Next Chapter Podcasts, in Partnership with Play On Shakespeare, Presents a New Scripted Fiction Podcast Series: Play On Podcasts

Photo courtesy of Heart Spade PR

The project begins with Migdalia Cruz’s “Macbeth”; first four episodes out now!

Cast includes Armando Riesco, Zabryna Guevara, Chinaza Uche, Flor De Liz Perez, Bernand White, Jordan Barbour, Daniel Jose Molina, Barzin Akhavan, Annie Henk, Peppermint, Manila Luzon, and Monét X-Change.


Building upon Play On Shakespeare’s mission to enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s plays in performance, the Play On Podcasts will bring these timeless tales directly to modern audiences. The Play On Podcasts bring together a team of Award-winning sound designers, composers, playwrights, directors, and performers — with original music composition and the voices of extraordinarily, gifted artists — to create aural storytelling experiences. It’s a Shakespearean audio adventure.

In its ongoing effort to elevate bold, authentic voices and to enlighten and inspire audiences seeking truth and human connection, Play On Podcasts serve as Next Chapter Podcasts’ launching pad into its scripted fictional podcast division, celebrating the myriad stories derived for the stage. Next Chapter Podcasts will be a content hub for theater-based fiction adapted for the podcast medium. Writers, actors, directors and sound designers for the stage will join NCP in adapting content that originated on stage for podcast distribution. In an effort to develop a distinctive and groundbreaking slate of content in the fictional genre, Next Chapter plans to forge partnerships with established regional theaters and ensembles throughout the country and around the world.

Under the leadership of Michael Goodfriend (head of NCP’s fictional podcast division and Executive Producer of the Play On Podcasts series), NCP began production in early 2021 for the Play On Podcasts series, beginning with “Macbeth”, translated by Migdalia Cruz and directed by Eddie Torres. The series stars Armando Riesco and Zabryna Guevara as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and boasts a cast that includes Chinaza Uche as Macduff, Flor de Liz Perez as Lady Macduff, Bernard White as Duncan, Jordan Barbour as Banquo, Daniel Jose Molina as Malcolm, Barzin Akhavan as Ross and Annie Henk as Lennox. In addition, the series features three drag superstars in the roles of the witches: Peppermint, Manila Luzon and Monet X-Change combine to create a trio of unearthly incantations in this classic tale. The production team is led by Michael Goodfriend and Miriam Laube, with additional support from Taylor Bailey, Robert Cappadona and Catherine Eaton. Sound Design is accomplished by David Molina and engineered by Daniel Ben-Shimon. Karyn Casl (Telsey Casting) and Ada Karamanyan are casting all Play On Podcasts series for NCP.

The Play On “Macbeth” podcast series will be followed by seven more Play On series. Next up is Pericles, translated by Ellen McLaughlin, directed by Lisa Rothe, and starring Keith David, Kathleen Chalfant and Johanna Day. After that, the production team will tackle “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, translated by Jeff Whitty and directed by Catherine Eaton (cast TBA).          

“The Play On translations will be heightened by the podcast medium and will heighten the medium in return,” Goodfriend says. “Thanks to the accessibility and immediacy of the translations, you won’t have to dig into your dictionary to understand what’s going on. And thanks to outstanding audio engineering, design, direction and the phenomenal voices of our actors, you will be dropped into the world Shakespeare created. You will be able to visualize these tales in whatever environment you’re listening. This unprecedented endeavor gives NCP an opportunity to raise the bar for fictional podcasts across the industry. I can’t think of a better place for theater artists to ride out the closure of theater venues due to the pandemic than through virtual collaboration in their own personal studios, where Next Chapter Podcasts will record them bringing voices to life as only theater artists know how.”

Lue Douthit, Play On Shakespeare’s CEO and Creative Director: “The translation is not to be a paraphrase, nor is it a literal explanation of what’s going on. The translations are not meant to be replacements of the originals. Our goal is to learn how the plays work and to create performable companion pieces. They are new plays in that way.”

With lead investment from the Hitz Foundation, which funds the Play On project and has commissioned eight podcast series, NCP will adapt and produce the modernized Shakespearean scripts for multi-part audio presentations featuring the talents of extraordinary stage performers, directors and designers.


The Play On Podcasts series, Macbeth, was translated into modern English verse by Migdalia Cruz and directed by Edward Torres. 

Episode scripts were adapted and produced by Catherine Eaton. 

Sound Design, Mix Engineering and Original Music Composition by David Molina. 

Sound Engineer: Daniel Ben-Shimon
Executive Producer: Michael Goodfriend
Senior Producer: Miriam Laube
Managing Producer: Robert Cappadona
Coordinating Producer: Taylor Bailey

Casting by The Telsey Office: Karyn Casl, CSA, and Ada Karamanyan.

Armando Riesco as Macbeth
Zabryna Guevara as Lady Macbeth
Chinaza Uche as Macduff
Jordan Barbour as Banquo
Bernard White as Duncan
Daniel Jose Molina as Malcom
Flor de Liz Perez as Lady Macduff
Barzin Akhavan as Ross and The Porter
Annie Henk as Lennox
Elijah Goodfriend as Macduff’s Son

Featuring Peppermint, Monét X-Change and Manila Luzon as The Witches


Next Chapter Podcasts is a podcast company dedicated to telling stories with a positive impact on our world by elevating bold,authentic voices. It boasts a team with decades of experience in media spanning television, radio, music and theater. NCP believes storytelling is embedded in our DNA, and the modern day audio phenomenon is a return to our primal, instinctual desire for human connection. By nurturing relationships with artists, leaders, writers and activists, NCP seeks to expand its imprint beyond podcasting by creating adaptations of content to inspire generations through compelling storytelling in a variety of formats. Shows produced by Next Chapter include “Politics War Room” with James Carville, “The 500” with Josh Adam Myers, “Tough Juice” with Caron Butler, and “The Ten News”, with Bethany Van Delft.


The “Play On!” Project originated in 2015 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as a commissioning program called “Play on! 36 Playwrights Translating Shakespeare”. Overseen by then Director of Dramaturgy and Literary Development, Lue Douthit, the project’s aim was to commission exciting contemporary playwrights to examine the plays of Shakespeare line by line to translate words and phrases in the text where meaning has been lost as the English language has evolved. Far from a paraphrasing exercise, the playwrights were tasked with matching Shakespeare’s linguistic rigor as they approached the text – preserving rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, meter, imagery, symbolism, rhetoric and the unique structure that make his plays so timeless. The announcement set off a passionate debate over the language of Shakespeare and the notion of altering his words that spilled over into social media and onto the pages of major newspapers, magazines and journals throughout the world. Today, having successfully completed all 39 of the originally commissioned translations, Play On Shakespeare has become its own not-for-profit entity and continues to commission new artists to grapple with the language of Shakespeare.

ABOUT THE HITZ FOUNDATION:The Hitz Foundation has projects in science, the arts, and the environment throughout the world. In addition to Play On Shakespeare and Play On Podcasts, the foundation also supports several archaeological projects in northern Guatemala and funded the largest LiDAR mapping ever undertaken for archaeological research to support these projects (discovering 60,000 new Mayan structures). The foundation funds Global Digital Heritage which captures state-of-the-art 3D models of museum collections and heritage sites and shares them with the world at no cost. The foundation also supports several environmental projects including the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which protects the ecosystems and biodiversity of East Africa through conservation efforts that directly benefit wildlife, wilderness and the local Maasai communities.

Next Chapter Podcasts: Official site / Instagram / Twitter

Play On Shakespeare: Official site / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

For more information, please contact Matt Gross at Heart Spade PR,

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