edgerton Park, New Haven, Conn.
August 26 – September 6, 1998

As Orsino, with Nadia Lovejoy Bowers as Viola (PHOTO: Chris Volpe)

Critical Response

Johnny Lee Davenport brings to life the comically awkward relationship of Viola and Duke Orsino.”
—Lauren Leikin, Yale Herald (September 4, 1998)


“Velvet-voiced Davenport, a stalwart of the classical theater, has risen from small parts when he was the only black artist in a company of 120 white actors in Stratford, Ontario, to major roles, playing Othello six times and Iago once. Now he plays Orsino, duke of Illyria.

‘Orsino is the original blues man,’ he said. Shakespeare means what Orsino says when he opens the play with one of the most famous lines ever about music. ‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ He believes his own words. He wants an excess of music so that his feelings of pain at his unrequited love for Olivia can surge out. Then Orsino gets hooked on his relationship with this youth—in reality, Viola disguised as a page—at a level he doesn’t understand.”
—Dennis Cashman, New Haven Register (August 30, 1998)

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